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Picture Books for Character Education

These books address various themes to promote positive character traits.

The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle
A grouchy ladybug, looking for a fight, challenges everyone she meets regardless of their size or strength. This book is excellent for helping children learn how to appropriately deal with their emotions. Unlike Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch, this story's ladybug grows and becomes a better bug.

Miss Nelson Is Missing, by Harry Allard
Miss Nelson's class is unruly and ill behaved. They are pushing poor Miss Nelson to the limits. Suddenly Miss Nelson is missing! In her place comes Miss Viola Swamp. This is the substitute that all children fear. She resembles a witch in dress and an ogre in personality. Miss Swamp yells at the students, gives them mounds of homework, and makes school a nightmare. This story is a terrific lesson in treating others with the respect with which we want to be treated.

Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester
At one time or another, all of us feel out of place. Some children feel more out of step with their peers than others. This is the story for them. Tacky's friends are all "perfect." Tacky is loud and "annoying." The reality is that Tacky waddles to his own beat, expressing his own style, that doesn't hurt anyone else, but sets him apart. His individualism isn't appreciated until it saves the penguins from hunters.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
Lilly loooooves school. She especially loves Mr. Slinger her teacher. When Lilly brings her brand new purple plastic purse (that plays music) to school. Soon Lilly is distracted from her school work and Mr. Slinger takes her purse for the remainder of the day. Lilly retaliates by drawing a picture of Mr. Slinger with the words, "Big Fat Mean Mr. Stealing Teacher!" On her way home she finds that her teacher has placed a kind note inside her purse. This is a grand lesson on the importance of self-control, forgiveness, and reconciliation.


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