Character Ed with Picture Books and Free Writing Prompts

At the start of the year, I always take a day or two to teach character ed. Why? Because I want to set the tone for a positive classroom community on those first days back to school. A simple and effective strategy I’ve used to teach character ed is reading picture books to my students and having them respond to self-reflective writing prompts. These writing prompts require the students to think about the message of the book and apply it to their own lives. This is critical because you want students to internalize these positive behaviors as their own and apply them to novel situations they might encounter in your classroom throughout the year.

Note: The books and writing prompts in this blog post can be used at any time during the school year.

picture books to teach character ed

There are so many great books to teach various character ed traits, but the ones above are a few of my favorites. The traits addressed include:

  • Kindness and Inclusion
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Empathy
  • Generosity
  • Respect
  • Courage
  • Cooperation
  • Perseverance
  • Friendship
  • Integrity and Honesty

As for the free self-reflective writing prompts, you grab them for free HERE.

I’ve designed these prompts to:

  • encourage students to see themselves or friends in the book characters,
  • wonder how the characters will behave, solve their challenges, or respond to a situation,
  • and apply their understanding to their own life to create a meaningful piece of writing.

The beginning of the year is such a special time to get to know each and every one of your students. However, it’s also critical time to establish your classroom as a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community. Use these stories and prompts to promote thoughtful classroom discussions and self-reflection.

These free writing prompts come in a digital version as well. Your students can type their response using Google Classroom.

Below are links to the Character Education books:

See more of my work on Character Education:


  1. This is so generous. Thank you so much. My kiddos will love it and we thank you very much!

    All the way from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Thank you so much, Suzanne! I appreciate your kind words!

  2. Jenny Spiridis says:

    Thank you very much.
    As I enter another block of remote learning I will use these resources to help connect to my class in another valuable way. You have given me plenty of ideas for my Webex meetings.
    Thankyou again

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Thanks so much, Jenny! I appreciate your kind words! Stay safe and healthy!

  3. Stef Corley says:

    This is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing your creations. In a world of uncertainty, we need each other to hold on to virtually. Thank you for making that possible.

  4. Annette Adlard says:

    Thank you so much for sharing ! I teach 2nd grade and your ideas have helped alleviate the stress of how to begin distance learning the first days of school !!!

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Annette!

  5. Donda Plyler says:

    This looks amazing! I am having trouble finding the link to the google doc version so I can use this for virtual learning. I need to put it in Canvas.

    I am scrambling to set up a virtual classroom.

    I really appreciate your help and generosity!!

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Hi Donda- Thanks for your kind words! When you click the link to access the writing prompts, scroll down to page 15. The links to the digital versions can be found there. I hope that helps!

  6. You willingness to share your slides. I can\’t wait to use them next week.

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Thanks so much!

  7. Heather Delia says:

    These activities are great!! I am having a hard time finding the link to the digital writing prompts??? I have even looked in teacher pay teacher

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Hi Heather- Thanks so much for your kind words! When you click the link to access the writing prompts, scroll to the end of the document! The links to the digital versions can be found on page 15.

  8. Sarah Patcan says:

    Could you please recommend me books for small kids? I have a 2 years old boy.
    Thank you!

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