"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, October 12, 2013

YA Books on Bullying

Anti-Bullying is a big theme at my high school now. Here is a list of YA books in my library that an English teacher could assign for an assignment on this topic. I was pleased to see how many books I actually have in the library on this topic.  If you have any other suggested titles for this assignment, please let me know. (They are listed in random order.)

Publication Date
Summary/My Thoughts (copies in GKHS library)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian/Sherman Alexie

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Native American is the school mascot. Junior is bullied at his new school and hassled by his friends for leaving the reservation. / The story, told with so much humor, has a powerful message for kids of all races. (5)
Thirteen Reasons Why/Jay Asher
Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, who committed suicide, and spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death./Students are so touched my this story and want to read more just like it when they are done. (3)
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass/Meg Medina
Piddy Sanchez deals with bullying at her new school, and as the harassment escalates, she struggles to survive and to discover who she really is. /I learned more about the challenges that victims face when they “tell” than I knew before. (1)
Everybody Sees the Ants/A.S. King
Overburdened by his parents' bickering and a bully's attacks, fifteen-year-old Lucky Linderman begins dreaming of being with his grandfather, who went missing during the Vietnam War. /Students don’t chose this book on their own. Readers would benefit from a discussion with others who have read it. (3)
Period 8. /Chris Crutcher
Period 8 has always been a safe haven at their high school. But when Paulie, Hannah, their friends, and a sympathetic teacher try to unravel the mystery of a missing classmate, the ultimate bully takes aim at the school. /Sometimes the bullies are adults!  (1)
Speak /Laurie Halse Anderson
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school. /There are seven copies of this book in my library and they are nearly always checked out. (7)
Shattering Glass /Gail Giles
When Rob, the charismatic leader of the senior class, turns the school nerd into Prince Charming, his actions lead to unexpected violence. /The tension in this book just builds and builds. It is a small book so it is attractive to reluctant readers. (7)
Rotters / Daniel Kraus
Joey's life takes a very strange turn when his mother's tragic death forces him to move to rural Iowa with the father he has never known, and who is the town pariah. /This book hasn’t gained any traction in my library. The subject, grave-robbing, may be the reason. (1)
Twisted /Laurie Halse Anderson
After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between two attitudes. /This is a nifty fifty book at my school. The three copies are frequently checked out. (3)
The Chocolate War /Robert Cormier
A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school's annual fund raising drive and arousing the wrath of the school bullies. /Students don’t particularly like this book but it has a valuable lesson for school officials about our expectations and how they contribute to some negative situations. I have a lot of copies left over from an assignment no longer used. (9)
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock /Matthew Quick
A day in the life of a suicidal teen boy saying good-bye to the four people who matter most to him. /Kids can be so cruel to other students who are struggling with mental health issues. This is a Mock Printz selection this year. (2)
Ask the Passengers /A.S.King
Astrid Jones, who realizes that she is a lesbian, deals with the gossip and rejection she faces by sending love up to the people on airplanes as they pass over her. /Gossip can isolate kids. It can be a form of bullying. LGBT theme. (1)
Whale Talk /Chris Crutcher
Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school's less popular students. / Misfits are often targets of bullies. (1)
The Hate List /Jennifer Brown
Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain. /I haven’t read this book. It was very popular a few years ago. (1)
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things /Carolyn Mackler
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her. /Positive self-concept is a powerful anecdote against bullying, families can set kids up for the type of treatment they receive at school. (2)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower /Stephen Chbosky
Charlie, a freshman in high school, explores the dilemmas of growing up through a collection of letters he sends to an unknown receiver. / Acceptance by peers is vital to how one feels about self. This book is as popular in the library today as it has ever been. (2)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe /Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before. /Strong friendships can insulate us from the damaging effects of bullying. LGBT themed. (1)
By the Time You Read this I Will Be Dead /Julie Anne Peters
High school student Daelyn Rice, who has been bullied throughout her school career and has more than once attempted suicide, again makes plans to kill herself, in spite of the persistent attempts of an unusual boy to draw her out. /I haven’t read this book but it is always checked out so it must speak to teens. (1)
Playground/ 50 Cent
After beating up Maurice on the playground, Butterball is forced to see the school therapist. /A good selection for reluctant readers. (1)
The Difference Between You and Me /Madeleine George
School outsider Jesse, a lesbian, is having secret trysts with Emily, the popular student council vice president, but when they find themselves on opposite sides of a major issue and Jesse becomes more involved with a student activist, they are forced to make a difficult decision. /Not a specific book on bullying but contains important messages about finding and accepting oneself. (2)
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door /Karen Finneyfrock
Celia, hurt by her parents' separation, the loss of her only friend, and a classmate's cruelty, has only her poetry for solace until newcomer Drake Berlin befriends her, comes out to her, and seeks her help in connecting with the boy he left behind. /I haven’t read this book but the description sounds compelling. (1)
The List /Siobhan Vivian
Emily and seven other high school girls struggle with the way they see themselves and the way others see them after a list ranking the prettiest and ugliest girls is posted. /GKHS doesn't have a copy of book but I must remedy this situation. (0)
The Bully /Paul Lanagan
When Darrell Mercer and his mother move to California from Philadelphia, Darrell must figure out a way to deal with a cruel bully at school. Part of the Bluford High series. / A book designed for reluctant readers. (1)
The Tragedy Paper /Elizabeth LeBan
While preparing for the most dreaded assignment at the prestigious Irving School, the Tragedy Paper, Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy. /Set in a boarding school the main character is an albino. He experiences isolation and some bullying for being different. (1)
Winger/Andrew Smith
Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates. /A humorous and poignant look at the way that teens treat each other, including LGBT teens. A current Mock Printz selection. (2)
Eleanor and Park / Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. /A new favorite. Points out the cruelty of classmates directed toward misfit students, sometimes related to poverty and home situations. A Mock Printz selection for the year. (2)
How to Say Goodbye in Robot /Natalie Standiford
After moving to Baltimore and enrolling in a private school, high school senior Beatrice befriends a quiet loner with a troubled family history. /Misfits struggle to hang on to their self-concept in a culture that wants everyone to conform. (1)
Darius and Twig /Walter Dean Myers
Two best friends, a writer and a runner, deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem. / Bullies and guns, not a good combination. (1)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes /Chris Crutcher
Class discussions about the nature of man, the existence of God, abortion, organized religion, suicide and other contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high-school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help. /The main characters are both misfits so fall victim to the teasing of teens. I love this book. (5)
Fat Kid Rules the World /K.L. Going
Seventeen-year-old Troy, depressed, suicidal, and weighing nearly 300 pounds, gets a new perspective on life when a homeless teenager who is a genius on guitar wants Troy to be the drummer in his rock band./ This funny story highlights the value of sticking up for people who are targeted by bullies. This is one of my YA favorites. (2)
Touching Spirit Bear /Ben Mikealsen
After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life. /Cole is a big bully and he learns as even bigger lesson. Kids respond positively to this book. A required summer read for freshman coming in to our school. (10)
First Test / Tamora Pierce
Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. /Even though this is fantasy book it has an important message for strong girls. The boy bullies want to get the best of Keladry but she will have none of it. Maybe a bit young for the high school audience but I still like it. (1)
Crossing Lines /Paul Volponi
Adonis, a football hero and boyfriend to one of the prettiest girls at school, goes along with the team when they target Alan, a new kid who wears lipstick and joins the fashion club, but he must choose between being popular and doing the right thing when his buddies come up with a plan to humiliate Alan./ School athletes have a unique position within the school hierarchy for good or bad. I haven’t read this book but I’m a Volponi fan. (2)
Leverage /Joshua Cohen
High school sophomore Danny excels at gymnastics but is bullied, like the rest of the gymnasts, by members of the football team, until an emotionally and physically scarred new student joins the football team and forms an unlikely friendship with Danny./ I haven’t read this book but it deals with an important topic---revenge. (1)
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin/Josh Berk
When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a popular football player in his class./ This book sounds like a good one, I’m sorry I've missed it. (1)
Jumped/Rita Williams-Garcia

