Books on Bullying

View all Recommendations by Subjects > Character development book lists; This list was last updated on 7/13/2017
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Stitches
Travis lives in a trailer park outside a small prairie town with his aunt, uncle, and a pack of rowdy little cousins. His mother, a country-and-western singer, is on the road a lot; his father is long gone. When things get crazy at his place he can always go visit his best friend, Chantelle, a smart disabled girl. Travis doesn't mind being poor and having strange relatives. But he knows he's different from his junior high classmates in other ways, too. He loves to sew and play with puppets. He wants to become a professional puppeteer. These interests make Travis a ripe target for Shon and his friends, the school bullies. As ninth grade graduation approaches and Travis and his friends (including Shon's girlfriend) create a puppet production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the taunts and schoolyard ambushes escalate until Shon's anger, jealousy, and prejudice erupt in violence.

This touching story of the trials and tribulations of adolescence resonates with young adult readers.
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The Black Sunshine of Goody Pryne
Stevie Walters is still grieving over the death of his father -- killed by a drunk driver two years ago. His mum is still an emotional mess, and at school the other kids avoid him -- he's the short, geeky kid with the tragic past.
Then he meets Goody Pryne. Goody is smart, big, abrasive bully. Her parents are divorced and she tiptoes around her bitter mother at home, but at school she's larger than life, full of pent-up anger and bristling energy. Goody and Stevie become friends. She's mean to Stevie, puts him down, even punches him hard enough that his mum takes him to the hospital, but he is drawn into her orbit. Goody always tells him the truth about himself.But she won't talk about herself,especially about her relationship to Josie, her former best friend.At the same time Stevie finds himself drawn to Tsula, Josie's best friend.
But when Goody and Josie's relationship comes to a crisis, Stevie must decide where his loyalties lie -- to look after himself and be popular with his new friends, or stay true to Goody.
release date: Aug 18, 2008
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Mousetraps
Back in grade school, Maxie and Rick were best friends. Rick would design crazy inventions, and Maxie, the artistic one, would draw them. Then something terrible happened to Rick, and he vanished from her school and her life. Years later, he shows up at Maxie's high school. In some ways he's the same person she once knew. But in other ways - frightening ones - he's very, very different . . .
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Inside Out Girl

Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner—which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.

But the world refuses to be predictable. When personal crisis profoundly alters Rachel's relationship with a wild, very special little girl, this perfectionist mother finds herself drawn into a mystery from her past and toward a new appreciation for her own children's imperfect lives.

