Do It With Kindness

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The time to empower our children to stand up against bullying by challenging hate with kindness-is now. The amount of constant turmoil our world has been facing is exhausting to keep up with, consequently though we’ve been given a golden opportunity to raise kids who have the power to change it.

This month, Ventura County Mom Collective will be recognizing National Bullying Prevention Awareness month in an effort to help raise awareness on the issues and long-term effects of bullying. Our mission is to help promote a new generation built on kindness.Talking to our kids at home about what this month means is something that everyone can do, on any day. But now more than ever, the conversation deserves to get deeper.

A Book Can Change a Heart

Mean people, yucky feelings, and hurtful words are inevitable. There’s really no way we can protect our children from bullies, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be mentally and emotionally equipped for them. The world we grew up in and the one that we are making for our kids today are very different, it’s not just technology or non-dairy milk that’s changing, it’s the values that we as parents are currently teaching our children.

 As an effort to help cultivate compassion, we have compiled a list of anti-bullying children’s books that address teasing, friendships, self-esteem, and more. We believe reading books to children holds a special power in helping children see the world from different angles. Books serve not only as an effective tool when covering the topic on bullying but also by identifying with the characters who are also dealing with these similar strong emotions.

So look no more, here are 10 must-have titles that cover school bullies, the importance of spreading kindness, and empathy.  We hope you enjoy reading the books together with your kids for National Bullying Prevention Month.

Happy reading!

Books for ages 4-6

‘The Bad Seed’ by Jory John

This one is a favorite in our home. My five year old son and I love to over exaggerate the parts that say “baaaaaaaad seeeeeeed”. The book reveals a deeper message about how judging others without understanding their full background is extremely damaging to the individual. Plus, the illustrations are super cute!

‘We don’t eat our classmates’ by Ryan T Higgens

I fell in love with this one because of its diverse representation shown on every page.  It’s a simple story that is based on the “golden rule”, treat others the way you want to be treated. Overall, it’s a really cute book that makes kids want to talk about the differences between emotional pain and physical pain.

‘Stick and Stone’ by Beth Furry

We probably read this at least 5 times a week. It’s even BETTER if you add your own props and act out the story together. It’s a great book that discusses inclusion, the power of friendship and the importance of forgiveness in sweet and simple illustrations.

Books for ages 7-9

‘I walk with Vanessa’ by Kerascoët

I was not expecting this to be a wordless picture book, but the illustrations alone are able to take readers on an emotional journey of two very different characters. I especially appreciated the way the book underlined the differences between telling and tattling on your peers–“Telling is to get someone out of trouble. Tattling is to get someone in trouble”.

‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein

Some people say that this particular book is “controversial” and promotes greed or selfishness. In all honesty, I think it’s about how some friendships can be one ended relationships that only serve to benefit one person. It’s a tough and ugly lesson for a child to learn, but this book does a fantastic job at explaining that giving is a two way experience.

‘Most People’ by Michael Leannah

The story has a beautiful message and is paired with gorgeous illustrations that invites children to think outside of the box. It’s definitely a conversation starter! This book would be great to read to your child who is starting to get curious about what’s on the news or any current events going on in the world. We all know how depressing the media can be, for this reason the author does a wonderful job of countering that by letting children know that MOST people are good and not bad at all.

Books for ages 10-13

‘Wishtree’ by Katherine Applegate

This story is told from the perspective of a 216 year-old oak tree named Red who covers lessons on inclusion, diversity, and love. “Wishtree” is a great, small chapter book to leave on your child’s bed after a rough day at school, it’s super easy to finish in one day. If you have a middle schooler who enjoys a quiet, thoughtful book that moves a little more slowly to allow for thinking, then this will be a great fit for them.

‘Stargirl’ by Jerry Spinelli

Just like Stargirl herself, this is a very different type of story. She’s a free spirit who cares deeply about everyone else. But according to everyone else, there is something very wrong with her. This is a great book for middle school or even a high school student who needs a little reminder on “just being yourself” It’s theme mainly focuses on non-conformity and individuality, another simple + short chapter book for your older baby.

This book is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature and it was nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. It’s a well-paced, thought-provoking novel that’s great for the stronger readers. WARNING: It does contain some domestic violence details, so read on cautiously for children who may have suffered this themselves or are not mature enough to mentally process this.

 

‘Restart’ by Gordon Korman

This book has a little bit of everything! There’s mystery, suspense, and a main character who undergoes a major life-changing transformation. It’s fast paced, clever, empathetic, and reveals a deeper message – it’s never too late to become the person you want to be. “Restart” touches on bullying issues and focuses on stereotyping in a captivating page-turning and thoughtful way. A fantastic book to inspire kindness.

No act of kindness,
no matter how small,
is ever wasted.
– Aesop

 

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Gabriella is a natural born sharer. She believes life is about storytelling and the responsibility that we all share to provide a truthful lens so we can all find deep connections with each other. Gabi absolutely loves being a boy mom and sharing all things about motherhood. She feels incredibly honored to be the co-creator of two small humans, Samuel and Mateo, with her best friend/husband, Albert. FUN FACT: Gabi met her husband in jail! You're gonna want to ask her about that story! A Ventura County native all her life, she has lived in Ventura, Santa Paula, and most recently in Fillmore with her three boys and two cats. She considers herself a true California girl. Gabi has always worked and valued her independence. She attended Moorpark Community College, and received her degree in Organizational Communications and minored in visual media. Being outspoken is something Gabi has always been most proud about, especially when it comes to women’s rights. In her various social media platforms, Gabi wholeheartedly shares her best and worst moments as a stay at home mom, wife, and as a millennial woman living in today’s world. She is a firm believer in sprinkling f-bombs, transparency, and showing young moms how to not take themselves so seriously. She also shares everyday, cool mom tips and can TikTok like nobody’s business. Gabi loves a good pair of mom jeans and a funky headband. She’s a good friend, and will love your authentic self fiercely. Warning: immediately following her on instagram will provoke a strong desire to make life’s messiest moments picture perfect. She’s definitely the mom bestie of the group.

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