Best Character Education Books for Kids

Great character education books (books about values) are a great way to teach kids many important values, like honesty, compassion, gratitude, and more. As teachers and parents will attest, lectures are much less effective than powerful stories and examples that show the merits and consequences of the value or trait.

Each of these character education books can help launch a meaningful discussion with kids! We think these books work best as subtle discussion starters (rather than direct 'lecturing' on these values). To make the value system stick, kids need to come to the conclusion themselves!  So be sure to follow-up a read-aloud with some open ended questions.

To find a book on a given character education or values topic, simply click on the category in the list below.  Happy browsing. :)

Character Education Books by Subject

compassion / caring
books on being caring and
showing compassion and
concern for other people

creative thinking
books on being creative and inventive (artistically and in problem solving); the
benefits of t
hinking outside the box!

service / helping
books that teach children the
joys and rewards of sacrifice
and helping

having courage
books for all ages that tell stories
of bravery and
in the face of difficulties

generosity / sharing
books on sharing and
giving, seeing
needs of
others & responding

gratitude / thankful
books on being grateful
for what you have and
the help of others

books on truthfulness,
and avoiding
being deceptive

book on appreciation
for the
attributes that
make one unique

judging on appearances
the dangers of making
snap judgements
on a person's appearance

great stories showing children and 
grown ups demonstrating
persistence and 'sticking to it'

books on being kind, polite,
and listening to others
(including not bullying!)

basic etiquette and manners
(including teaching desired
classroom behaviors)

diversity & tolerance
books on celebrating diversity
beliefs and ethnicity / stories about prejudism and racism

books that teach children to
have pride in who they
are and what you can do

books on being open-minded and
to see other points of view

: Many topics overlap, so check book lists for related categories.  Also, our lists skew heavily toward young children. We'd love to have books for older kids. Know any? We'd love to hear from teachers who have either worked children's books into formal character education programs at their school or teachers who use them to create their own curriculum. :)

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