release date: Sep 01, 2006
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See No Evil
When Shawn and Daniel witness a gang beating behind the local mall they flee the scene, terrified that they've been seen. They recognize one of the attackers as a locally infamous gang member. When they learn that the kid who was attacked is in critical condition, Shawn wants to go to the police, but Daniel convinces him that they are in more danger if they speak up. The threats they receive from other members of the gang reinforce the boys' fears. When the gang attacks Daniel, Shawn has to put his own safety at risk to help his friend.
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We Need to Talk About Kelvin
Look around you. The reflection of your face in a window tells you that the universe is orchestrated by chance. The iron in a spot of blood on your finger tells you that somewhere out in space there is furnace at a temperature of 4.5 billion degrees. Your TV tells you that the universe had a beginning. In fact, your very existence tells you that this may not be the only universe but merely one among an infinity of others, stacked like the pages of a never-ending book. Marcus Chown, author of "Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You", takes familiar features of the world we know and shows how they can be used to explain profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. His new book will change the way you see the world: with Chown as your guide, cutting-edge science is made clear and meaningful by a falling leaf, or a rose, or a starry night sky...
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The Beckoners
When her mother suddenly moves them to a new town, Zoe is unhappy about leaving behind what passes for a normal life. And when the first person she meets turns out to be Beck, who rules her new school with a mixture of intimidation and outright violence, she is dismayed. But she has no idea how bad things will get. Unsure of herself and merely trying to fit in, Zoe is initiated, painfully, into the Beckoners, a twisted group of girls whose main purpose is to stay on top by whatever means necessary. Help comes from unlikely quarters as Zoe struggles to tear loose from the Beckoners without becoming a target herself, while also trying to save April—or Dog, as she is called—from further torment. A chilling portrait of the bullying and violence that is all too common in schools, The Beckoners illustrates the lure of becoming tormentor rather than victim, and the terrible price that can be exacted for standing up for what is right.
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My Time as Caz Hazard
Caz thinks she has a pretty good reason when she punches her boyfriend in the face, but she gets expelled anyway. Moving to a new school, she is told she is dyslexic and sent to special education classes. Caz tries to fit in and get by while suffering the taunts and abuse that others throw at the students in her class. Her friendship with Amanda leads her into new territory—shoplifting and skipping school. Coupled with her parents' impending separation, her life is spiraling out of control.
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Payback
Thirteen-year-old Charley Callaghan is coping with some difficult changes in his life. His family has recently moved to Vancouver from Ireland, and his mother has died of cancer. Now he is desperately trying to fit in — in a new school, a new city, a new country — while holding a part-time job and keeping an eye on his little sister, Annie. Charley's red hair and Irish accent at first make him a target of the class bullies, but he is just tough enough to keep them at bay. It's almost a relief to him when the bullies find a new target, Benny Mason. Charley keeps hoping, in vain, that Benny will defend himself, but he fails to intervene. When Benny commits suicide, Charley is overcome with remorse and guilt. He visits Benny's single mother, Joanna, but instead of confessing, finds himself trying to make amends by doing chores, running errands, and befriending Benny's little brother. Can Charley find atonement for his failure to help Benny? James Heneghan's trademark narrative drive, vivid characters, and strong social message make this a masterful study of loss and renewal.
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Hit Squad
This is Mickey's first year at Grandview High. After transferring, all he wants to do is keep his head down, work hard and fit in with the upscale crowd. He is approached, because of his tough reputation, to join a group of students to take back the school from the bullies. Mickey finds himself caught up in a shadowy world of violence and retribution. When their planned payback goes horribly wrong, Mickey is forced to acknowledge the thin line between victim and victimizer.
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The Lottery
Every student at Saskatoon Collegiate knew that all the most important aspects of school life were controlled by a secret club called Shadow Council. Each fall, Shadow held a traditional lottery during which a single student's name was drawn. The rest of the student body called the student the lottery winner. But Shadow Council knew better; to them the winner was the lottery victim. Whatever the label, the fated student became the Council's go-fer, delivering messages of doom to selected targets. In response, the student body shunned the lottery winner for the entire year. This year's victim was fifteen-year-old Sally Hanson.
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Queen of the Toilet Bowl
When Renata is chosen to play the lead role in the school musical, students who used to ignore her start saying hello and congratulating her in the hall. She is happy until it becomes evident that Karin, a wealthy girl who expected to get the lead role, will go to great lengths to ruin Renata's reputation.
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The Monkeyface Chronicles
Born with an extreme facial deformity, Philip Skyler learned early in his life that his face would get him into trouble and there was nothing he could do about it. Doctors called his condition Van der Woude syndrome; his classmates, especially the bullies, just called him Monkeyface. Monkeyface Chronicles is his sweet story of revenge. Philip is about to embark on a life journey of payback, a journey that takes him through unusual family circumstances, where no one was really who they seemed to benot his reclusive scientist father nor his Citizen Kane-like grandfather. While riding his fathers motorcycle to Toronto to escape the dregs of Faireville, Philip has a life-changing experience that transforms him from the dupe he was as a kid into a conquering hero in his twenties. His unforgettable ride brings him to triumph over adversity and redeems him from the world of losers into which he was cast.
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Egghead
Red Maple Book Award - Fiction Honour Book 2009

Snow Willow Award Nominee 2009

CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award shortlist, 2009

Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2009

Will Reid is a gawky kid who wears fake turtlenecks, is obsessed by his ant farm project, and is lousy at gym. In other words, he's the perfect target for Shane, the Grade 9 bully. Katie has been Will's friend in elementary school, but defending him in the high school environment comes at an unforeseen cost - she dreads the rumours that link them in a boyfriend/girlfriend way she's never considered. Devan has been part of Shane's bullyboy team until now, when he comes to realize that it's not so smart to mindlessly back up each nasty attack of Shane's. Together the three young teens are struggling to find their way out of one of the classic dilemmas of life: how not to be a bystander to bullying, how to stand up for your friends, and how to deal with consuming rage.

