Character Ed & Picture Books
Many picture books can be used to teach character education, and here are some recent books to teach having a positive attitude, courage, friendship, and self-esteem.
A grouchy old man and an enthusiastic young boy each make their way to the Rain or Shine café, passing along their moods as they go. Everyone who meets up with the grumpy guy walks away with a scowl on their faces, whereas those who pass the joyful little boy end up smiling and cheerful. But whose attitude will rub off on the other when they bump into each other in the café? This Japanese proverb gives a hint: One who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.
Most kids—and adults!—are afraid of something, and Laszlo is no exception. He is afraid of the dark that lives at his house—in the closet, behind the shower curtain, and mostly in the basement. One night, Laszlo’s nightlight burns out, and the dark comes to visit him in his room. The dark tells Laszlo to follow—into the hall, down the stairs, into the basement. And in the far corner of the basement, the dark tells Laszlo to open the bottom drawer of an old dresser, where Laszlo finds….a new nightlight bulb. This wonderful book about facing your fears is from the powerhouse talents of Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen.
Sunny Acres was the friendliest farm in the county—the animals were friends and loved to play together. Then… Grumpy Goat arrived. He didn’t want to be friends and chased away anyone who wanted to play. Finally, after crashing his way through the fence, he wandered to the top of the hill and saw—a dandelion! As he admires the beauty of the flower, the other animals wander closer, and soon all are friends until…one day, Grumpy Goat notices his flower is white, not yellow, and when the wind blows, all the white puffs away. Will Grumpy Goat become…grumpy again? This lovely read-aloud shows that friends can help you through good times and bad.
Shyness can be disabling, keeping a person from doing something he or she might normally like to do. In Spinelli’s picture book, a little girl loves to dance and leap and spin…when she is alone, but when everyone’s watching, she hides. She loves to cheer and dunk the ball through the hoop with a whoop…when she plays by herself. When everyone’s watching, she only passes the ball to a teammate. But she has a friend—a shy friend—and when they are together, they don’t care who’s watching at all. This picture book treats a painful feeling with respect and compassion.