Curling up with a good novel expands student reading skills. It can also give a new perspective on bullying…


Jordan and Max, Showtime
By Suzanne Sutherland
Picture Book Grade Levels: K-3rd

A new school, a new beginning…that’s just what Jordan needs. He could not fit in with his old classmates, so he believes not sharing anything about himself is a good idea. After all, if people don’t know anything about him, they can’t dislike him! He’s not about to share his propensity for dressing up in sparkly costumes. However, he is paired with Max, who has different ideas and together, they realize his personality deserves to shine.

A charming story to show how inspiration lies within each of us. Written by Suzanne Sutherland with gorgeous illustrations by Michelle Simpson.


Extraordinary Birds
By Sandy Stark-Mcginnis
Picture Book Grade Levels: 3rd-7th

Extraordinary Birds is the story of a young girl, December Lee Morgan, who has been abandoned by her mother at an early age. To help define who she is and establish her place in the world she imagines she is a bird and the scar on her back will eventually sprout wings. She climbs the tallest trees and leaps to the ground, sometimes getting hurt. She is undeterred: she will fly someday.

After many unsuccessful placements in foster homes, December is placed in a home with Eleanor, a kind and compassionate woman who patiently and carefully gains December’s trust. They live in the country where Eleanor and December garden and care for animals, including birds.

Inherently a loner in order to survive, December befriends Cheryllynn, a transgender girl who is shunned and scorned by the other girls who call her Charlie, her previous name. As December celebrates her 12th birthday on December 21st, December decides she is a human and not a bird, and she and Eleanor make plans to live together indefinitely. 


The Girl From the Sea (graphic)
By Molly Ostertag
Picture Book Grade Levels: 3rd-7th

The Girl From the Sea is presented in illustrated, cartoon fashion set in a seaside village in Canada. It involves two very early teenage girls who are attracted to each other and includes environmental issues. Therefore, a gay relationship is shown. From a fantasy point of view, one girl is part seal, and spends time in the water.

The illustrations throughout are very well done. Teachers may want to review the book before sharing with students.


  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldaccino (cross-dressing boy moves beyond bullying with help from mom and teacher), K-3rd
  • Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden (bullying, non-acceptance and discovering community), 5th-9th
  • You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson (competing for prom queen to earn a scholarship, falling for rival), 7th-12th
  • The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons (jock and trans, coming out on a new team after bullying), 7th-12th
  • Anger is a Gift: A Novel by Mark Oshiro (group of teens change school culture), 8th-12th
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Saenz, 9th-12th
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (novel, summer intern discovers feminism, colorism while coming out), 9th-12th
  • Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (fat, openly boy in W TX small town, changes prom culture), 9th-12th
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (fat girl bullied at pageant seeks help from drag community) 9th-12th