What we can do to prevent bullying

When we talk about what to do about bullying, the word "prevention" comes up a lot.  During October, World Bullying Prevention month, we are sharing helpful books and resources.  What can we do to prevent bullying in our own family and school communities? According to StopBullying.gov, there are a few simple things we can do, including:

Multnomah County Library staff would like to add:

  • Reading books and resources that show kids ways to deal with bullies and bullying behavior.         

To help with this last point, we’ve pulled together a few reading lists (below).  We also asked library staff to tell us about their favorite books that address bullies and bullying. Here's what they have to recommend:    

“I really love Bob Staake's Bluebird,” says Carolyn from Woodstock Library. “It is really sad but beautiful and poignant.” Alisa from Albina Library agrees. “It's so beautiful. I have cried on more than one occasion looking at that book.”

Alisa also recommends The Boy in the Orange Cape by Adam Ciccio. “It’s a heartwarming story about how the power of empathy and kindness begins with one person, then quickly spreads out to help support those in need.”  

“I really love The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld,” says Ekatrina at Holgate Library. “It has a powerful message about holding space for a child — or anyone who has faced a devastating loss — to process it in their own way, in their own time. And I love how in the end there is a magnificent sense of excitement and hope.”

“My favorite is Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems,” says Sarah from Central Library. “It helps you realize to not take a bully's behavior personally and how you can disarm them with vulnerability. It's also super funny, fun to read, and has some great alternatives for swears.”

SyNova from Kenton Library recommends I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët.  “It's a wordless picture that kids and adults can have heartfelt dialogue about the different emotions throughout the book about kindness and stand up for others that are being bullied in front of them while at school and how that would be like to me when going back to school this year.” Kate from Youth Services also loves this one. “It shows that even small acts of kindness can make a difference to the person being bullied and can give others the courage to do something too.”  

Jen from Cataloging recommends Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester. “Sometimes what we believe to be weaknesses turn out to be strengths. Just showing up and being willing to try is the bravery that defeats the bully. Hooway for Wodney Wat!” 

Danielle from Capitol Hill Library recommends Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. “It’s a reminder that bullying can come in many forms. Exclusion can be just as hurtful as other forms of bullying.” 

“I still like Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen because it has the typical smart kid being mercilessly bullied at school,” says Ebonee from Books2U, “but it also explores intellectual ‘bullying.’”

“One of my favorite books last year for middle grades is The Boys in the Back which has a fantastic, non-didactic anti-bullying and anti-toxic-masculinity message,” says Natasha from Hollywood Library. “It's such a great example of male friendship!”  

Rebecca from Kenton Library recommends a title for teens. “I really liked the book Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein. “It showed me how much more challenging things can be for kids and teens who have additional barriers they're dealing with — physical as well as emotional and psychological.”

Holly from Midland Library recommends a book for parents of middle schoolers. "Queen Bees & Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman takes the issue on in multiple ways and helps dissect what is happening, and how to counteract the more aggressive behaviors seen in pre-teen and early teen girls." 

And finally, Jen from Youth Services recommends Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. “This is a story about a group of wonderfully unique kids who are brought together by the neighborhood bully’s mean prank. There is humor and courage and a really sweet guinea pig named Gulliver.”  

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.