8 Great Books that Help Build Character in Kids
Mind your manners. Say please and thank you. Look someone in the eyes when speaking with them. Share your toys. These are just a few of the mantras that parents everywhere use to encourage caring, empathetic, and moral qualities in their children. Parental reminders and modeling aren’t the only ways to do this – the habit of reading good books in childhood has been shown to help build character in kids.
Reading Fiction Helps to Build Character in Kids
When kids are exposed to great literature, they build more than their reading skills. Research shows that reading fiction and identifying with characters and situations in the stories can actually promote characters traits such as empathy. Reading also gives kids the opportunities they need to explore situations that are uncomfortable, allowing them to consider strategies for problem-solving, human interactions, and other tricky scenarios. And they get to do this from the safety of their favorite reading corner. If you’re looking for books to help build character in kids, try some of the following selections.
Character Building Books
1. Berenstain Bears, By Jan and Stan Berenstain – Many of the books in this popular series deal with character challenges and strengths – truths, bullying, manner, and more are all addressed in a kid-friendly format.
2. Old Henry, by Joan Blos – This gentle tale explores the idea of citizenship as kids get a look at neighbors who critique a man and his house, and come to change their minds – and their definition – about being a good neighbor.
3. Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by Carol McCloud – Through the use of a metaphor of an invisible bucket, kids are given examples of how people all over the world can fill their buckets with kindness, respect, and other positive behaviors.
4. Simon’s Hook: A Story About Teases and Put-downs, by Karen Gedig Burnett – Filled with fun characters and illustrations, this book teaches kids “not to take the bait” when it comes to teasing.
5. I Double Dare You! by Dana Lehman – One of the more challenging lessons to teach children is how to take responsibility for their own actions, but this book uses an eclectic group of animal characters to relate a story that proves just how important this character trait is.
6. No, David! By David Shannon – A popular series of tales, these resonate with both kids and adults. The real-life lessons have colorful pictures and humorous situations.
7. Edwardo – The Horriblist Boy in the Whole Wide World, by John Burningham – This book is just as important for adults to read as it is for kids, as it highlights the differences between the positive power of praise and the negative power of criticism.
8. Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton – If you’re looking for a book about determination that is geared toward preschool and early elementary school-aged kids, this one is for you. A small red tractor, Katy, helps to save the day when a snowstorm threatens to close the roads and no one else can do what Katy does.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a strong character can be built when kids are given the opportunities to read about strong characters. The next time you’re looking to build character in kids you know, introduce them first to some great fictional stories. Respect, responsibility, tolerance, determination, cooperation, and more positive character traits are waiting at the turn of the page.