>No Name-Calling Week will be celebrated in schools all over the United States during the week of January 24th-28th. As teachers and counselors plan group activities and discussions around this important theme, you can emphasize the same message at home with these great children’s and tweenage reads:

Jungle Bullieshttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=passivea0d-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0761456201&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr by Steven Kroll

Jungle Bullies is a picture book for preschoolers that uses rhyme and repetition to share important messages about standing up for yourself and learning to share. With engaging, child-friendly illustrations and inviting jungle animal characters, this is a great choice for introducing concepts about friendship and bullying to the youngest readers.

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully by Audrey Pennhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=passivea0d-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1933718307&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

When I saw this book on the bookstore end cap, I had to reach for it right away. Penn’s The Kissing Hand has always been one of my favorite tales (to this day, my five-year old, inspired by the book, still draws hearts on her palm whenever she is missing someone) so I knew I’d want to check out whatever Penn had written.

I have to admit that in my first read of the book, I wondered if this tale about turning a bully into a pal might be too simplistic and unrealistic of a message for young kids dealing with a troublesome bullying situation. I stand firm on this first impression, but also give weight to my thoughts after a second read, which are that teaching children to extend a hand of friendship is always a positive message and good initial strategy for approaching relationships. These varied reactions are exactly what make this book a good read for young children and a great discussion starter at home.

My Secret Bully by Trudi Ludwighttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=passivea0d-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1582461597&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

My Secret Bully, written for tween readers, lifts the lid off of the hidden culture of relational aggression, otherwise known as girl bullying. It tells the story of Monica and Katie—two girls who have been friends since Kindergarten, but who now are facing a rift in their relationship, as Katie begins to exclude and embarrass her former friend in front of their other classmates. In tackling this painful subject of the ways in which some girls use relationships as weapons, Ludwig provides an accurate and not-often-addressed portrait of a young girl’s anguish at the hands of a frenemy. My Secret Bully is not a light-hearted portrayal of bullying, nor does it offer pat answers. But it does address an important issue in the lives of upper elementary and middle school-aged girls and can serve as a great springboard for discussions with parents.

For more information, suggested resources, and additional discussion ideas, please visit the No Name-Calling Week website.

This blog article was first posted on 3 P’s in a Pod on 1/13/11.