Young readers will find lots to think about as they turn the pages of this crisp and compelling story by newcomer Caroline Pignat. Each character takes a turn at telling the story -- through the spare blank verse of Will, wrapped up in the world of his single-parent father and his own eccentric preoccupations; through the clear-eyed accounts of Katie, wrestling with her own private demons; and in the sensitive narrative of the slowly awakening Devan, who comes to notice Katie as a spunky, attractive individual whom he'd like to know better but fears thinks he's a goof.

Note that Kids Help Phone's has included Egghead on their site as a book to help kids in their Get Information section under Bullying for Ages 13 and Up.

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Some Girls Are

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

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Nineteen Minutes
The bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper and The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens—until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened before her very own eyes—or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show— destroying the closest of friendships and families.
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By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
After a lifetime of being bullied, Daelyn is broken beyond repair. She has tried to kill herself before, and is determined to get it right this time. Though her parents think they can protect her, she finds a Web site for "completers" that seems made just for her. She blogs on its forums, purging her harrowing history. At her private Catholic school, the only person who interacts with her is a boy named Santana. No matter how poorly she treats him, he just won't leave her alone. And it's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life . . . isn't it?

In this harrowing, compelling novel, Julie Anne Peters shines a light on what might make a teenager want to kill herself, as well as how she might start to bring herself back from the edge. A discussion guide and resource list prepared by "bullycide" expert C. J. Bott are included in the back matter.
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Rage
A National Book Award Finalist offers an intense portrait of an abusive relationship.

Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can't give Johanna everything she needs—it can't give her Reeve Hartt.

Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna's fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn't always reasonable, right?

In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love, and struggles to find her way into a new light.
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This is What I Did:









Imagine if you had witnessed something horrific.
Imagine if it had happened to your friend.
And imagine if you hadn't done anything to help.

That's what it's like to be Logan, an utterly frank, slightly awkward, and extremely loveable outcast enmeshed in a mysterious psychological drama. This story allows readers to piece together the sequence of events that has changed his life and changed his perspective on what it means to be a good friend and what it means to be a good person.

This is What I Did: is a powerful read with clever touches, such as palindrome notes, strewn throughout the story and incorporated into the unique design of the book.
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Bifocal

On the White Ravens' Outstanding New International Books for Children and Young Adults list, 2008

ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards Bronze Medal Winner (YA Fiction category), 2007

Snow Willow Award nominee, 2008

CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens, 2008

Two bestselling authors join forces to write a powerful novel about racism.

A student arrested on suspicions of terrorism. A high school torn apart by racism. Two boys from two different sets of circumstances forced to choose sides.

These are the issues at the heart of Bifocal, a groundbreaking new novel for young-adults.

The story is told from two different points of view. Haroon is a serious student devoted to his family. His grandparents emigrated from Afghanistan. Jay is a football star devoted to his team. He is white.

One day their high school is put on lockdown, and the police arrest a Muslim student on suspicion of terrorist affiliations. He might be guilty. Or is he singled out because of his race?

The entire student body fragments along racial lines and both Haroon and Jay find that their differences initially put them at odds. The Muslim students become targets and a smoke-bomb is set off near their lockers while Jay and his teammates believe they've been set-up to look like racists.

Bifocal is, by no stretch, an easy book. Award-winning authors Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters deliver a serious, hard-hitting book about racism that does not talk down to young people.

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Inside My Head
This cleverly constructed narrative consists of three points of view: of Gary, constantly victimised by the school bully in a nasty, name-calling and vindictive way; the bully's friend, David and a new girl to the school, Zoe. All viewpoints are revealing. Gary reveals the painful and often unsuccessful attempts by a young man to control his anger under great provocation - and his inability to communicate. David is someone who is uncomfortable with the bullying but doesn't dare to do anything about it - until the end. Zoe is a young woman who can see Gary through different eyes and is independent, freethinking and brave. Also featured in this title are rampaging tractors, shotguns and cheese puffs.
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