Willow Finds a Way
by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells
Kids Can Press, 2013
Kristabelle decided she was the boss and everyone did what she wanted. When her birthday neared she made of list of everyone’s name and said “You can come if you are on my birthday list!” But then she used the list to coerce the others to do what she wanted. Sometimes Willow didn’t want to do Kristabelle wanted, but did so she could go to the party. In time Kristabelle removed two names when two kids did not comply. This made everyone mad, and quiet Willow wanted to say, “Kristabelle, you’re mean.” But the words just didn’t come out. But she did think of something she could do. In front of everyone, she took the list and crossed out her name!
A powerful story of standing up for oneself, even when dealing with a bully.
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by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Neal Porter, Roaring Brook Press, 2013
Bully’s can make mistakes, and the red bull in Bully did. Because someone bullied him, he was mad and took it out and bullied someone else. And someone else. And someone else and in each scene the bull grew bigger and bigger, scarier and scarier. Until finally someone saw through the veneer (pain) and called the red bull a bully. Having someone call him a bully turned the red bull upside down and inside out and took out all his (anger). He didn’t like what he felt, bullying others around. But by then he had returned to his regular size. Re-thinking what he wanted, he kindly asked the ones he had just bullied, “Do you want to play?” All forgiven and forgotten, they wandered off together, friends.
This is a bully book toddlers can understand. Simple.
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by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Young Readers Group Books, 2012
Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson writes a poignant story depicting the impact bullying has on the bully. In Each Kindness, told from the bully’s point of view, Chloe shuns Maya, a new girl who obviously was poor and different from her. For several months, Chloe gossips about Maya with her two best friends, but never lets Maya into her life. Bravely, Maya offers to share her new ball and jacks and other toys she brings from home, and each time Chloe turns away.
Then one day their teacher talks about kindness and how each “kindness makes the whole world a little bit better.” With a bowl of water and a stone, the teacher demonstrates how each kindness ripples out into the world. Maya is absent that day. While everyone shares a kindness they have given to someone else, Chloe can’t think of a kindness to share. She begins to understand that she could have been nice to Maya. Chloe vows to show kindness to Maya when she returns. Only Maya never returns and Chloe feels the pain of having chosen not to be kind.
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