SEL Summer Reading Series: Bystander Power

Today we will be looking at SEL books that have a focus on building active bystanders in students. A bystander, for this purpose, is anyone who knows that bullying is happening. Bystander Power is when someone takes action against bullying behaviors.

Our first book is for adults and it discusses how to use empathy and character education to combat bullying behaviors. “Emily Bazelon’s intelligent, rigorous “Sticks and Stones” charts the experiences of a few bullied children and synthesizes the scholarship on how to contain or prevent such harm” (NY Times Review).

sticks and stones

Another great book for adults is, ‘Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls‘ by Rachel Simmons. This is a groundbreaking book that was one of the first to identify and acknowledge the dynamics of relational aggression that is often seen in girls. The newest edition of this book shares great strategies for managing these social interactions in person and online.

Odd Girl out
Now let’s look at some books for kids that can help build active bystanders and encourage prosocial behaviors.  ‘My Secret Bully’ by Trudy Ludwig is a helpful book for students to get them talking about relational aggression.  This book tells the story of Monica who is being excluded by her friend Kate. This book opens up the conversation about how to handle being excluded and how to be an active bystander.

My Secret Bully

‘Mr. Peabody’s Apples’ by Madonna is another children’s book that can help prevent bullying behaviors, in particular, gossiping. This book illustrates a beautiful metaphor demonstrating the power our words can have.

Mr Peabody's Apples

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What are your favorite books about bystander power and addressing bullying? Please share with us in the comment section below!

Happy Reading 🙂

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