Bullying represents a power imbalance. It is different from the usual pranking and light jokes between groups of people. It is therefore essential that parents, colleagues, friends and family observe and understand signals that might be hinting at an individual being bullied or harassed at school, college, workplace or any other such place. While stories about bullying are heart-wrenching and emotionally intense, it is essential that we read them and share them, in order to better equip ourselves with the understanding of the phenomenon. Here is a list of books about bullying that all of us need to read!
Based on the author’s true experiences, ‘Inside Out and Back Again’ is a verse novel about a ten year old girl named Kim Ha, who is forced to leave Saigon with her family and relocate to the United States. Ha who has loved Saigon and its warmth is suddenly pushed into a world that is infinitely different from what she has experienced all her life. Ha faces bullying in Alabama, so much so that she wishes to live in a war torn Saigon than in a peacefully safe Alabama. With some family support and the kindness of her neighbour, Ha manages to push through the difficulties, as a refugee.
Set in Omaha, Nebraska, Rowell’s novel ‘Eleanor and Park’ is a must among books to read. The story alternates between Eleanor and Park and takes place over the years 1986 and 1987. Eleanor is a tenth grade student and has recently transferred into a new high school. With her red hair, unusual dressing style and overall appearance, she is different from the girls in her class. Everyone treats her in an unfair manner. Park, with his different facial features, also faces discrimination at school. These two misfits find each other and a deep friendship and trust develops between them with time. Unlike every other high school love story, Eleanor and Park’s love is not just cute and adorable, it is instead life-changing and essential. With references from the books and music of the 80’s, this one is a truly enjoyable read.
Another insightful book on the subject of bullying, this novel by Meg Medina revolves around the life of a Latina teen who is bullied at her new school. Piddy Sanchez is told one day by some girl at her school that she should beware of Yaqui Delgado. Piddy who has never seen or heard of Yaqui, is confused as to why someone she doesn’t even know would want to cause any harm to her. Piddy who is trying to find out about her father and is busy with a part time job at a hair salon, is thoroughly confused about Yaqui Delgado. When faced with Yaqui’s group, Piddy cannot just keep hiding or running away to save herself. It is time that she decides to take a concrete action. This award winning young adult novel is a beautifully courageous take on the subject of bullying at school.
When his classmate and the girl he secretly likes, Hannah Baker commits suicide, high school teen Clay Jensen is left baffled, speechless and hurt. He receives a shoebox with seven cassette tapes in it, with each side of each tape marked from one to thirteen. When Clay starts listening to the tapes, his world turns upside down as the tapes reveal the thirteen reasons that forced and pushed Hannah to take her life and each reason points at a person Clay knows from school, he himself being one. A tumultuous heart-breaking story of love, loss and the brutality of high school bullying, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher leaves its readers with several powerful thought-provoking messages, laced throughout the story.
A tale of kindness, self-acceptance and courage, Wonder is both beautiful and genuine in its approach. Auggie Pullman has been home schooled for some time and is ready to be sent to school as a fifth-grader. Auggie, born with facial anomalies has had to undergo 27 surgeries and is discriminated and teased because he looks different than the others. But despite the hate he faces, Auggie is a charming little boy who is smart and funny. His father is genuinely afraid how Auggie will deal with the kids at his new school, but is also aware of the fact that his son is a brave boy. Auggie who will never look normal, like the other kids of his age, owing to his facial anomaly, has a whole new world to face at Beecher Prep, his new school.
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