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Annotated Bibliography of Books by Category

Being Different / Being New / Why Me?

Level identifier in parentheses at end of descriptions
PB – picture book,
I – intermediate (most can be read to primary),
M – middle school,
H – high school.

book cover How The Moon Regained Her Shape by Ben Hodson

ArbordalePublishing.com, 2006. Moon loves her work as each night she gets to glow. Bullied by the egotistical Sun, Moon fades so much that her friend, a comet, tells her to seek out Round Arms, an earth woman who will help her. As this is an original story, it cannot be categorized as folklore.

 

book cover Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

HarperCollins, 2010. Targeted Doug Lee is not enjoying his teen years all that much, and then he is bitten by a vampire. Now he will be fat and fifteen for eternity. M/H

 

book cover No Ordinary Day by Adam Rex

Groundwood Books, 2011. Living on the streets in Kolkata, India, Valli survives as well as she can. One day she sees "the monsters," people suffering from Leprosy, and their misshaped, marked bodies scare her. What Valli ignore is that the loss of feeling in her feet, which are also covered with festering sores, cuts, and caked with dirt--signs of Leprosy. Grades 4, 5, 6.

 

book cover Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ten-year-old August was born with genetic facial abnormalities that have not been changed much after more than ten surgeries which caused him to be home school. For fifth grade, his mother thinks he need to be part of public school. There will always be good kids and bad kids, Auggie is a good one who converts many of the others. Grades 4, 5, 6.

 

book cover Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Bloomsbury, 2012. Jason gets called Freak because he is schizophrenic, Derrick is called Drip because his nose drips all the time partly from his meds, and then there is Sunshine who never talks but Jason understands her perfectly. When she goes missing and is possibly dead, Jason knows better and believes he and Derrick can find their best friend once they figure out the clues, but the police believe these two freaks are part of the crime. M/H

 

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Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen. Life is hard for Sam who has Tourette syndrome and an abusive, hate-filled stepfather who rules Sam’s mom and lies about Sam’s father. After his high school graduation, Sam leaves and takes a job with a crusty old landscaper who knew his father and who enables Sam to take a trip to discover the truth about himself and his dad. For Middle School and High School. An odyssey book. Puffin, 2008. (MH)

book cover Fire Girl by Tony Abbott

Little, Brown, 2006. One day, Tom Bender's teacher announces a new student will be joining their class-but she wants the class to know that Jessica has been badly burned and will receive treatment at their local hospital. Tom watches as everyone stares and then ignores Jessica. Some even make up rumors about her burns. (M)

 

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Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn William & Khadra Mohammad. Illustrated by Doug Chayka. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007. In a refugee camp in Pakistan, the relief workers are handing out clothes and two young girls each find one yellow sandal with a blue flower in the middle. Lina and Feroza believe they can build a friendship by sharing on pair of shoes. (PB)

book cover How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston

Little, Brown, 2001. Eighth-grader Kacey Simon is the "it" girl in her middle school--pretty, confident, intelligent, the student broadcast journalist of the school's tv network, and the leader of her group of four who she rules with what SHE calls honesty. Then in a 24 hour period, she has to return to her glasses and get braces, but as she falls from stardom a couple of good friends help her sort out what is important. (M)

 

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Is It Because? by Tony Ross. Barron’s, 2005. Questions plague the narrator as he tries to figure out why Wally Wormhead bullies him. (PB)

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Igor, the Bird Who Couldn't Sing by Stoski Kitamura. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005. No one around appreciates Igor's singing, so he leaves and wanders until he discovers a friend who will sing with him. (PB)

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Jag by LeAnn Rimes, illustrated by Richard Bernal. A.Byron Preiss Book / Dutton Children's Books, 2003. Jag is afraid of water and she is also afraid of how the other young jaguars will react to her secret. (PB)

book cover Jake's Best Thumb by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz

Jakes exists quite well with one thumb in his mouth and one thumb handling the tasks in his world. When people ask him when he will stop sucking his thumb, he says, "Not for a while." But then he starts kindergarten and Cliff loudly labels Jake a "thumb sucker." Slowly everyone's special security is discovered-Jake has his thumb, Nell has her little stuffed cat, Kitty Harold, and even Cliff has a scrap of his blankie. The book ends with each child deciding the next day s/he would go to school without her/his bit of security.

