There are so many books out there and sometimes it is hard to weed out the good from the bad. I find students are so much more engaged (especially early primary) if the book is in English. Sometimes when it is a truly meaningful story I will make that call: whether to read it in English, or French or maybe a little of Both!
These books touch on kindness, empathy, compassion, and friendliness. Sometimes seeing actions on the other “side” help students get in touch with their values and morals and see that some actions are unkind which leads to what not do to others. After we read books and I see students acting less than kind to others I often break out the line “remember the golden rule?” and that usually has them reflecting and reconsidering.
A great story about Jessica-a worrier and Brenda-a bully. Enough descriptive language that helps the read a loud and keep the students in suspense. After I read this book on #pinkshirtday students CHEERED for Jessica! You know they were into it when… ! What a great story.
The Recess Queen or in French La Reine De La Récré
In our class we follow a program from the Vancouver Canucks called Fin’s Friends. This program teacher character and social responsibility. It is for Kindergarten to grade 3. Every “kit” has different lessons and books and you receive it all at the beginning of the year! Even better they have created the program for both English and French students (with books in each language) The recess queen is Mean Jean (Suzie Chipie: in French) a girl who rules the playground, until one day when a new student comes… Katie Sue (Marie-Luce: in French).
Enemy Pie is another book from Fin’s Friends. Book is part of the grade 2 kit. The boy in the story displays characteristics of jealousy over the summer as a new boy moves into the neighborhood JEREMY ROSS who moved in next door to his best friend. His world seems shaken up now that the new boy is around and so his dad helps him bake an “enemy” pie..which actually smelled quite GOOD…
Again, another one from Fin! Odd Velvet is a girl who just does everything differently and likes strange things..etc, etc Everyone seems to stay away from her, talk about her and make assumptions about her too! A great book to teach students about how everyone can teach us something different! We love to make pipe cleaner glasses and become Odd Velvet for the day.
A perfect HOW TO to show children the flip side of being a friend. Six ways to lose friends and be lonely!
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids
Filling each others buckets, each others’ invisible buckets. This is great for siblings and it relates to the classroom as the boy in the story realized that everyone has an invisible bucket. So many classroom lessons go with this book, including having our own classroom buckets filled with pompoms. A great reminder book for children to be kind and watch how they are talking to others.
The Golden Rule
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” It is the classic rule that no only to children have to abide by but adult do too. A strong message for students, my students bring up “La Règle Dorée” up months later! It really hit them! The Berenstain Bears version is a little less “classic” but they are my childhood favorite so any book from their collection is great! (I find The BBears have too much writing and therefore too hard to translate-on-the-fly)
Unhei, a new student from Korea, is torn about her Korean name. Debating on which American name best suits her, others try to help her think of new names. Another book under the “name” theme is Chrysanthemum which is mentioned below.
Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Elephant and Piggie with their friend Snake try to play Catch! But snakes don’t have arms.. Students brainstorm ways to include others and think “outside the box” versus saying NO when others ask to play.
and and for the cutest thing you will ever see/hear!
Multi faceted book for the classroom and for this post: how one person can make a difference.
A classic that is always on the top books to read to children. The tree who gives everything of himself to the boy. This book has the underlying message of friendship that we end up having a huge conversation about as a class. A friendship needs two sides.. one that gives and takes: not just takes. We also veer off and talk about the environment and our forests as students are quite aware of “taking trees” and this conversation naturally come up every time!
There are judgmental friends at school when they find out their classmate’s name C-H-R-Y-S-A-N-T-H-E-M-U-M. Like a previous book mentioned, The Name Jar, C questions her name and has to deal with others who are unkind.
Chester is a habitual guy who has a best friend who just loves the same things. Until a new girl arrives in their neighborhood who is just so..different and out there! Although, she might not be so different after all.
Hunter has a best friend named Stripe. Hunter and Stripe love all the same things and do everything together. One day Stripe was not making the best choices at school and naturally Hunter wanted to do the same.. Do to making poor choices Hunter is now upset and lonely. Yet another great book featured in the Fin’s Friends program
A cute story of acceptance (after a bit) from peers when Stanley mixed up Crazy Hair Day with picture day! This is something that never fails in the classroom.. forget to dress up on a themed day or even on the wrong day! A great book to read at the beginning of the year (before any mishaps) so that students have time to reflect on how that would make them feel, therefore bring empathy in the case that it does to someone else (or themselves!)
A How To guide on being a friend and dealing with other friendship issues. A harder “read aloud” but a fun book to read together.
Without words, this story opens up discussion. I try not to narrate too much and really just listen to the student’s points of views as they depict the story themselves. A story that covers loneliness, bullying and friendship becomes emotional as you really feel for the boy.
Totally cute story of two `friends` who just cannot get along, they bug the living day out of each other…but apart are so sad and lonely. We talk about boundaries and bugging each other friendly-ly and not. The students are quite captivated by their friendship dynamic.