Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Battle Against Bullying - October 2012

Selected and annotated by Katie Boucher

October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, and this bibliography includes an array of topics and perspectives related to the issue of bullying. Featuring fiction and some non-fiction, this bibliography contains titles that explore stories of bullying for all independent readers, focusing mostly on middle and high school aged students. A growing issue in school, out of school, and on-line, bullying is something that deserves our utmost attention in hopes of arming individuals with the knowledge and strength to address it.

Cassidy, Kay. The Cinderella Society.  Egmont, 2010. 320 p. Gr. 7-10.
Never staying at one school for long has left Jess accustomed to being ridiculed and bullied as the “new girl.” So naturally, Jess is shocked when formally invited to join the Cinderella Society. The Cindys maintain the equilibrium of peace (and power) between regular kids and the popular kids, referred to as the Wickeds. As the new leader of the Cindys, Jess must stand up to ruthless bully and Wickeds leader Lexy, while struggling to find a way to stay true to herself in the midst of her newfound popularity.

Choldenko, Gennifer. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period. Harcourt, 2007. 216 p. Gr. 7-10.
After being ditched by her best friend for the popular crowd and under the constant scrutiny of her parents over her average grades and increasing weight, Kirsten is not having a smooth transition into seventh grade. It is there that she meets new kid, Walk, who is smart and successful, and who also happens to be the only black student in the school. Kirsten and Walk strike up a genuine friendship that helps them deal with the criticism and bullying they endure from other students, most notably mean girl Brianna, and the overwhelming pressure put on them by their overbearing and complex families. 

DeVillers, Julia. Lynn Visible. Dutton, 2010. 278 p. Gr. 6-9.
Unlike most freshmen, Lynn is flamboyantly and unapologetically herself, using fashion as her first and most fabulous form of expression. Indifferent to the taunts of other students, she puts all of her enthusiasm and creativity into her fashion designs and is soon made famous by a major designer. She’s wary of the fake friends that come her way due to her blossoming popularity, and she inspiringly maintains a positive attitude and strong sense of self despite her sudden rise to fame.

Ellis, Ann Dee. This Is What I Did. Little, 2007. 176 p. Gr. 6-9.
After relocating to escape the stigma of a devastating event, eighth-grader Logan finds that the rumors about it have followed him to his new school. Enduring relentless ridicule and bullying at the hands of students and adults alike, he must come to terms with what happened in his hometown and his own responsibility in the incident. Riddled with guilt and depression, Logan must decide if he can ever forgive himself and stand up to his tormenters.

Gorman, Carol. Games. HarperCollins, 2007. 279 p. Gr. 4-7.
Mick and Boot are both bullies. One fights with words and the other with force. They have been viciously targeting each other, and the conflicts have escalated into violent fights that other students actually bet money on. When the principal intervenes and requires the boys to play board games together as a form of punishment, Mick and Boot are forced to face each other rather than hide behind their fists, and they find that they share more than just a tendency to torment. 

Hall, Megan Kelley, ed. Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories. HarperTeen, 2011. 370 p. Gr. 5-10.
Offering their valuable experiences, hopes, and regrets, seventy prominent authors of youth literature tell their tales of bullying, providing candid and heartbreaking accounts of their time spent as either the tormenter or the tormented. Through a variety of literary formats, the authors provide a meaningful and emotional look into the lasting effects of insecurity, guilt, disappointment, and even triumph that are brought about by the act of bullying.

Jonsberg, Barry. Dreamrider. Knopf, 2008. 239 p. Gr. 8-10.
As the fat kid, Michael fully expects to be insulted and harassed at every one of his many new high schools. What makes him different than other bullying victims is that Michael exacts revenge on his persecutors…in his dreams, where he can control the events, even going so far as to kill his bullying classmates. When his torment culminates at his school dance, though, the lines of his dreams and reality begin to blur.

