My seven-year-old daughter experienced her first encounter with little girl cliques a few weeks ago at school. Two second grader girls decided another girl could no longer be in their “group” and not-so-politely told her they were not her friends anymore and she couldn’t play with them. My daughter was furious—how dare they treat her friend that way? She comforted her cast-out buddy, decided that she could not play with girls who would be so mean for no reason and told them just that. She came home, read a whole stack of books that reflect on bullying and concluded she made the right choice. I was so proud of her bravery, confidence, and kind-heartedness. Here are a few of the books that she chose to manage her feelings and some other selections that I have found quite helpful for our household. I hope you find them useful, as well! ~Nikki
Little Sweet Potato, by Amy Bloom
This charming book from Amy Bloom talks about bullying, bravery, perseverance, and finding your tribe, all from the perspective of Little Sweet Potato. My children have used the story to help them understand social situations many times. The takeaway: Vegetables may not always be kind, but eventually you will find the garden in which you grow best.
Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae
Gerald the Giraffe dances to the beat of his own drum. The other jungle animals bully and tease him when he can’t dance like them, leaving Gerald in despair. A helpful cricket friend helps Gerald learn that “sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.” I teared up the first time I read this with my kids and you may too. The story is perfect for opening a discussion about bullying, loneliness, and accepting yourself for who you are.
The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand is not like the other bulls. He enjoys sitting quietly under a cork tree smelling the flowers and does not care to participate in the typical bull activities. Through the story, we learn that being quiet and keeping to yourself may not be understood by everyone, but it is just fine. This book invokes a sense of calm for me each time I read it and seems to have the same effect on my young introverts.
Stephanie’s Ponytail, by Robert Munsch
Stephanie is a spirited girl who enjoys being unique. When she unwittingly becomes a trendsetter, she has a little fun seeing just how far her classmates will go to copy her. Stephanie is a fabulous example of being confident in who you are and not afraid to show it.
Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama, by Anna Dewdney
This story for the little ones follows Llama Llama on a trip to the grocery store where a meltdown ensues. I enjoy this book every time my youngest and I read it; we’ve been in a similar situation many times and she understands just what Little Llama is going through. Llama Mama reacts with grace and kindness and helps Little Llama calm down and finish their shopping trip. Toss this one in your purse before your next Costco trip. You may need it.
Ellen Tebbits, by Beverly Cleary
Ellen is a third-grader who desperately wants a best friend. This tale explores how Ellen deals with teasing, tricky social situations, and the ups and downs of friendship. Originally published in 1951, Beverly Cleary’s second book remains a treasure in our home.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
This heart-wrenching book chronicles the fifth grade year of Auggie Pullman, a boy with a facial deformity who begins public school for the first time. Told from various perspectives, the story delves into friendship, enemies, acceptance, and, most of all, empathy.
And for the grown-ups
Gifted, Bullied, Resilient, by Pamela Price
Price’s new book offers families a concise guide on understanding and dealing with bullies. Through personal experience and stories from over one hundred families, she details the impact of bullying through the lifespan and what you can do about it. Read more about her helpful book here.
Do you know of a must-have book that isn’t mentioned? Email me here to have it added to the GHF Store and help others on their learning adventures! ~ Nikki
When she is not stuck in a book, Nicole Linn homeschools two of her three children, and blogs about gifted children and adults at Through a Stronger Lens. She is also Online Merchandise Manager for GHF.