The 10 Best Books For Character Development

Character Counts

It’s amazing how much kids reflect back the world that surrounds them. I mean, have you ever heard your child say something and realize they got that directly from you? Or the TV? Or a book? Lately I’ve been all too aware of how much my kids soak up everything they hear. So, best to be intentional about it and give them models of the kind of people we want them to be.

Here are some of my favorite books for developing character for preschool and early elementary aged children.

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1. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

I’ve reviewed this one in full, but it’s a favorite in my house. So many lessons compacted into one short picture book. Let your children learn about accepting differences, having courage, and choosing kindness over vengeance.

2. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

This book was one of my favorites growing up. It tells the story of two sisters, both beautiful on the outside, but only one had beauty on the inside. A lovely reminder to always treat others with kindness and respect.

3. Hey Little Ant

Continuing the theme of how we treat others, this book is funny and heart-warming. What if we took the time to really get to know others and hear their side of the story. How would relationships and power differences change?

4. What If Everybody Did That

I love this book for preschool and lower elementary kids. It helps reinforce the point that our actions affect others and that we should be mindful of what we do. It’s perfect for kids just learning to be a part of a bigger community.

5. Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

This book gives a wonderful perspective on how we can help build people up rather than tearing people down. In a world full of sarcasm and snark, our children need to be taught the art of being “bucket fillers” and being a source of happiness to those around them.

6. Those Shoes

My kids are easily swayed by whatever the latest fads are and whatever the commercials on tv tell them to want. This books looks at consumerism from a kid perspective and reminds us all to be grateful for the things we have, not sad for the things we do not.

7. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Perfectionism is a hard thing for kids (and adults) to overcome. It’s an important lesson to be able to accept responsibility for a mistake, pick yourself back up again, and move on. . . . Maybe I need to read this one again.

8. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon

Finding self-acceptance when you are surrounded by loved ones is easy, but it gets a little bit harder when the world gets a little bit bigger. This story is a charming take on how to stay true to yourself and maintain that self-love in the face of bullies.

9. The Empty Pot

A tale of honesty told so simply with lovely pictures. When the emperor gives bad seeds out and promises a reward for the most beautiful flowers, only one has the courage to come back with an empty flower pot. Honesty is the foundation of character and something that our children need a constant reminder of.

10. The Giving Tree

This is a classic about self-sacrifice. The tree gives and gives to the little boy and in return receives companionship and the knowledge that she has helped her friend. Although there is also sadness in the tale when it seems the boy has taken everything and abandoned his friend, he returns showing the friendship is much deeper than the passing moments of his life.

Check out my other post on the best way to read to your kids!

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