I like that people didn't ignore Jake's thumb sucking but he was given the space to decide when he did not need it, He was probably only 5. Everyone has a special bit of security, some bits are more visible that others. Dutton Children's Books, 2008. P/B

 

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Jungle Drums by Graeme Base. Harry N. Abrams, 2004. Ngiri, the smallest of the warthogs, knows no one respects the warthogs, that is not until he plays the magic drum and changes everything. (PB)

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King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, illustrated by Nola Langner Malone. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1994. Kevin has to deal with Sammy who calls himself the” King” of the playground, but Kevin’s dad asks him all the right questions to handle Sammy. (PB)

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Lissy's Friends by Grace Lin. Viking, 2007. Lissy is the shy new girl at school and the other kids ignore her. At lunch, as she sits by herself, Lissy makes an origami crane to keep her company, and soon her many paper friends connect her to human friends. (PB)

book cover Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Little, Brown, 2011. Sixth-grader Rafe has a buddy who wants to help Rafe change his reputation or perhaps get one by breaking every rule in the school's rule book. Rafe ends up in more trouble than he knew possible. (M)

 

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My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Barbara Kiwak. Boyds Mills Press, 2005. Bilal and his sister Ayesha move to a new school where they are harassed because they are Muslim. (PB)

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Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story About Bullying by Becky Ray, illustrated by Todd Leonardo. Morton Grove, IL Albert Whitman & Company, 2001. Ray, a new student, gets harassed by a group of boys even though other students try to shield, but after hearing the bullies' latest plans for Ray, the narrator goes to their teacher. (PB)

book cover Not So Tall For Six by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrator Frank W. Dormer

Kylie Bell is the "not-so-tallest one in the first grade," but she handles it really well even when the new bully boy, Rusty, lurks over her. In her mind Kylie Bell is "brave and smart and big at heart" and even Rusty cannot resist and becomes a friend.

Kids with such a strong self-concept rarely stay a target for long. What I love about this story is readers will understand that being short is not a deficit, and new kids can be won over. Charlesbridge, 2010. P/B

 

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The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Doris Ettlinger. Sleeping Bear Press, 2007. Until her family can afford school shoes, Delly Porter is happy walking barefoot to school, but Prudy Winfield tells Delly her toes will fall off and she is just going to get "dumber and poorer." Then there is a class project that will identify each student by his or her shoes. (PB)

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Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow. Putnam, 2001. Molly Lou is the tiniest child ever, but her grandmother taught her to believe in herself. When she transfers to a new school this giant-sized spirit makes friends with everyone, even the school bully. (PB)

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Trouble for Trudy by Terry Slater, illustrated by Sally Springer. Scholastic, 2007. Trudy is comfortable with her orange hair and unique sense of style, and so is her friend Annie, but when the other kids pick on Trudy, Annie steps away. This book has a teacher's guide in the back that helps kids think about what they could do to help a friend. (PB)

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Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. This classic story shows the struggles of a young duckling who is outcast by those who raised him, but then grows up to be a beautiful swan. (PB)

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Wings by Christopher Myers. Scholastic Press, 2000. Everyone thinks Ikarus Jackson’s wings are ugly except for one quiet girl who finds her voice to tell Ikarus his wings are beautiful. (PB)

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Looking For X by Deborah Ellis. Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, 1999. Eleven-year old Khyber is smart, adventurous, strong, and lives in a very poor neighborhood with her mom and two brothers, David and Daniel who both have autism. (I)

book cover Monster High by Lisi Harrison.

