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Thick-skinned, Thin-skinned, The Skin I’m In:
Books about Bullying, Teasing,
Relational Aggression and School Violence

Compiled by Tessa Michaelson; updated by CCBC staff
© 2008 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated annually

Experiences with bullying, teasing, relational aggression, and school violence are an all too common part of childhood and adolescence. Schools and communities are looking for ways to address these issues, while children, teens, and caring adults deal with the day-to-day fear and misery caused by such behavior. Books for children and teens about bullying, teasing, and other aggressive behaviors range from purposeful to highly literary in style, while offerings span the spectrum from lighthearted to grave.

This selective bibliography offers titles that authentically address the issues of bullying, teasing, relational aggression, and school violence. The books on this list provide perspectives from the standpoint of being a target, aggressor, observer, or all three. The titles chosen here reflect themes of conformity, self-perception, and popularity in addition to stories related to school culture and tolerance. While some books describe the difficulties of being different, others emphasize the positives. From books depicting the heartache of gossip and social invisibility to books portraying the struggle of feeling comfortable into one’s own skin, these titles will have relevance and resonance with readers.

The titles are grouped according the suggested age range as well as by the main perspective the book offers (being the target, being the aggressor, being the observer, multiple perspectives). A section on difference is also included for each age range.

Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies

From the Perspective of the Target (PK-3)

    Baldacchino, Christine. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress . Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. A Groundwood Book / House of Anansi Press, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 3-8

    Fleishman, Paul. Weslandia. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Candlewick, 1999. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

    Henkes, Kevin. Chrysanthemum. Greenwillow, 1991. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Holm, Jennifer and Matthew Holm . Babymouse: Queen of the World!. Random House , 2005. 91 pages. Ages 8-10

    Lagercrantz, Rose . My Heart Is Laughing. Translated by Translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall. Illustrated by Eva Eriksson. U.S. edition: Gecko Press, 2014. 119 pages. Ages 7-9

    Ludwig, Trudy. My Secret Bully. Illustrated by Abigail Marble. 2005. 32 pages. Tricycle Press

    Ludwig, Trudy. Just Kidding. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Tricycle Press, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Pérez, L. King. First Day in Grapes. Illustrated by Robert Casilla. Lee & Low, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

From the Perspective of the Aggressor (PK-3)

    Estes, Eleanor. The Hundred Dresses. Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1944.

    Hartnett, Sonya. Sadie and Ratz. Illustrated by Ann James. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2012. 59 pages. Ages 5-8

    Seeger, Laura Vaccaro . Bully. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Woodson, Jacqueline. Each Kindness. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Putnam, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

From the Perspective of the Observer (PK-3)

    Burningham, John. Edwardo : The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    De Kinder, Jan. Red. Translated by Translated by Laura Watkinson from the Dutch. Eerdmans, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 4–8

    Moss, Peggy. Say Something. Illustrated by Lea Lyon. Tilbury House, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Myers, Christopher. Wings. Scholastic Press, 2000. 40 pages. Ages 5 - 11

    Wilson-Max, Ken. Max's Starry Night. Jump at the Sun / Hyperion, 2001. 24 pages. Ages 2 - 4

From Multiple Perspectives (PK-3)

    Edwards, Michelle . Stinky Stern Forever. Harcourt, 2005. 49 pages. Ages 6-8

    Nilsson, Ulf. A Complicated Case. Translated by Julia Marshall. Illustrated by Gitte Spee. U.S. edition: Gecko Press, 2016. 104 pages. 4-8

    Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. What If?. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Thomas, Shelley Moore. Somewhere Today: A Book of Peace. Photographed by Eric Futran. Albert Whitman, 1998. 24 pages. Ages 3 - 7

Being Different (PK-3)

    Baldacchino, Christine. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress . Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. A Groundwood Book / House of Anansi Press, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 3-8

    Bang, Molly. When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt. The Blue Sky Press / Scholastic, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Boelts, Maribeth. Those Shoes. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick Press, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Choi, Yansook. The Name Jar. Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 6

    Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. Jack's Talent. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-7

    Gregory, Nan . Pink. Illustrated by Luc Melanson. 2007, Groundwood. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    hooks, bell. skin again. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Hyperion, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Mike, Nadia. Leah's Mustache Party. Illustrated by Charlene Chua. Inhabit Media, 2016. 26 pages. Ages 3-7

    Nikola-Lisa, W.. Bein' with You This Way. Illustrated by Michael Bryant. Lee & Low, 1994. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Young, Cybèle. Ten Birds. Kids Can Press, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

From the Perspective of the Target (Grades 4-8)

    Cole, Brock. The Goats. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987. 184 pages. Age 12 and older

    Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost. Philomel/ Penguin, 2014. 288 pages. Ages 9-12

