Nobody Knew What to Do

A Story about Bullying

Straightforward and simple, this story tells how one child found the courage to tell a teacher about Ray, who was being picked on and bullied by other kids in school. Faced with the fact that “nobody knows what to do” while Ray is bullied, the children sympathetic to him feel fear and confusion and can only hope that Ray will “fit in some day.” Finally, after Ray misses a day of school and the bullies plot mean acts for his return, our narrator goes to a teacher. The children then invite Ray to play with them, and, with adult help, together they stand up to the bullies.

  • 24 Pages
  • 8" x 10"
  • 9780807557112
  • January 2001

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 24 Pages
  • 8" x 10"
  • 9780807557136
  • November 2017

Buy from Albert Whitman

  • 9780807557129
  • March 2015

Other Places to Buy


  • Best suited for reading aloud, this picture book addresses the problem of bullying at school. From the very first sentence, the spare text allows children to acknowledge their feelings of powerlessness in the presence of a bully, even if they are not the focus of the intimidating behavior…McCain successfully presents a problem without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing it. A brief discussion about “Bully Prevention” for adults is included.

    - School Library Journal

  • Picture books about bullying are not uncommon, but this one is unusual in at least two respects. First, the story is told from the point of view of a boy watching bullies torment a classmate. Second, the resolution does not come about because the bullied child stands up for himself, or outsmarts or humiliates the bully. …Every child enjoys a vicarious escape from a bad situation, but in this sobering book, McCain offers something more urgently needed: a way out—at least in schools where adults take bullying seriously. An appended note discusses bullying prevention.

    - Booklist

Awards & Accolades

  • The Children's Book Sense 76 - Spring/Summer 2001


    Common Core

    RL.K.1,3,4.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10 RL.1.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9 RL.2.1,3,4,5,6,7,10


    • Accelerated Reader Points: 0.50
    • ATOS Level: 2.70