Of the many things kids of all ages and backgrounds face every day, bullying, unfortunately, is one of the most prevalent shared experiences. In a large-scale effort to address the issue, October has been designated National Bullying Prevention Month.
Starting conversations with kids about bullying is one of the essential steps in preventing it. If that seems daunting, try listening to one of these audiobooks together and discussing it after:
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick’s a flea. His troop mates at camp are terrifying. But a tenuous friendship grows between themâ€”which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming, and everyone will have to work together to survive!
Listen to an excerpt Lions & Liars
Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. He writes about his life in sixth grade, but he can’t bring himself to tell the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Listen to an excerpt Twerp
From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, Stargirl captures Leo Borlockâ€™s heart. She sparks a school-spirit revolution, and the students of Mica High are enchanted. Then they turn on her. Sheâ€™s suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.
Listen to an excerpt Stargirl
Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to himâ€”people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their love for music, Lewis has to lie to hide his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with a vicious bully, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath.
Listen to an excerpt If I Ever Get Out of Here
Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty is a bully. Though her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Tobyâ€™s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice, as tensions mount.
Listen to an excerpt Wolf Hollow
Lucky Linderman has been the target of Nader McMillanâ€™s relentless bullying for as long as he can remember. But he has a secret escape: his dreams. There, he goes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos, where his grandfather, who never came home from the Vietnam War, is still trapped. There Lucky can be a hero. But how long can he keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
Listen to an excerpt Everybody Sees the Ants
Bee is an orphan who lives with a carnival and sleeps in the back of a truck. Every day she endures taunts for the birthmark on her face. One day a scruffy dog shows up, as unwanted as she, and Bee realizes she must find a home for them both. She discovers a cozy house where two mysterious women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter, take her in. They help Bee realize that she matters to the worldâ€”if only she will let herself be a part of it.
Listen to an excerpt Beholding Bee
For more audiobooks to share with young listeners about bullying, take a look at this collection.