Character Education Books That Every Counselor Needs

By Barbara Gruener
Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.

Character Education Books That Every Counselor NeedsFor the past two decades, I’ve been obsessed with picture books that can teach and help reinforce the values we espouse at school and at home. Today, a few of my favorites that you might want to consider for your character development collection:

Trustworthiness, Integrity, Friendship
The Empty Pot by Demi
The Lunch Thief by Anne C. Bromley
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Wolf! Wolf! by John Rocco
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin
Our Friendship Rules by Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif
Don’t Need Friends by Carolyn Crimi
You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown
Friends (Mostly) by Barbara M. Joosse
What James Said by Liz Rosenberg

Respect, Diversity, Manners
Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
Something Else by Kathryn Cave
Agate by Joy Morgan Dey
One by Kathryn Otoshi
The Band-Aid Chicken by Becky Rangel Henton
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Bird Child by Nan Forler
Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick by Roz Rosenbluth

Responsibility, Perseverance, Mindset
Squawking Matilda by Lisa Horstman
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Penelope Perfect by Shannon Anderson
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers
Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren
Three Pebbles and a Song by Eileen Spinelli
Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi
Good News Nelson by Jodi Moore
If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover
But It’s Not My Fault! by Julia Cook

Fairness, Justice, Open-Mindedness
Mine! by Kevin Luthardt
Martha Doesn’t Share by Samantha Berger
Share with Brother by Steven Layne
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
It’s Not Fair! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
One Grain of Rice by Demi
A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulkner
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
Sit-In by Andrea Davis Pinkney
The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble

Caring, Compassion, Empathy, Kindness
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Kiki’s Hats by Warren Hanson
One Smile by Cindy McKinley
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
The Sandal Artist by Kathleen T. Pelley
One Thousand Tracings by Lita Judge
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Tilt Your Head, Rosie the Red by Rosemary McCarney
You’re Mean, Lily Jean! by Frieda Wishinsky

Citizenship, Patriotism, Service
Sometimes We Were Brave by Pat Brisson
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah
What Does It Mean to Be Green? by Rana DiOrio
I Hate English! by Ellen Levine
The Wall by Eve Bunting
A Castle on Viola Street by DyAnne DiSalvo
America’s White Table by Margot Theis Raven
Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
Ziba Came on a Boat by Liz Lofthouse
Winston of Churchill by Jean Davies Okimoto

For a complete list of my favorites and links to activity ideas and suggestions, visit Books That Teach at The Corner on Character.

Barbara GruenerCurrently in her 32nd year as an educator, Barbara Gruener, a school counselor and character coach at Bales Intermediate School in Friendswood, Texas, has had the pleasure of working with kids from every grade level. Author of the blog The Corner on Character and the book What’s Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind, Barbara enjoys positively influencing change through her inspirational keynotes and interactive workshops. When she’s not working, you can bet Barbara is knitting, baking, writing, reading, walking, gardening, napping, or spending time with her husband and their three children.


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