In 2014 UK schools took part in Choose Kind, a nationwide initiative inspired by Wonder by R.J.Palacio. The campaign aimed to inspire schools to tackle bullying, explore acceptance and celebrate kindness. Here we share our picks of some of the best stories for children and young people that do just that. Click below to learn more.
The Julian Chapter by R.J.Palacio.Age 9+. Wonder told the story of August Pullman: an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. The Julian Chapter tells classroom bully Julian’s side of the story, Thought-provoking, infuriating, surprising, heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a must-read for the thousands of readers who loved Wonder.
Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman.Age 9+.Despite his Mum’s insistence, Sam doesn’t want to be friends with Davey, he thinks Davey’s a first class, grade A, top of the dung heap moron. But one day Davey saves Sam’s life and a bond is formed between them. This is the touching story of an extraordinary friendship, that changes two boys lives for ever.
Dogger by Shirley Hughes.3+. When Dave loses his favourite toy, Dogger, he is desolate. But then Dogger turns up at the school summer fair, and everything seems all right – until someone else buys him before Dave can get the money! Luckily, an act of kindness from Dave’s sister saves the day…
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne.Age 10+. From the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but ordinary. To his parents’ horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity – and floats. Barnaby tries to keep both feet on the ground, but he just can’t do it. One day, the Brockets decide enough is enough. Barnaby has to go . . .Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon and begins a magical journey meeting some extraordinary new friends.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Age 7+. The heartwarming Dahl classic about a selfless and kind boy named Charlie Bucket who dreams of a better life for his family.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hogdson-Burnett.Age 9+. After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely until one day she learns of a secret and forbidden garden in the grounds. Then, Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed leading her to a hidden door and a world of family and friendship that she could never have imagined.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Age 14+. Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. Violet Markey lives for the future, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon Finch and Violet make important discoveries. It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them.
A Soldier’s Friend by Megan Rix.Age 10+. Sammy is a football crazy rescue puppy. Mouser is a fearless grey tabby. Together they make an unlikely pair that won’t be parted, not even by the First World War. When Sammy and Mouser are sent to war they find themselves boldly criss-crossing no-man’s land where they make new friends of every nationality – and reunite with old ones.
Hold Me Closer by David Levithan.Age 13+. A companion story to the bestselling Will Grayson, Will Grayson, this stunning new YA story is published in March. It follows Tiny Cooper, a larger than life high school student who wants to tell his story in his own way: as a stupendous musical. “You are not a half, and you should never treat someone else like a half. Agreed?”