Character Education: Responsibility Picture Books

Teach your students the lifelong skill of responsibility with character education. It’s so important to focus on your character education lessons right from the start so your students are empowered and see growth. Read more about my kick-off to Character Education each year here.

Today, I’m sharing my top picture books for teaching responsibility. I love using books to enhance class discussion as well as enforce positive habits. You can read a new title over the course of several weeks as you discuss responsibility, or you can make it part of your library or free-read time in class.

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey

Before the sun even rises, a boy and his dog leave to deliver newspapers. Beautiful illustrations accompany this award-winning picture book.

What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick

The perfect book for students who ask what the big deal is when they don’t follow a rule or expectation. This humorous book answers the question, “What if everybody did that?” and shows the consequences of thoughtless behavior.

A Little SPOT of Responsibility: A Story About Making Good Choices by Diane Alber

Every time you make a good choice, your responsibility spot grows and makes you more confident. This little responsibility spot shows students how to make good choices.

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool

One small boy has a very special gift – weaving cloth from clouds. He shows wisdom in only making enough for a single warm scarf. But then the king demands cloaks and gowns, and he sees the world around him change.

William and the Guinea Pig by Gill Rose

Part of the “Thinker” series, this story encourages children to see familiar situations from a number of viewpoints. I love this book for its real-life situations.

A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting

A Mexican-American boy and his grandfather reconnect through gardening. Francisco struggles with connecting with his grandfather, who doesn’t speak English. This is a lovely multigenerational and multicultural story.

For You Are a Kenyan Child by Kelly Cunnane

This story introduces students into the life of a Kenyan child. Beautifully illustrated, it compares a typical day to an imagined one in Kenya.

Pigsty by Mark Teague

A humorous tale of Wendell, who goes to his room to find a pig in his bed. He doesn’t mind the pig, even as his mother reminds him again and again to clean up his pigsty.

I Didn’t Do It by Sarah Read

A great book about learning to take responsibility for your actions. It’s ok to make mistakes, and have big emotions, but it is also important to be accountable and think of others.

The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

This story shares the lives of a brother and sister who are complete opposites. This often leads to arguments. One day, they discover a tunnel, and their different personalities will lead them on a unique adventure.

Do I Have To? by Nancy Loewen

I love this story because it is set up as an advice column. This is a book that defines responsibility and demonstrates how it can be used daily.

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter

A very stinky story teaching students about producing unlimited and unchecked trash with yucky consequences.

My Magical Choices by Becky Cummings

This story teaches children that their ability to make choices is magical. The Magic of Me series helps teach children positive language to help them choose responsibility and other areas of character development.

But It’s Not My Fault! by Julia Cook

Teach students to stop making excuses and blaming others for mistakes. The main character, Noodle, makes one excuse after another for his behavior and choices. But, by learning to accept responsibility he learns that mistakes are opportunities for problem-solving and can be turned into positives.

I would love to hear from you about what you like to do with students to teach responsibility. Share your favorite read alouds and activities here or on Facebook and Instagram! I’d love to see your best activities for character education responsibility month! Don’t forget you can find a great bundle of character education resources in my shop, click here to check it out!

Character Education Curriculum: Responsibility

It equips you with an entire toolbox of materials to help your students develop and practice positive character traits. The comprehensive resource promotes responsibility and includes a variety of print and digital resources. In addition to these read aloud texts you’ve just seen, I also have bulletin boards, pacing guide, anchor chart, posters, calendars, reflection pages, and much more! 

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