Click here for reasons why teaching with picture books is a promising practice!
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Books That Heal Kids by
Oregon Counselor R. Davidson
Need even more titles categorized by the Pillars of Character? Click here for thorough lists compiled by Perfection Learning and Polk County GA Schools.
Championing Character Through Children's Literature List
books and links to reviews updated 11/4/13
Welcome to our Books That Teach list. As a new and improved service, click on the highlighted titles to be transported to the book reviews and/or character-integration activity ideas that Barbara Gruener has written. We will continue to add more links as they become available.
A Castle on Viola Street - DyAnne DiSalvo (citizenship, volunteerism)
A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulkner (justice, equality, respect for differences)
Agate by Joy Morgan Dey (celebrating differences, respect for self)
Alley Oops - by Janice Levy (anti-bullying, respect, "wrestling" with good choices)
America Is Her Name - Luis J. Rodriguez (compassion, empathy, confidence, pride)
America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven (heroes, citizenship, honor)
Annie's Plan by Jeanne Kraus (personal responsibility, self-discipline)
Armando and the Blue Tarp School by Edith Hope Fine and Judith Pinkerton Josephson (culture, compassion, goal-setting)
Anika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis (caring, compassion, culture)
Blabber Mouse - True Kelly (loyalty, trustworthiness)
Big Wolf & little wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme (sharing, compassion, friendship)
Bird Child by Nan Forler (respect for differences, empowering bystanders)
Buddy Booby's Birthmark by Donna and Evan Ducker (respect for differences, compassion)
Carla's Sandwich - Debbie Herman (respect for differences, acceptance)
Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer (respecting and celebrating differences)
Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krause Rosenthal (character values)
Crow Boy - Taro Yashima (respect for differences)
Do Unto Otters - Laurie Keller (friendship, manners)
Does This Make Me Look Beautiful? - Harriet Morse (peer pressure, inner beauty)
Dream BIG, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi (goal setting, perseverance)
Each Kindness - Jacqueline Woodson (caring, including new students, kindness ripples)
Earth Day - Horray! by Stuart J. Murphy (recycling, teamwork, conservation)
Ellison the Elephant by Eric Drachman (respect for differences, self discovery)
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (friendship, respect)
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed (fairness, friendship, caring)
Getting To Know Ruben Plotnick by Roz Rosenbluth (respect, caring, friendship)
Good Bye Bully Machine by Debbie Fox and Allan Beane (respect for differences, courage, kindness)
Good News Nelson by Jodi Moore (problem solving, being a change agent, service learning)
Grandfather's Wrinkles by Kathryn England (intergenerational connections, caring)
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo (caring, compassion, empathy)
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud (attitude, kindness, appreciation)
Heartprints - P.K. Hallinan - (caring, kindness, compassion)
Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose (respect, golden rule, peer pressure)
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer (kindness, caring)
I Hate English! by Ellen Levine (compassion, culture)
If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover (responsibility, self-control, stakeholders)
Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming (patriotism, civic duty, heroes)
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (self control, not interrupting)
It's Not Fair by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (equality v. equity)
Josias, Hold The Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (responsibility, problem solving, Haitian culture)
Jungle Bullies - Steven Kroll (negotiation, friendship, anti-bullying theme)
KiKi's Hats by Warren Hanson (caring, kindness, generosity)
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler (kindness, getting along, service)
Knitting Nell by Julie Jersild Roth (citizenship, knitting for service)
LEO the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman (perseverance, attitude, courage)
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - Diane De Groat (honesty, trustworthiness, cooperation)
Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth (compassion, teamwork, hope)
Looking After Louis - Lesley Ely & Polly Dunbar (respect for differences, fairness)
Lucy Goosey Takes Responsibility by Katherine Ciriello Clark (stakeholders, accountability, responsibility)
Martha Doesn't Share! by Samantha Berger (fairness, taking turns, sharing)
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel (conservation, citizenship)
Milo Armadillo - Jan Fearnley (friendship, acceptance, gratitude)
Mine! by Kevin Luthardt (fairness, sharing, taking responsibility)
Miranda Peabody and the Magnificent Friendship March by Susan Debell (friendship, bullying, bystanding)
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban (managing feelings, self-control)
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig (friendship, respect, conflict resolution)
Off to Serve by Richard Galentino (service, volunteerism, citizenship)
Okey-Dokey Oakie by Peggy Sundberg (making good choices, using refusal skills)
One by Kathryn Otoshi (respect, tolerance, anti-bullying message)
One Grain of Rice by Demi (fairness, trustworthiness, great math extension!)
