Books About Peer Pressure

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Peer pressure affects everyone; however, teens are more severely affected due to their age and need to fit in. This lesson provides a list of a variety of books for different age ranges, and how to use them to teach students about peer pressure.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a part of everyday life for students. This makes the topic an important one for all students. There are two different types of pressure: positive and negative. Positive peer pressure comes from fellow students pushing one another to study hard or be more confident, whereas negative peer pressure may result in rejection, underage drinking, stealing, or just being judgmental of others. Either way, it is good for students to know different ways to handle peer pressure, which is where books can come in.

Books can give examples of real or fictional people who are experiencing or have experienced peer pressure. These stories can be relatable to kid's personal experiences, making them easier to address or talk about. I have broken up the book lists below by age range.

Peer Pressure Books for Elementary Students

At a young age, peer pressure is more simplified but still just as painful, as kids are trying to find acceptance and to accept others. The following books are a great way to help students understand peer pressure.

The Berenstain Bears: The In-Crowd by Stan Berenstain

  • A new bear moves into town and tries to use her popularity to make fun of others. However, Sister Bear has decided this behavior is not ok, and helps the rest of the bears stand up to her. This is a good book to teach kids that they can stand up for themselves and others.

The Berenstain Bears and The Double Dare by Stan Berenstain

  • In this book, Brother Bear joins a gang and is dared to steal a watermelon. This is a simple book but effective in showing the severity of peer pressure to students.

Arthur's Tooth by Marc Brown

  • This story has the classic character Arthur feeling pressured to lose one of his teeth, since everyone else has. This is a lesser form of peer pressure, which is also good for kids to see.

Peer Pressure Gauge by Julia Cook

  • This is a simple book only meant to help kids work on not falling into the peer pressure trap. Less fiction and more a teachable moments book.

Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli

  • This book is better for the older kids in elementary grades and discusses the pressures of growing up and the expectations of fellow students. This is a great teachable moment in acceptance of kids of all age levels.

Peer Pressure Books for Junior High Students

In junior high, peer pressure starts to take on more severity for students as they struggle to be accepted. Here is a great variety of book options for teaching about peer pressure.

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

  • This is a good story about how a community and family can cause peer pressure by expecting the same thing for every child when they turn 10. The main character has to learn how to stand up for his own personal beliefs.

Firegirl by Jerry Spinelli

  • A great way to talk about peer pressure when you are different from other people. This is about a young girl who was burned and scares most people at her school because of her scarring.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

  • This novel is a first person story of how peer pressure can make you into someone you're not. The main character gets put in juvenile hall for those very decisions. A great story to tell how drastic consequences can happen from peer pressure.

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