I love utilizing Character Education as a tool for my classroom. It’s important to focus on your character education lessons and take advantage of the time to build up that positive class community, and give students skills they can take beyond the classroom. This post will focus on the character education month of friendship.
Teach valuable lessons about friendship with age-appropriate books.
Today I will share my favorite picture books for teaching friendship in character education lessons. You can read a new title over the course of several weeks, use it as a discussion springboard, or make it part of the class library.
There once was a gorilla who had almost everything he needed, except a friend. Without other gorillas at the zoo, the keepers try something a little different. The great big ape begins to bond with an unlikely creature – a tiny kitten.
Being the new kid is already hard, but it’s even harder when nobody can pronounce your name. Unhei is anxious about fitting in after moving from Korea. Instead of introducing herself, she selects an American name from a jar, but nothing feels right.
A lost penguin shows up the door. What is a boy to do? Take it home, of course! In a little rowboat heading to the South Pole, the boy passes the time by telling the penguin stories until they arrive. Instead of being happy on their arrival, they both feel sad. Finally the boy realizes the penguin wasn’t really lost, just lonely.
Shy loves birds. He would love to watch them fly and sing but he’s only read about them in books. Then a real bird comes along! But he’s too, well, shy to go meet her. This story will speak to any child who has felt like hiding instead of facing a challenge or new experience.
A group of frogs is living in a peaceful pond until they get up one morning to see a strange visitor – a pig! Sitting on a rock in the middle of the pond, the pig opens his mouth and says, “Ribbit!”. This is a humorous and perfect read-aloud.
Anton and his friend Luke fight an epic battle to be declared the strongest. But they may just be outdone by a puppy.
Little Hedgehog is lonely, but he overhears passerby talking about a Friend Ship! She imagings a ship filled with all sorts of friends, and she’s soon ready to set sail in her own boat to track it down. She meets many other lonely animals along the way.
It was a perfect summer until Jeremy moved into the house down the street. Luckily, Dad makes a perfect suggestion for getting rid of enemies: enemy pie. But, part of the secret recipe is spending a whole day of play with the enemy!
The lion at the little French zoo is everyone’s favorite. But one day his door is left open and he’s surprised when his visits to all his friends is met with terror!
On an island far, far away, an imaginary friend is born. He waits patiently for his turn to be chosen by a real child. After being overlooked again and again, he decides to set off on a journey to the city to finally meet his perfect match. And given his special name.
Max and Arthur are friends who both enjoy painting. Author is accomplished while Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a brush sends the friends on a trip through many various artistic media. These lead to unexpected pitfalls. Although inexperienced, Max is courageous and quick to learn. Beginners everywhere will enjoy his enthusiasm.
Dennis is an ordinary boy who expresses himself in extraordinary ways. Some children do show-and-tell, Dennis mimes. Some children climb trees. Dennis is happy to BE a tree. But, the mime life is lonely until he meets a girl named Joy.
It’s Dandan’s last night with Yueyue. Tomorrow, she moves to America from China. The best friends have a favorite winter tradition: paper-cut snowflakes, freezing them outside, and hanging them as ornaments. As they say goodbye, Yueyue presses red paper and a spool of thread into Dandan’s hand so she can carry on their tradition. In her new home, Dandan feels like she cannot enjoy the gift, until a new friend comes along to share it with her.
Amy and Louie are best friends. They build towers and look for creatures in the clouds. And they always greet each other with their special call. But after moving across the ocean, this is a story about how friendship is not lost by distance.
If you have any other favorite to teach friendship for character education, I’d love to see them in the comments below! I love adding titles to my list of books to read to my students or to suggest to our library. Don’t forget to check out the full bundle of Character Education resources. It gives you a toolbox of materials to help develop and practice positive character traits.