    Grimes, Nikki. Garvey's Choice. WordSong / Highlights, 2016. 108 pages. Ages 9-12

    Hale, Shannon. Real Friends. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. First Second, 2017. 211 pages. Ages 8-12

    Howe, James . Totally Joe. Ginee Seo Books / Atheneum, 2005. 189 pages. Ages 10-14

    Huser, Glen. Stitches. Groundwood / Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. 198 pages. Ages 12 - 15

    Kelly, Erin Entrada. Blackbird Fly. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2015. 296 pages. Ages 10–13

    Koyczan, Shane. To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful. Annick Press, 2014. 70 pages. Ages 10 and Older

    Levine, Ellen . Catch a Tiger by the Toe. Viking, 2005. 200 pages. Ages 9-12

    Polonsky, Ami. Gracefully Grayson. Disney Hyperion, 2014. 243 pages. Ages 10-13

    Yee, Lisa. Warp Speed. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc, 2011. 310 pages. Ages 10-14

From the Perspective of the Aggressor (Grades 4-8)

    Blume, Judy. Blubber. Antheneum, 1974. 153 pages.

From the Perspective of the Observer (Grades 4-8)

    Holt, Kimberly Willis. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. Henry Holt, 1999. 227 pages. Ages 11-14

    Kornblatt, Marc. Understanding Buddy. Margaret K. McElderry, 2001. 113 pages. Ages 9 - 12

    Spinelli, Jerry. Loser. Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, 2002. 218 pages. Ages 9 - 12

From Multiple Perspectives (Grades 4-8)

    McKay, Hilary. Indigo's Star. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004. 265 pages. Ages 10-14

    Frost, Helen. Spinning Through the Universe: a Novel in Poems from Room 214. Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. 93 pages. Ages 10-13

    Howe, James . The Misfits. Atheneum, 2001. 288 pages.

    Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello, Universe. Greenwillow, 2017. 313 pages. Ages 8–12

    Wilhelm, Doug. The Revealers. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. 207 pages.

Being Different (Grades 4-8)

    Cassidy, Sara. A Boy Named Queen. Groundwood, 2016. 77 pages. Ages 7-10

    Creech, Sharon. Bloomability. Joanna Cotler Books / HarperCollins, 1998. 273 pages. Ages 9 - 14

    Draper, Sharon. Out of My Mind. Simon & Schuster, 2010. 295 pages. Ages 10-13

    Engle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. Atheneum, 2015. 192 pages. Age 11 and older

    Frazier, Sundee T.. The Other Half of My Heart. Delacorte Press, 2010. 296 pages. Ages 10-13

    Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Scholastic, 2010. 213 pages. Ages 10-14

    Tolan, Stephanie. Surviving the Applewhites. HarperCollins, 2002. 216 pages. Ages 11-14

    Walliams, David. The Boy in the Dress. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. U.S. edition: Razorbill, 2009. 240 pages. Ages 9 - 13

From the Perspective of the Target (Grades 9-12)

    Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. 197 pages. Age 14 and older

    Erlings, Fridrik. Fish in the Sky. Translated by Translated from the Icelandic by the author. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2012. 288 pages. Ages 12-14

    Gansworth, Eric. If I Ever Get Out of Here. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2013. 359 pages. Age 11 and older

    Marino, Peter . Dough Boy. Holiday House, 2005. 221 pages. Ages 12-15

    Quintero, Isabel. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces. Cinco Puntos Press, 2014. 284 pages. Age 14 and older

    St. James, James. Freak Show. Dutton, 2007. 298 pages. Age 13 and older

From the Perspective of the Observer (Grades 9-12)

    Peters, Julie Anne. Luna. Megan Tingley Books / Little Brown, 2004. 247 pages. Ages 14-17

    Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl. Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. 186 pages. Ages 12 - 16

    Trueman, Terry. 7 Days at the Hot Corner. HarperTempest / HarperCollins, 2007. 150 pages. Ages 12 and older

From Multiple Perspectives (Grades 9-12)

    . Violent Ends. Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster, 2015. 338 pages. Age 13 and older

    Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. Pantheon/Knopf, 1974.

    Koss, Amy Goldman. The Girls. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2000.

    Shusterman, Neal. Bruiser. HarperCollins, 2010. 328 pages. Age 14 and older

    Walter, Virginia. Making Up Megaboy. Illustrated by Katrina Roeckelein. DK Ink, 1998. 62 pages. Ages 12 - 16

    Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. First Second, 2006. 233 pages. Age 13 and older

Being Different (Grades 9-12)

    Johnson, Harriet McBryde. Accidents of Nature. Henry Holt, 2006. 229 pages. Age 14 and older

    LaRochelle, David. Absolutely, Positively, Not . . .. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press, 2005. 224 pages. Ages 12 and older

This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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