Bullying has been around forever, and it's a huge topic in our book this week, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. It's incredibly prevalent in our literature, probably in places that we didn't even realize.
Either way, bullying is both an important literary and social topic that shows up tons in our literature.
Who would have thought that innocent Peanuts cartoons could be brought into a bullying post, but Lucy is a bully. She is constantly pulling that football out from under Charlie Brown, telling him that he's hopeless, and generally just putting the guy down (not to mention the various other characters in the book.)
However, Shultz does show us that the bad guy doesn't always win. Lucy is desperately in love with Schroeder, who constantly rebuffs her, often giving her a taste of her own medicine and befriending Charlie Brown.
For the record, this was what my copy looked like as a kid,
until I read it so much the cover tore off.
Harriet the Spy is one of my favorite books and is a great example of bullying among kids. Harriet gets basically ostracized by everyone in her class. The thing I think that I like best about Harriet the Spy is that no one in that book is perfect. Yes, Harriet gets bullied. But you know what? Harriet, in her own way, is also a bully. She writes some pretty terrible things about her classmates, and then instead of suffering the consequences of her actions, retaliates with more bullying before she finally realizes that if she wants her friends back, she's going to have to humble herself.
Books like Harriet the Spy use bullying to show how tough it is on a kid, how really wrong it can be and how hard it is in school, but also how easy it is for any kid to fall victim to it's lure as well as be a victim of it. Bullying in literature is also used to show ways that we can prevent or solve bullying in schools, like our book this week does. There are lots of books that have successfully used it (and some that have not so successfully done it.)