My mother-in-law, a retired school guidance counselor, recently passed on a couple of great books about dealing with bullies. Written by Trudy Ludwig, My Secret Bully, Just Kidding, and Sorry are all beautifully illustrated books that deal with the difficult topics of peer pressure and fitting in.
While these are picture books, my mother-in-law has had great success in using them in children as old as middle school age. I think they would be much better suited for children in intermediate school, grades 2-6 or so.
Each book traces the story of a child who is having problems dealing with their friends and/or peers. In My Secret Bully, Ludwig turns the “Mean Girls” plot into an easily relatable story about a young girl’s decision to end a toxic friendship. Sorry teaches children the necessity of truly authentic apologies, and Just Kidding helps children deal with the peer pressure of trying to fit in.
Told from the child’s point-of-view, these books succeed in being touching without being touchy. The message in each is clear enough for a younger child to grasp, but isn’t so overtly obvious that an older child would be immediately turned off by it.
Each book comes with end-matter that provides parents with ideas for discussing the books with their children and lists of additional resources for parents, including recommended reading and information about other places to go for help.
Although my own child is a bit young still to worry about peer pressure and bullying, these books would be a great resource for parents with school-aged children who are looking for a way to address these topics before an incident happens to their own child.
by Lisa D.
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