Children’s Books

the red bicycle

The Red Bicycle written by Jude Isabella and Simone Shin, recently made it to my bookshelf.  It is a great story to explain the benefits of donating items that we no longer need. The main character donates his bike when he out grows it.  The bike is shipped to Africa and the life cycle of the bike continues. It is used as a means of transportation to school and even as an ambulance for people in far off villages.

While it is a picture book, it is a bit lengthy. (It might take 20-30 minutes to read).  But the content is simple and can be understood by young readers.



Howard Wigglebottom Learns Its Okay to Back Away

I was so delighted to learn about this character.  There are actually ten books about Howard.  They can all be found at We Do Listen.  The site is full of videos, songs, and even lesson on various social skills.  Other favorites of mine include Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter and Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns We Can All Get Along.

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Mr. Peabody’s Apples

A dear friend gave me this book a number of years ago.  In summary a student in Mr. Peabody’s school observes him taking an apple from a local market, and the child assumes Mr. Peabody didn’t pay for it.  The child spreads a rumor and all children and town folk treat Mr. Peabody differently.  Themes include: judgment, rumors,  and empathy.

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Dare by Erin Frankel

This awesome book became our theme for the week of respect this year.  The story explains the perspective of a bystander who initially joins in with the bully but changes her ways.  The illustrations are just beautiful, and it is part of a three part series.  The other books Weird and Tough show the perspective of the victim and the bully.

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This is a precious book by P.K. Halllinan.  It is a good reminder that everyone can make an impact on others when they spread kindness. My favorite quote from the book is “A heartprint is formed when you do something kind. Your love touches others leaving heartprints behind.”

A Birthday Basket for Tia by Pat Mora is a sweet story about a young child who prepares a thoughtful gift for her great aunt.  Often young children have trouble thinking about the interests of others when selecting gifts.  For example, my son selected a toy police car for my husband’s birthday gift.  This story teaches children how to select thoughtful gifts for loved ones.

Benny’s Pennies is a cute story about a boy who chooses to use his five new pennies to buy presents for his family.  The themes of thoughtful and selflessness abound.  Great for very young children.


The Honest to Goodness Truth is a great story which explains the importance of using a filter when speaking.  The young girl in the story is caught lying to her mother and she makes a decision to only tell the truth.  So as the story continues, she embarrasses her friend, tattles, and hurts the feelings of an elderly neighbor while “telling the truth.”  It reminded me of the time my toddler told a gentleman with a few missing teeth that “his teeth were missing.” This is a timeless story with a valuable lesson: Think before you speak.

market street

In this sweet story, a young boy and his grandmother take a ride on a city bus and he learns, by her example, to see beauty in everyone he meets.  Nana possesses the gift of empathy and she effortlessly passes it on to her grandson. CJ’s change of heart at the end of the story reminds me of my personal transformation when my mother signed me up for volunteer work.  Initially, I complained about missing out on time with my friends but in the end it had a lasting impact on my character.

plant a seed

This beautifully illustrated story by Nelson,  explains kindness and empathy is a very simple way that even very young children can comprehend.   My favorite line from it is ” If you plant a seed of selfishness in a very short time it will grow and grow and grow into a heap of trouble; but if you plant a seed of kindness, in almost no time at all, the fruits of kindness will grow and grow and grow and they are very very sweet.”