Little Girls Can Be Mean

You’re Mean, Lily Jean,  written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton for children 4-8 yrs.  Carly always plays with her big sister, Sandy.  They are both imaginative and play great games of pretend.  One day  a new girl, Lily Jean,  moves in next door.   The  sisters are taken with Lily Jean, until she begins to boss everyone around.  Since Carly is the youngest, Lily Jean,  orders her around making her crawl like a baby, moo like a cow and play the royal dog.  Tired of being bossed around, Carly comes up with a plan to teach mean Lily Jean a lesson.  Will Carly change the dynamics?   After all, kids just want to fit in.

Wishinsky wrote an important book for parents to read to their daughters about how little girls can be mean.  A good book for the classroom.  Denton’s soft watercolors capture the mood of each character, and children will find the illustrations engaging.

Little Girls Can Be Mean:  Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades, written by Michelle Anthony, M.A., Ph.D., and Reyna Lindert, Ph.D. , 2010.    

Book Jacket:  In today’s world, girls are facing myriad friendship issues, including bullying and cliques.  This is the first book to tackle the unique social struggles of elementary-aged girls, giving parents the tools to help their child become stronger, happier and better able to enjoy friendships and handle social cruelty.   Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert’s simple four-step plan will help you become a problem-solving partner with your daughter.  They also offer tips for educators and insights that girls can use to face social difficulties in an empowered way.    

After reviewing Lilly Jean is Mean, I discovered this important resource book for parents, teachers, and counselors for girls K- 6.   I would have gladly welcomed a book like this to help me with creative approaches and strategies to strengthen my daughter during those vulnerable years.   We know all kids will be mean at some point.  At the same time, you also don’t want your child participating in bullying and cliques.   Kids want to feel accepted.  If they are in a situation where teasing is happening, you hope your child will stand up for the kid being targeted.   It is important to begin teaching  girls at a very early age, that being mean is not okay!   

With the increase of societal bullying, the Ohio legislature recently passed legislation requiring schools to develop a curriculum for students on bullying.  The message is clear — bullying in school is not acceptable.  I hope this is a trend that is occurring across the country. 

I also recommend you visit a friend’s website, Elizabethannewrites, as she has written an excellent three-part series about bullies,  “Beyond Neener, Neener, Neener” posted April 23, 25 and 26.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

5 thoughts on “Little Girls Can Be Mean

    • Glad you enjoyed the books. Realize with bullying on the rise, it is important for parents and teachers to spend even more time with children on the subject. — starting with kindergarten.


  1. What excellent resources! How incredibly heartening to hear that Ohio schools will be developing curricula on bullying. As you say, legislatures and schools across the country (and in my country as well) would do well to emulate this action.

    I think people often think that it’s boys that are the main bullies in schools — I know from experience just how mean girls can be. Thank heavens that more and more bullying is not simply seen as a normal part of growing up, and that adults are starting to take it seriously and to take steps to decrease the incidences of bullying. Let us hope that resources such as these, and heightened awareness among legislators, teachers and parents, will have an effect, and will help the children who are being bullied, and the ones who are bullying or simply standing by and not doing anything, to learn and to grow into kinder, more compassionate beings.

    And thanks so much for the shout-out to my three-part series!


    • You are welcome. You did an excellent series. After rearing a daughter, who was teased/bullied because she wore hearing aids and for other reasons, I know first hand how mean little gils and older grirls can be. I have seen the cruelty of girls involved in their cliques, with parents in a room. With today’s technology is continues to get worse. I am grateful our state is taking a stand and hope more are doing the same. It is no longer a normal part of growing up, because we see such graphic cases that lead to teen suicide in the news over bullying incidents. It’s not say compassion and kindness aren’t present in many kids; it’s just that bullying has increased.


  2. I love the title “You’re mean Lily Jean” as I say it out loud I can just feel the intonation in Carly’s voice. I so want to know Carly’s plan to resolve the issue :).

    Like you guys, my experience in school has sadly been with worse bullying among girls than boys, though not exclusively of course. Resources such as these are so needed for bully, bullied, passive acquiescers, parents and teachers. All parties involved need to learn and grow to create healthy relationships. If it isn’t dealt with at school, adult bullying will, of course, ensue.

    Both very helpful classroom books. Thank you, Pat.


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