Bullying is a phenomenon faced by students worldwide, and bibliotherapy is one viable classroom strategy to teach students how best to respond to bullying behavior. Although ample research exists on appropriate picture books with bullying themes, few studies have analyzed the content of middle-grade books for effective responses to bullying, despite the prevalence of bullying among middle school students. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was selected due to its accessibility, its instances of responses to bullying, and its reader demographics. Researchers created a coding instrument to document all textual instances of bullying, victim responses, peer responses, and adult responses. Coders used this documentation to tally the frequency of various response types among victims, peers, and adults. Results from this frequency count were used to compare response types in the novel with research on response effectiveness--responses that reduce bullying and/or support the victim. Findings reveal that the most common response among victims, peers, and adults is "no response described."Among textual responses, victims commonly respond ineffectively through revenge-seeking, peers respond ineffectively by participating in the bullying, and adults respond effectively by listening to the victim or giving advice. Therefore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone represents a wide range of effective and ineffective responses to bullying, both of which can be presented in bullying discussions with students. Researchers include a table with bullying response examples from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to aid education stakeholders in using the novel for these bibliotherapeutic discussions



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





responses to bullying, adult, peer, victim, Harry Potter, children's literature



Included in

Education Commons