McGowan, Anthony. The Knife That Killed Me. Delacorte, 2010. 224 p. Gr. 8-12.
Despite his attempts to go unnoticed at school, Paul is wrangled into acts of violence and bullying by the frighteningly cruel bully leader, Roth. Torn between his desire to pursue genuine burgeoning friendships with the “freaks” at his school and his desire to remain unharmed by Roth, Paul experiences constant doubt and distrust with the people surrounding him. As Roth’s violence increases, Paul must either resist or succumb to his own growing violent tendencies.

Pixley, Marcella. Freak. Kroupa/Farrar, 2007. 144 p. Gr. 7-10.
Miriam is a social outcast. Her hobbies of poetry and science fiction leave her excluded and isolated from her peers, and she’s distanced from her recently matured high school sister, who’s enjoying a new life of boys and popularity. Readers will cheer for Miriam as she learns to stand on her own against scrutiny and embrace all of the wonderful things that make her unique.

Preller, James.  Bystander. Feiwel, 2009. 240 p. Gr. 6-9.
Forced to relocate because of his newly fractured family, Eric adapts to his new school and social situation by befriending a charming and bold classmate, Griff. Eric soon discovers that Griff is a violent and cruel bully, terrorizing others and making it difficult for Eric to remain indifferent. Eric grapples with the decision to do nothing and save himself or to stand up for what is right and risk his own safety. Eric’s story asks the question: Is a bystander as bad as a bully?

Prose, Francine. Bullyville. HarperTeen, 2007. 272 p. Gr. 7-10.
Known as “Miracle Boy,” Bart unintentionally saved his mother from being killed in the 9/11 attacks by being sick that day and forcing her to stay home. Because of his new title, Bart is offered a scholarship to Baileywell, a prep school better known to others as “Bullyville.” There, Bart suffers severe hazing and cruelty at the hands of an upperclassman. Struggling to endure this new torture while feeling the overbearing weight of his mother’s grief, Bart retaliates, leading him to discover more about his tormenter and himself.

Rosenwald, Laurie. All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem: An Inappropriate Book for Young Ladies or, Frankly, Anybody Else. Bloomsbury, 2008. 122 p. Gr. 9 up.
Bringing a bold and innovative approach to the sometimes tired topic of self-esteem, Rosenwald playfully challenges the value of conformity in a variety of formats. With the use of pictures, rants, and random thoughts, this scrapbook-style book seeks to empower the reader to laugh in the face of those generic affirmations that pressure adolescents to work towards a perfect level of self-esteem and instead encourages them to embrace their own unique perspective.

Roy, James. Max Quigley: Technically Not a Bully.  Houghton, 2009. 202 p. Gr. 4-7.
Max Quigley is not a bully; or rather, that’s what he’d like you to believe. Although he doesn’t fit the description of a stereotypical bully, Max has a tendency to create trouble and pick on other kids, namely Triffin Nordstrom, who Max not-so-affectionately calls “Nerdstrom.” A parental intervention leads to Nerdstrom tutoring Max in math, teaching both of the boys a few other valuable lessons in the process.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Jumped. Amistad/HarperTeen,  2009. 176 p. Gr. 8-12.
Trina, a delusional and narcissistic art student, cuts off Dominique, a newly suspended basketball player predisposed to violence, in the hallway. For Dominique, Trina’s careless offense is the last straw and she decides to attack Trina after school. The day progresses with tensions mounting as Leticia, an underachieving gossip queen who overheard Dominique’s threat, must decide whether to interfere in the impending attack or stand by and allow Trina to be cut down to size.

Yee, Lisa. Warp Speed. Levine/Scholastic, 2011. 320 p. Gr. 5-8.
Acutely aware of the way his nerdiness draws abuse from school bullies, Marley has adapted by being fast--very fast. Outrunning his attackers is the only defense Marley has as he tries to go unnoticed by the bullies who enjoy shoving him into lockers and copying his homework. When he catches the eye of the track coach while on a regular sprint from danger, Marley is suddenly propelled into popularity. In the process, he learns the value of his true friendships and develops the strength to defend himself.