Told in the voices of Melody Carver and Frankie Stein, both girls are new to the school but do not meet until late in the book. Melody, her mom, dad, and older sister, move to Oregon because of Melody's asthma. Frankie, daughter of Victor and Victoria Stein, was just created last week-by her father, Dr. Stein. In this area of Oregon, monsters are feared and Monster sightings are broadcast regularly. Quirky and funny while mirroring teen life. Poppy/Little Brown, 2010 (M/H)

 

 

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The Gold-Threaded Dress by Carolyn Marsden. Candlewick Press, 2002. Although Oy is from Thailand, the students in her fourth-grade class call her Chinita, Spanish for little Chinese. What she wants most is to be accepted by Lilianda and invited to her club house, and if Oy brings her traditional Thai dress to school that might happen. (I)

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Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies by Jill Wolfson. Henry Holt, 2006. Eleven-year-old Whitney is on her way to her twelfth foster home in northern California and arrives with her survival rules in place. "Number one: Aim for immediate high noticeability." She explans "Don't wait for them to sneak up and ambush you. They're going to call you a weirdo anyways, so be THE weirdo. Be it proudly."(50) (I)

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Junebug and the Reverend by Alice Mead. Random House, 1998. When his mother gets a new job as Resident Supervisor of a senior citizen apartment building, Junebug and his family move out of the projects. At a new school with new bullies, Junebug has to adjust.(I/M)

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Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. HarperCollins, 1990. Jeffrey Lionel Magee loses his parents when he is three years old and spends the rest of his life looking for a home. (I/M)

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The Shorty Society by Sheri Cooper Sinykin, Penguin Books, 1994. Seventh grade brings many changes for Drew Minardi, and one is particularly hard to accept, his best friend Danny Greeson, is now five inches taller and spends most of his time bullying Drew about being short. (I/M)

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The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake. Jump At The Sun/Hyperion, 2000. Because Maleeka has dark-black skin, the other kids torment her. Miss Saunders, the new English teacher, has a white mark over half her face. Mean-spirited Charlese doesn’t let up on either of them. (I/M)

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Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell. New York: Hyperion Books, 2006. Fifth grader Paris starts an Extreme Readers Club at school, takes piano lessons from Mrs. Rosen, a Jewish Neighbor who survived the concentration camps of World War II, and has four older brothers, one of which gets bullied by a girl in Paris' class. This is a wonderful book and is very rich in characters and content (I/M)

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Charlie's Story by Maeve Friel. Peachtree Publishers, 1997. Charlie was abandoned by her mother at age four. Ten years later the cruelty of her classmates who bully her because of that abandonment nearly causes Charlie to end her life. (M)

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Egghead by Caroline Pignat. Red Deer Press, 2008. This book clearly presents the feelings of the target, Will; the bystander, his friend Kate, and the bully's thug, Devan, as they find a way to become friends(M).

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The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003. Russell, Elliot, and Catalina have nowhere to go for help with the harassment each is enduring, until they band together and tell their side on the school's KidNet. (M)

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Standing Against the Wind by Traci L. Jones. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Patrice Williams’ southern ways are no match for the tough kids in her new Chicago middle school, where she gets called Puffy because of her unruly hair, but Monty sees more in her and the two start a friendship that will not only help them survive but also flourish. (M)

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The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez by Judy Goldschmidt. Penguin Young Readers Group, 2005. Raisin and her little sister move from Los Angeles to Philidelphia after their mom remarries. In a blog for her friends in LA, Raisin shares her many uncomfortable and sometimes painful experiences, and of course, the blog gets spread throughout the entire seventh grade.(M)

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Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja. Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. Justin doesn’t plan on befriending the weird new kid who calls himself Jensen, but after seeing how others at wealthy Edward Rucher High School treat this newcomer with a shaven head, kind smile, and gentle ways, Justin can’t go along with the crowd. (M/H)