One Green Apple - Eve Bunting (cultural differences and integration)
One Smile by Cindy McKinley (kindness, caring, compassion, stakeholders)
One Thousand Tracings by Lita Judge (caring, compassion, empathy)
Our Friendship Rules by Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif (trustworthiness, negotiation, cooperation)
Pink Tiara Cookies For Three by Maria Dismondy (triangle friendship, loyalty, kindness)
Rabbit's Gift - George Shannon (sharing, generosity, friendship)
Raj The Bookstore Tiger by Kathleen T. Pelley (the power of words, friendship)
Red, White and Blue by Debbie Clement (patriotism, citizenship, sign language)
Rotten and Rascal by Paul Geraghty (fairness, greed "eats you alive")
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin (trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty)
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn (Chinese New Year, compassion, generosity)
Share With Brother by Steven L. Layne (fairness, sibling rivalry, caring)
Sheila Says We're Weird by Ruth Ann Smalley (conservation, recycling, ecology)
Shhh! by Jeanne Willis (perseverance, listening, respect, peace/non-violence)
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney (non-violence, racial equality)
Some Dogs Do - Jez Alborough (positive-thinking and attitude)
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli (caring, stakeholders)
Something Else by Kathryn Cave (respect, diversity, friendship)
Sometimes We Were Brave by Pat Brisson (patriotism, service, courage)
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy (respect for differences, kindness, courage)
Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki (respect for differences, culture, acceptance)
Squawking Matilda by Lisa Horstman (responsibility, perseverance, caring)
Stand In My Shoes - Bob Sornson (empathy, compassion, understanding)
Sweet Briar Goes to School by Karma Wilson (respect for differences, courage, friendship)
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf - Judy Sierra (honesty, apology, forgiveness)
The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey (goal setting, responsibility, work habits)
The Band-Aid Chicken - Becky Rangel Henton (justice, empathy, acceptance)
The Boy Who Changed The World by Andy Andrews (stakeholders, helping others, The Butterfly Effect)
The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister by Linda Ravin Lodding (the over-scheduled child, purposeful play)
The Butterfly - Patricia Polacco (compassion, empathy, respect, friendship) 
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (diversity, celebrating differences)
The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf (diversity, acceptance, respect)
The Earth Book by Todd Parr (conservation, citizenship)
The Empty Pot by Demi (trustworthiness, honor, problem solving)
The Fiesta Dress by Caren McNelly McCormack (cultural awareness and celebration)
The Forgiveness Garden by Lauren Thompson (forgiveness, healing, friendship)
The Giant King - Kathleen T. Pelley (kindness, dignity, law of attraction)
The Golden Rule - Ilene Cooper (respect, diversity, caring)
The Greedy Triangle - Marilyn Burns (acceptance, being satisfied with who you are)
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers (trustworthiness, taking responsibility)
The Invisible Boy - Trudy Ludwig (kindness, imagination, friendship)
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown (caring, compassion)
The Lunch Thief by Anne C. Bromley (empathy, compassion, sharing, caring)
The Mitten Tree by Candance Christiansen (empathy, generosity, kindness)
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (respect for differences, cultural awareness, compassion)
The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff (respect, celebrating culture and diversity)
The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble (caring, problem-solving, love)
The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston (acceptance, respect for differences, friendship)
The Peanut-Free Cafe - Gloria Koster (respect for peanut allergies, flexibility, friendship)
The Sandal Artist by Kathleen T. Pelley (empathy, compassion, sensitivity)
The Sandwich Swap - Queen Rania (cultural diversity, respect, friendship)
The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood (gratitude, appreciation)
The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy (gossip, integrity, promise keeping)
The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson (citizenship, compassion)
The Wall by Eve Bunting (service, patriotism, honor)
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (empathy, caring, sharing)
Three Pebbles and a Song by Eileen Spinelli (responsibility, accountability, teamwork)
Tops and Bottoms - Janet Stevens (fairness, responsibility, work ethic)
Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig (trustworthiness, friendship)
What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick (social responsibility, citizenship)
When A Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore (imagination, play, pretending v. lying)
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge - Mem Fox (kindness, caring, friendship)
William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow (respect for differences, gender stereotypes, modeling)
Will You Forgive Me? by Sally Grindley & Penny Dann (friendship and forgiveness)
Winston of Churchill: One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming by Jean Davies Okimoto (citizenship, conservation, responsibility)
Wolf! Wolf! - John Rocco (trustworthiness, cooperation, friendship)
You Can Be A Friend by Tony and Lauren Dungy (friendship, loyalty, trust)
You're Mean, Lily Jean - Frieda Wishinsky (respect, caring, kindness)
Zero by Kathryn Otoshi (self-worth, value, perfect for math integration!)
Ziba Came On A Boat - Liz Lofthouse (empathy, culture, hope)
Zoe the Misfit - Ellen Dee Davidson (acceptance, respect for differences, friendship)