Books for Parents
Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying
by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon
Mary Pipher's bestselling Reviving Ophelia triggered widespread interest in the culture of preteen and teenage girls and the seeming epidemic of relational aggression (bullying) among them. Gossip, teasing, forming cliques, and other cruel behaviors are the basis of this bullying, which harms both victim and aggressor. Until now, no one has been able to offer practical and effective solutions that stop girls from hurting each other with words and actions. But in Girl Wars, two experts explain not only how to prevent such behavior but also how to intervene should it happen, as well as overcome the culture that breeds it.
Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown
The stereotype-laden message, delivered through clothes, music, books, and TV, is essentially a continuous plea for girls to put their energies into beauty products, shopping, fashion, and boys. This constant marketing, cheapening of relationships, absence of good women role models, and stereotyping and sexualization of girls is something that parents need to first understand before they can take action. Lamb and Brown teach parents how to understand these influences, give them guidance on how to talk to their daughters about these negative images, and provide the tools to help girls make positive choices about the way they are in the world.
Little Girls Can Be Mean: 4 Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert
As experts in developmental psychology and each a mother of three, Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert began noticing an alarming pattern of social struggle among girls as young as five, including their own daughters. In today's world, it is likely that your daughter has been faced with bullying and friendship issues, too---and perhaps you're at a loss for how to guide her through these situations effectively. Little Girls Can Be Mean is the first book to tackle the unique social struggles of elementary-aged girls, giving you the tools you need to help your daughter become stronger, happier, and better able to enjoy her friendships at school and beyond.
Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons
In this updated edition, educator and bullying expert Rachel Simmons gives girls, parents, and educators proven and innovative strategies for navigating social dynamics in person and online, as well as brand new classroom initiatives and step-by-step parental suggestions for dealing with conventional bullying. With up-to-the-minute research and real-life stories, Odd Girl Out continues to be the definitive resource on the most pressing social issues facing girls today.
Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
It’s not just about helping your daughter make it alive out of junior high. This book will help you understand how your daughter’s relationship with friends and cliques sets the stage for other intimate relationships as she grows and guides her when she has tougher choices to make about intimacy, drinking and drugs, and other hazards. With its revealing look into the secret world of teenage girls and cliques, enlivened with the voices of dozens of girls and a much-needed sense of humor, Queen Bees and Wannabes will equip you with all the tools you need to build the right foundation to help your daughter make smarter choices and empower her during this baffling, tumultuous time of life.
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon
Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student’s suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids’ predicaments escalated, to no one’s benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it.
Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr. Michele Borba
Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome—so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Dr. Borba offers a framework for parenting that yields the results we all want: successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient. UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want to kids shift their focus from I, me, and mine…to we, us, and ours.
Books for Girls
Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig
After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she's told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn't take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. Told from the unusual point of view of the bullier rather than the bullied, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tools they can use to identify and stop relational aggression.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya
Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
Millie is quiet. Millie is sweet. Millie is mild. But the kids at school don't listen to her. And she never gets a piece of birthday cake with a flower on it. And some girls from her class walk right on top of her chalk drawing and smudge it. And they don't even say they're sorry! So that's when Millie decides she wants to be fierce! She frizzes out her hair, sharpens her nails and runs around like a wild thing. But she soon realizes that being fierce isn't the best way to get noticed either, especially when it makes you turn mean. So Millie decides to be nice--but to keep a little of that fierce backbone hidden inside her. In case she ever needs it again.
My Secret Bully by Trudi Ludwig
Here is the all-too-familiar story of Monica. She and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she's nice. But there are times when Katie can be just plain mean. And Monica doesn't understand why. Monica is a target of relational aggression, emotional bullying among friends who will use name-calling and manipulation to humiliate and exclude. But with a little help from a supportive adult—her mother—Monica learns to cope and thrive by facing her fears and reclaiming power from her bully.
Odd Velvet by Mary Whitcomb
Velvet is odd. Instead of dolls that talk and cry, Velvet brings a milkweed pod for show and tell. She wins the class art contest using only an eight-pack of crayons. She likes to collect rocks. Even her name is strange-Velvet! But as the school year unfolds, the things Velvet does and the things that Velvet says slowly begin to make sense. And, in the end, Velvet's classmates discover that being different is what makes Velvet so much fun.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
One of Us by Peggy Moss
You are one of us,” Carmen tells Roberta on her first day at a new school, and Roberta gladly sits with Carmen’s group―until she learns that they don’t play on the monkey bars. Roberta loves the monkey bars, but the kids who play there don’t carry flowered lunchboxes like she does. She moves from group to group, but it seems that she doesn’t fit in anywhere! Then Roberta discovers some kids just like her everyone's different and they like it that way!
