Top Five Character Books for Preschoolers

Character education has become a corner stone in preschool development.  Families and teachers continue to realize how important the preschool years are for developing important character traits in their children.  As the preschool world moves away from only letters and numbers, teachers are adapting by bringing in new STEM ideas, character building, and much more!  Check out these awesome books that are perfect to start the conversation about character traits.

Character Traits are Important, Simple as That

Our facility has implemented our Pillars of Character over the past two years, which gives our classroom a different character trait to focus on each month. This is a great way to start off, and I encourage you to pick a trait each month to focus on.  In my own home, we have a trait a month as well.  My husband and I decide the month prior what we would like the children to focus on the upcoming month, usually something they have been struggling with the month before.  It gives us a focus for the month and helps develop their character in new and exciting ways.

Top Five Books to Teach Character to Preschoolers

These books are in no particular order, but instead help highlight one or more of the character traits you are looking at teaching.  These books have become staples in my classroom, and are not only educational, but fun to read as well.

51kVsWC6uXL._SX403_BO1,204,203,200_The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

This book was one of the first character books I purchased for my classroom, and is a family favorite as well.  The book is about a little boy that is "invisible" because he does not feel noticed by his teacher and classmates.  It discusses how some children are louder and some are quiet, but it is important to focus on all the friends in the classroom. As the students start to notice the "invisible" boy, turns out he is not so invisible after all.  This books is great at teaching kindness and inclusivity and helps give the quieter children in your classroom a voice.

51fvJJB-9XL._SX409_BO1,204,203,200_She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

This book is about thirteen girls that are modeled after women who changed the world.  Each person has a chance to tell their story and show children that you can change the world in your own way.  Not only is this book about being a strong female, it is perfect for all children to see that their differences are really strengths.  That, by pushing through hard times to reach their goals, children really can do big things and make a big difference.  I love how this book teaches resilience, growth mindset, and empowerment. 

51e0cJkzC0L._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_ Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

In this story, a giraffe is determined to learn to dance, but his long limbs and wiggly body make it difficult.  He works hard to learn to dance, but other animals often tease him and taunt him as he is learning. Int the end, he is able to figure it out, with the help of a friend.  This books is a cute, rhyming story that allows children to see that you should do what you love, not just what you are good at.  The giraffe does not shy away from dancing but, instead, embraces it and works harder at it. This book teaches resilience and acceptance of others.

51SjIFeNeeL._SX474_BO1,204,203,200_How Full is your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath

This is absolutely one of my favorites! A grandfather teaches his grandson that everyone has a bucket, and you effect how full someone's bucket is.  Your actions can help fill or empty someone's bucket.  I have even used this book to help with staff education, by talking about how you do not know what a student is going through when they enter your doors. It is important to be filling buckets instead of emptying them.  This book teaches about kindness and responsibility.

51KbrbAGxZL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_ It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr

Geared towards a younger audience, this book is perfect for the 18 months- three year old range. It has bright pictures and a simple, but effective message.  This book is filled with different messages, from "It is okay to be adopted" to "It is okay to dance by yourself" and helps teach children that it is okay to be you, however that is. I love the message that everyone is different, and embracing that at a young age will set children up for success later in life.  This book teaches about acceptance and self esteem and allows children of all ages to embrace themselves and their own feelings and emotions. 

One More Bonus Title, because Why Not?

I decided you need one more bonus title, because this book is newer to me, but is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  I have not yet implemented it into my classroom, but cannot wait to read it and have the discussion that follows.  I simply love the message this book brings.

51hpS-gPZzL._SY421_BO1,204,203,200_Except When They Don't by Laura Gehl

Gender stereotypes are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and I cannot support it enough!  In my classroom, we encourage everyone to play and do everything.  This book supports that message and I love it. The book talks about how girls and boys can choose what they want to do because it is something they like to do, not because it is assigned to a gender.  I do love that this book also touches on that it is okay for girls to pick things more directed towards them, and vice versa for boys. While gender stereotypes need to go, I do not want the students in my classroom to think it is a bad thing to like something that is geared towards them. This book works hard to address that you can choose whatever you like, nobody else needs to have a say. I love how this book teaches equality and empowerment. 

I hope these books quickly make their way into your library, either at home or in your classroom. They all have such strong, but fun messages and do a great job to encourage children to be their strong, independent selves.  As preschool classrooms move back into a play based, question led teaching atmosphere, I hope more teachers jump on the character building aspect of preschool. I always say that I am teaching preschoolers to be better humans, through academic, social, and character education.  Hopefully, more and more classrooms will continue to move that way.

Tags: Preschool, Education, Character Education, In the Classroom, Parenting
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