The lives of Leticia, Dominique, and Trina are irrevocably intertwined through the course of one day in an urban high school after Leticia overhears Dominique's plans to beat up Trina and must decide whether or not to get involved. /Another good-sounding book that I've missed. (1)
Breathing Underwater/Alex Flinn
Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father./ Sounds good. (1)
Two Boys Kissing/David Levithan
A chorus of men who died of AIDS observes and yearns to help a cross-section of today's gay teens who navigate new love, long-term relationships, coming out, self-acceptance, and more in a society that has changed in many ways./ I just became aware of this book and will add it to my next order. (0)
Almost Perfect/ Brian Katcher
With his mother working long hours and in pain from a romantic break-up, eighteen-year-old Logan feels alone and unloved until a zany new student--who is hiding a big secret--arrives at his small-town Missouri high school. /A very touching story. LGBT themed. (1)
Sorry. This list is a bit long. Hope you found some gems on the list it.

Teachers/Librarians: feel free to copy my list and take it to your school library for comparison sake and then create a reading assignment for your classes.


  1. This is a fantastic list! What are the numbers in parenthesis for though?

    1. The numbers in parenthesis are the number of copies I have of that book in my library catalog. I am hoping to cobble together enough books on the topic of bullying so that a teacher can use them with his/her classes. I figure, based on what I discovered here, that I have over 60 books that would work for the assignment which means at least two classes could do the assignment at once. However, many of the books are checked out now and are frequently checked out so I may not be able to amass all 60 at once. Thanks for asking.


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