The best children’s picture books that address bullying

Who am I?

I wrote my first picture book, My Secret Bully, to help kids who have experienced bullying and friendship issues. Over the years, I’ve written numerous award-winning children’s books, including The Invisible Boy, a School Library Journal Best Picture Books Selection and a recommended back-to-school book by USA Today and Scholastic Instructor. I’ve also had the honor of collaborating with leading experts and organizations including Sesame Workshop, International Bullying Prevention Association, Committee for Children, and ConnectSafely.org. My books and presentations focus on promoting social-emotional learning, empathy, kindness, and inclusion in the classroom and beyond.


I wrote...

The Invisible Boy

By Trudy Ludwig, Patrice Barton (illustrator),

Book cover of The Invisible Boy

What is my book about?

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party…until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

The Invisible Boy shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses intentional and unintentional exclusion will find this gentle story a valuable and important resource.

The books I picked & why

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I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness

By Kerascoët,

Book cover of I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness

Why this book?

What I love about this wordless story is how the illustrator team Kerascoët powerfully shows how bystanders of bullying incidents can become upstanders. It all starts with one little girl who, after seeing Vanessa get bullied by a boy, feels bad and wants to help her. That one upstander’s actions end up inspiring an entire community to support Vanessa. 


One

By Kathryn Otoshi,

Book cover of One

Why this book?

One, by author-illustrator Kathryn Otoshi, is one of my favorite bullying prevention picture books. Why? The story brilliantly shows young readers through color characters and numbers how each of us “counts” when it comes to being an upstander in bullying situations. This is a popular book used by teachers in elementary classrooms.


Hey Little Ant

By Phillip Hoose, Hannah Hoose, Debbie Tilley (illustrator)

Book cover of Hey Little Ant

Why this book?

When a boy tells a little ant that he intends to squish him, the ant offers great reasons why he shouldn’t be squished. The story ends with a cliffhanger: Will the boy squish the ant? Will he let the ant go free? The authors brilliantly leave the ending up to the reader. Hey, Little Ant is a wonderful story that promotes perspective-taking, empathy, and acceptance in young readers.


Be Kind

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Jen Hill (illustrator),

Book cover of Be Kind

Why this book?

There’s a reason why this little jewel became a NYT bestseller: Be Kind is such a thoughtful story that models for young readers what it means to be kind. It shows various scenarios, including standing up for someone who is being bullied. The reader’s takeaway is that our words and acts of kindness have the potential to spread far and wide in positive ways.


Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Book cover of Each Kindness

Why this book?

Each Kindness, for me, is a modern take of the Eleanor Estes classic children’s story, The Hundred Dresses. In Each Kindness, a new girl comes to school, and no one--especially the protagonist Chloe--makes any effort to befriend her. Instead, Chloe and her friends actively snub her. Chloe learns an important lesson about “…each kindness--done and not done.” This story can generate thoughtful conversations in the classroom and at home.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in kindness, bullying, and school?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about kindness, bullying, and school.

Kindness Explore 18 books about kindness
Bullying Explore 48 books about bullying
School Explore 168 books about school

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Youngest Marcher, If You're Going to a March, and The Rabbit Listened if you like this list.