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Drowning Anna by Sue Mayfield. Hyperion, 2002. Thirteen-year-old Anna Goldsmith moves to a town and a new school where Hayley chooses Anna to be her new best friend, and then Hayley drops Anna. Told in flashbacks after Anna has tried to kill herself, this book weaves together Anna’s journal, her mother’s bedside hospital watch, and the reflections of her friend, Melanie. (M/H)

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Fade to Black by Alex Flinn. HarperCollins, 2005. Alex is HIV positive and while sitting at a red light, someone attacks his pickup with a baseball bat and smashes in all the windows. Clinton, who has a history of harassing Alex because of his AIDS, is charged. (M/H)

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On the Fringe edited by Donald R. Gallo, Dial, 2001. Each story in this collection focuses on teens that are on the fringe of acceptance. (M/H)

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Queen of the Toliet Bowl by Frieda Wishinsky. Victoria, BC, Canada: Orca Soundings / Orca Book Publishing, 2005. Renata's mother works hard cleaning houses as the sole family support since the father died. At her new elite school in the United States, Renata keeps a low profile, but still becomes a target for cruel cyberbullying. (M/H)

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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Random House, 2000. A new student named Stargirl celebrates her uniqueness in eccentric ways that stun the students of Mica High School. (M/H)

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The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg. MINX/DC Comics, 2007. New to the school, Jane looks for new friends outside of the inner circle and finds a group of Janes interested in art. Graphic Novel (M/H)

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Alt Ed by Catherine Atkins. B. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003. Ninth-grader Susan Calloway has gained weight since her mother died. At school though nearly invisible, she has managed to be assigned to a suspension alternative with five other students. One is Kale, the biggest bully in school and another is the Brendan, who is perceived to be gay and Kale’s main target. (H)

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Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. New York: Hyperion, 2008. A strange phenomenon has been added to the usual crazis of Oakdale High School - some teens who have died, have come back to life. Seniors Adam Layman, the biggest guy on the football team, and Phoebe Kindall, his best friend and neighbor, are more open minded about accepting these students than many others. When Tommy Williams, a dead kid, tries out for football the head coach puts out a hit on him! The prejudice in the school and community parallels all the real life prejudice that exists against minorities. A great book for discussion. (H)

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I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott. Putnam, 2005. Annisa moved to Sand Dune, Florida, and is the only brunette at school. When two cheerleaders get kicked off the team for alcohol use, Annisa tries out not realizing the rest of the squad believe Annisa turned the two in. (H)

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Nailed by Patrick Jones. Walker Books/Bloomsbury, 2006. Bret Hendricks will not conform which gets him a girlfriend but also gets him in trouble at school and with his dad, who understands him more than Bret ever could have guessed. (H)

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Quaking by Kathryn Erskine. Philomel Books, 2007. Matt (Matilda) has learned to survive as a foster kid and tries to just lookout for herself, but then she is placed in a new foster home with a loving Quaker family. When the school bully starts attacking them as well as herself, she discovers a new inner strength. (H)

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Tangerine by Edward Bloor. Harcourt, 1997. Paul Fisher lives in the shadow of his older brother, Erik, the classic bully in school and out. Legally blind, Paul still manages to play soccer but slowly the truth about Paul’s blindness comes out in flashbacks of Erik’s cruelty. (H)

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The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge. Candlewick Press, 2001. Using first-person poems from the points of view of fifteen students, Koertge reveals the anger, hate, and longings in a suburban high school that lead to an explosive situation. (H)

book cover Warp Speed by Lisa Yee.

Marley Sandelski is different, very smart, and a little dorky; he and his parents live in an old movie theatre. At home, he feels relaxed and unencumbered, but at school he sneaks through the halls trying to be invisible to avoid the bullies who delight in chasing him and who sometimes get physically abusive. Arthur Levine/Scholastic, 2011 (M)

 

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