Our Friendship Rules by Peggy Moss
Momentarily dazzled by the glamor of a new girl at school, Alexandra tattles her best friend Jenny's biggest, most important secret in order to win a place within the cool crowd. When she sees how she's hurt Jenny's feelings, she wonders how she'll regain the relationship she values far more than being invited to sit with the popular girls.
Say Something by Peggy Moss
At this school, there are some children who push and tease and bully. Sometimes they hurt other kids by just ignoring them. The girl in this story sees it happening, but she would never do these mean things herself. Then one day something happens that shows her that being a silent bystander isn’t enough. Will she take some steps on her own to help another kid? Could it be as simple as sitting on the bus with the girl no one has befriended (and discovering that she has a great sense of humor)? Resources at the end of the book will help parents and children talk about teasing and bullying and find ways to stop it at school. One child at a time can help change a school.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan
Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what's that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them? The smallest things can pull us apart-until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced.If kids ever crossed her, she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em kitz and kajammer 'em. Until a new kid came to school! With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.
Two by Kathryn Otoshi
Two is best friends with One. Whenever they’d get the chance, they’d dance! She’d sing and snap. He’d tappity-tap. What a pair they made! At the end of the day, they’d always say, “ONE, TWO, I’ll count on you, ‘til the end, we’ll be best friends.” Until Three jumps in between them…Suddenly One only wants to play with Three. “ONE, THREE, odds we’ll be!” they chant. Two feels left out. But what can she do? Two is a powerful story of friendship, loss, letting go, and self-discovery.
When No One is Watching by Eileen Spinelli
When no one is watching, it's easy to be brave -- to dance and sing, growl and cheer. But when everyone's watching, this book's shy young narrator finds it far easier to hide. With her best friend, Loretta, though, she doesn't feel shy, embarrassed, awkward, or odd -- not one bit. Together they're like two peas in a pod, whether anyone's watching or not.
Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button
Shy, quiet Willow silently wishes she could find a way to say no to her bossy classmate Kristabelle's demands, but the words never seem to come when she needs them. That is, until Kristabelle starts using the powerful threat of un-inviting children from her “fantastic” birthday party to keep them in line, and Willow decides she's finally had enough. Surprising everyone, even herself, Willow steps up and bravely does something shocking, and it changes the entire dynamic of the classroom.
Wings by Christopher Myers
Ikarus Jackson, a new boy on the block, surprises his neighbors one day by flying above the rooftops with his "long, strong, proud wings." People start to whisper, though, and soon those whispers turn to taunts, disdain, and finally even dismissal from school. One quiet girl, someone who knows loneliness herself, doesn't think the winged boy is strange. She runs through the streets, searching the clouds for her exiled schoolmate, only to find a policeman yelling at him to get down from the edge of a building where he perched with the pigeons: "Could the policeman / put him in jail for flying, / for being too different?" She musters her strength to tell the laughing onlookers to leave him alone, and she tells her new friend "what someone should have long ago"--that his flying is beautiful.
Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: “1,2,3,4,5,6,7…!” “Those numbers have value. That’s why they count,” she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. “If I were like One, then I can count too,” she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. Readers are introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and others.
This site is an amazing resource for parents and teachers and is a lot of fun for girls! Billing itself as “the world's largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”, it breaks down lists by categories and has expansive ideas for any topic.
Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, is the mastermind behind this site, which offers informative blog posts and resources connected to her work.
Girls Leadership, created by Rachel Simmons (author of Odd Girl Out), focuses on the social/emotional health of girls by offering year round programming and education for girls and parents. The site itself offers many resources related to raising strong, confident girls.
Kind Campaign, founded in 2009, is a non-profit organization, documentary film, and school program that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl "crime". The film Finding Kind follows two filmmakers as they travel cross country, interviewing girls and women in an effort to “find kindness”.
The Start Empathy site has an amazing amount of resources for parents and educators on various topics related to the social/emotional health of children.