Bullying, a constant issue in schools, has many different faces. Recent books offer complex views that can help parents and teachers through difficult conversations.
Scott Magoon’s illustrations show his scowl, threatening raised fist and the fearful expressions of those around him. But what’s a bully to do when he finds a “tiny, fuzzy bunny” in the trunk of his car when “big, mean dogs and tiny cute bunnies did not go together?”
Despite his best bunny-removal efforts, they multiply, and so do his confusing feelings as he softens. Big Mean Mike finds resolution when he admits his bunny bond to his bullying buddies and asks, “Any of you got a problem with that?” Is he a bully or not?
Everything changes when Abby is bitten by a mystical fox who gives her an “oddly giddy” feeling and Abby ventures beyond her familiar surroundings to make friends with a boy whose father suffers from PTSD. All subplots link, but the most poignant is the bullying and Abby’s change from self-loathing to understanding her worth.
When sixth-grader Eric Haskins is labeled “the Grunt” and becomes the object of the organized bullying of his entire class, he pursues a journey of discovery voiced through his journal entries and pages of the bullying manual written by a former sixth-grader.