Reading opens your imagination and introduces people to new worlds. With so many choices available, how do you know which book to choose for your child? To find out, we bypassed the publishing, the PR firms, and the mainstream media and went straight to the experts: Your Harris County Librarians!
Toddlers (Ages 1-3)
Billy Bully: A School-Yard Counting Tale
by Alvaro & Ana Galan
In this funny counting book, Billy Bully learns what it means to be a good friend. As Billy Bully does one rotten thing after another, his friends dwindle to zero. With a little effort, Billy Bully realizes that a real friend doesn’t think only of himself. Kids will love to count down and, most importantly, back up, as Billy Bully makes it up to his friends, and gets the whole gang back together!
Arlo Makes a Friend
by Wendy Wax
Even though the burrow where Arlo’s family now lives is cozy and comfy, he’s lonely without anyone to play with. Even worse, his first journey into the neighborhood forest doesn’t go too well. First, a mean snake keeps pelting him with mangoes. Then, as Arlo’s digging an underground hide-out to avoid getting hit, he has a run-in with a very bossy rabbit named Jack. But when the snake threatens them both, Arlo and Jack realize that maybe two are better than one, and a brand-new friendship is born.
Hugo and the Bully Frogs
by Francesca Simon
Poor Hugo! What can one small frog with a squeaky little croak do against a big, bad gang of bullies? Every animal has a suggestion about how he can defend himself, but Hugo is just too timid to do anything. Then bossy Duck comes by with an answer and the next time the Bullyfrogs appear, they meet quite a different Hugo.
Picture Books (PreK-K)
The Recess Queen
by Alexis O’Neill
Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced. If kids ever crossed her, she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, lollapaloosh ’em, hammer ’em, slammer ’em, kitz and kajammer ’em. Until a new kid came to school! With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.
by Liz Rosenberg
Tobias’ father is a lot like other fathers—he likes corny jokes and doing magic tricks, and works really hard at the office. But there the resemblance ends. He has teeth as sharp as steak knives, is forty feet high, and weighs as much as a locomotive. He is, in fact, a tyrannosaurus. This funny and poignant story about a kid trying to get his dad to pay attention has a fabulous payoff, when Dad shows up and saves the day during a Field Day baseball game; when a tyrannosaurus decides to ump, no one dares disagrees with his calls!
Arthur and the Meanies
by Jan Fearnley
How do you play with an elephant? Well, if you’re Tiger, Cheetah, Monkey and Peacock, you don’t. Tiger growls that Arthur is too heavy for hopping, and Cheetah is very unkind when Arthur asks to hold the string on his beautiful new kite. But when it starts to rain, suddenly everybody wants to be Arthur’s friend—as long as he will do as he’s told and shelter them from the storm. This is a beautifully crafted picture book that is complete with a gentle and satisfying moral.
Early Readers (Grades 1-3)
Amelia Takes Command
by Marissa Moss
Amelia’s notebooks entertain readers with great stories about the ups and downs of growing up, told from the perspective of an inquisitive, insightful 10-year-old girl. Amelia escapes a classroom bully when she heads off to Space Camp with her friend Nadia. But she discovers that there are bullies in outer space, too.
The Annoying Team
by Ilene Cooper
Tim has a big problem. A big, tall problem named Jon. Jon always teases Tim. Then Tim gets the idea to start the Annoying Team. With the help of other kids who hate being picked on, Tim can bug Jon back. But will being annoying ever get… annoying?
Is it Because?
by Tony Ross
In a simply-told rhyming tale, a little boy asks his pet dog why a bully is picking on him. “Is it because he’s got silly names? Is it because he’s no good at games?” After asking many more “is it because” questions, the little boy finally concludes, “Perhaps it’s because he’d rather be me!” Here is food for thought, told in a style that will appeal to young readers.
Children’s Fiction (Grades 4-6)
101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies
by Lee Wardlaw
Middle-schooler Steve “Sneeze” Wyatt takes half of his classes at the high school, where he attracts the attention of a bully on the varsity golf team, while at middle school all of his friends seem to be falling in love—including Sneeze himself.
Riley Mack and Other Known Troublemakers
by Chris Grabenstein
What do you get when you add up 1 middle-school bully, 2 bank robbers, 57 dogs in peril, 4,000 missing dollars and 5 daring troublemakers led by the one and only Riley Mack? One crazy caper! In this merry, mischievous romp, master storyteller Chris Grabenstein introduces Riley Mack, a twelve-year-old hometown hero you’ll never forget.
Mitch and Amy
by Beverly Cleary
Mitch and Amy both think being twins is fun, but that doesn’t stop them from squabbling. Amy is good at reading. Mitch is a math whiz. Amy likes to play pretend. Mitch would rather skateboard. They never want to watch the same television show. And they always try to get the better of each other. Then the school bully starts picking on Mitch—and on Amy, too. Now the twins have something rotten in common: Alan Hibbler. This twosome must set aside their squabbles and band together to defeat a bully!
Teen Fiction (Ages 12 & up)
The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
Stunned by his mother’s recent death and appalled by the way his father sleepwalks through life, Jerry Renault, a New England high school student, ponders the poster in his locker: “Do I dare disturb the universe?” Part of his universe is Archie Costello, leader of a secret school society, the Virgils, and master of intimidation. Archie himself is intimidated by a cool, ambitious teacher into having the Virgils spearhead the annual fund-raising event: a chocolate sale. When Jerry refuses to be bullied into selling chocolates, he becomes a hero, but his defiance is a threat to Archie, the Virgils, and the school. In the inevitable showdown, Archie’s skill at intimidation turns Jerry from hero to outcast to victim, leaving him alone and terribly vulnerable.
Everybody Sees the Ants
by A.S. King
Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their family is fine. And he certainly didn’t ask to be the recipient of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far. Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the daily dysfunction of his life. Grandad Harry, trapped in the jungles of Laos, has been visiting Lucky in his dreams—and the dreams just might be real: an alternate reality where he can be whoever he wants to be and his life might still be worth living. But how long can Lucky remain in hiding there before reality forces its way inside?
Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance
edited by Rhoda Belleza
This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred. This collection features some of the hottest voices in YA literature, both bestselling and on the rise.