The Empty Pot by Demi
This book teaches children that they are in charge of their own behavior, and that they can make positive choices even when others make the wrong choices. Children also learn that it's better to be honest, even if that means sacrificing. Finally, children come to understand that integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
Dare! by Erin Frankel
This book gives kids the language and courage to stand up for what's right. It also teaches kids to take responsibility for their own mistakes and that when mistakes are made it's okay to admit it, apologize, and try to make things better. It is an anti-bullying book that prepares kids to not just stand by, but to take action.
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
This beautifully illustrated book is a book that teaches self-esteem and appreciation of diversity. The character and her mother take a walk through their diverse neighborhood looking for all of the different colors of skin and comparing them to things that children will delight in. It teaches respect for others, love of self, and encourages kids to celebrate what makes us all unique.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
This touching classic tells the story of the love between a tree and a growing boy, while sharing with children the joy of giving to others. The book teaches children that by helping others, we also help ourselves because of how good it feels to be helpful. Parents can use this story to teach young children to be aware of different feelings and emotions, to teach older children how to manage strong emotions, and it can be used to start conversations about ways parents and kids can work together to help others.
The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney
This story teaches the principle of hard work and its rewards. Parents can use the book to teach children the importance of setting goals, working towards goals, and staying focused even when there are distractions. At the end of the book, some of the characters learn that there are uncomfortable consequences for making poor choices, which parents can use to teach kids about choices and consequences. Parents can also have kids learn to practice the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated) by coming up with alternate endings to the book.