Five Stories to Encourage Friendship In Your Classroom (Anti-Bullying Week 11th - 15th Nov)
In the last 12 months, 40% of young people will have been bullied.
From name-calling to physical altercations, bullying is far from a new phenomenon – but that doesn’t mean we should regard it as ‘part of growing up’.
Anti-Bullying Week will be taking place from Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Change Starts with Us’, which focuses on the collective responsibility to end bullying.
Bullying behaviour can be displayed by children as young as three, so it’s likely you will have seen some examples of this in your classroom – and no doubt tried your best to put a stop to it.
As we all know, prevention is often better than cure. Influencing your class to be more compassionate and understanding towards their peers – no matter how different – is a valuable use of lesson time, and literacy in particular can be a powerful advocate.
To help your pupils understand the implications of bullying behaviour, as well as how to prevent it, we’ve made a shortlist of our five favourite books to encourage friendship in your classroom.
Something Else, by Kathryn Cave
Something Else is a bit different.
He doesn’t eat the same food as the others or play the same games – he even draws different pictures.
One day, he meets Something – and Something would like to be friends. However, Something and Something Else are still rather different to each other – and Something Else would rather not be friends with somebody even more strange.
Soon, Something Else realises that the way the other children treat him is much the same as his treatment of Something. So, he puts their differences aside so that their friendship can blossom.
The Bully Blockers Club, by Teresa Bateman
If we all stood up to bullies, would they even exist?
In ‘The Bully Blockers Club’, Lotty shows her classmates that there’s great power in numbers and encourages her peers to stand up to the class bully as a group – rather than making themselves invisible and letting bullying continue.
Small Things, by Mel Tregonning
Small worries can become very big worries when they all start to combine – and they often don’t feel small to the person experiencing them.
Bullied at school, concerned about keeping up in lessons and generally feeling very different to the other children, the protagonist in ‘Small Things’ feels like he’ll never be able to overcome all of his worries. There’s just too many.
Luckily, he has a kind older sister and parents, as well as a new friend at school – all of which help him to put his worries into perspective and combat them.
The Muslims, by Zanib Mian
A charming story that will appeal to a wider audience than perhaps assumed, ‘The Muslims’ follows Omar – an ordinary boy from an ordinary family, which just happens to be of Islamic faith.
Although he experiences challenges at his new school – particularly in the form of a school bully – Omar isn’t defined by the prejudice he experiences. In fact, the story is both a light and funny way to approach the more serious subjects surrounding difference.
Bad Girls, by Jacqueline Wilson
Ten-year-old Mandy is bullied by three ‘popular’ girls in her class. One such bully, awkwardly enough, is Melanie – who used to be Mandy’s best friend and, of course, knows all of her secrets as a result.
After befriending Tanya, an older girl who is being fostered by a neighbour, Mandy learns to stick up for herself – but not at the expense of her kind nature.
Literature can be an invaluable tool when it comes to helping children understand complex and emotional topics. In order to access the wider subject of writing and express creative ideas with greater ease, just introduce your class to Mighty Writer.
A unique literacy resource which uses tactile methods to tackle the challenge, Mighty Writer teaches children the essential fundamentals of writing in a fun and engaging way.
 Vlachou, M., Andreou, E., Botsoglou, K., & Didakalou, E., (2011). Bully/victim problems among preschool children: a review of current research evidence Educational Psychology Review. 23(3). 329.