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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Using Children's Literature to Teach Life Long Social Skills: Making Friends, Dealing with Bullies and Accepting Who You Were Made To Be!

Lately I was discussing some social skills issues, specifically making friends, dealing with bullying and building up self-esteem, with a group of ladies who have young children in the preschool years.  I mentioned to them that I have found children's literature to be a HUGE help with these particular areas as I was raising my young children and also in my own preschool classroom.  I spent some time looking over the different books I have used over the years and thought that I would share them here in this blog.  Keep in mind that this is only a teeny-tiny peek into the VAST world of children's literature - there is soooo much out there.  But I have found the following to work well and many of these rate among my favorite pieces of literature of all time! 
Chrysanthemum , Kevin Henkes
 - deals with the issue of teasing
The Berenstain Bears and the Bully, Stan and Jan Berenstian
 - bullying
Bootsie Barker Bites, Barbara Bottner
 - bullying
I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, Dr.Seuss (writing as Theo LeSieg)
 - being comfortable with yourself as you were made to be
Yo! Yes!, Chris Raschka
 - making friends across cultural differences
Yes We Can!, Sam McBratney
 - making friends and positive play
The Friendly Book, Margaret Wise Brown
 - provokes thoughts about what a child likes - what makes them unique and what we might have in common
Do You Know What I'll Do?, Charlotte Zolotow
 - great book about being a sibling
The Mixed Up Chameleon, Eric Carle
 - being satisfied with who you are
The Grouchy Ladybug, Eric Carle
 - emotions/bullying
The Very Lonely Firefly. Eric Carle
- making friends
From Head to Toe, Eric Carle
 - body parts, movement
 - social skills of listening, focusing attention, and following directions
Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth, Eric Carle
 - unique characteristics of individuals
Best Friends, Steven Kellogg
 - good times and challenges between friends

The Little Scarecrow Boy, Margaret Wise Brown
 - passing on knowledge from one generation to the next
I Love You The Purplest, Barbara Joosse
 - unique qualities in two siblings
 - the love of a mother to a child
A Rainbow of Friends, P.K. Halinen
 - celebrating differences
Do You Want to Be My Friend?, Eric Carle
 - making friends
Pancakes, Pancakes, Eric Carle
 - being helpful results in good things
Swimmy, Leo Lionni
 - teamwork and strength in differences
Rainbow Fish, M.Pfister
 - cautionary tale of selfishness and vanity
Amazing Grace, Mary Hoffman
 - positive message of self-affirmation
Frederick, Leo Lionni
 - respecting others' differences, mediation and imagination
It's Mine, Leo Lionni
 - selfishness
Peter's Chair, Ezra Jack Keats
 - sharing with siblings
Ruby In Her Own Time, Jonathan Emmett
 - self esteem, late bloomers
The Lion and the Mouse, Bernadette Watts
 - helping others
 - differences
The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper
 - endurance and seeing a task to its finish
 - also the engine (hero) is a girl in this story!
The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown
 - accepting positive boundaries
 - the love of a mother
 - trust
The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
 - staying true to ones self
 - uniqueness in individuals
 - I love to read this with an accent and roll my "rrrr"s :)



  1. There are so many good children's books out there. I often ask myself what I would do without them when I'm teaching... well, probably the same as now: Make my own. ^^


  2. Thanks for this great resource!

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