Disclaimer: This list of resources has been compiled from a variety of sources, including my own personal library, book lists I received at counseling conferences, and from colleagues at other elementary schools. I am posting this list to give parents some possible suggestions for books that address various issues/topics. Many books could be listed under more than one category, but I tried to organize them by the predominant themes. Parents will need to preview books to determine if they are appropriate for your children’s age, developmental level, and maturity.
If you have a book suggestion (that you have found helpful) to add to this list, please email Deana Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Testing Miss Malarkey, Judy Finchler (Walker & Company, 2000). – School climate described as standardized testing window approaches Oh, the Places You'll Go (by Dr. Seuss)
- Arthur's Homework (by Marc Brown)
- Arthur's Off to School (by Marc Brown)
- Franklin Goes to School (by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
- How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up (by Trevor Romain) – Discusses a variety of simple techniques for getting homework done. Grades 4-5
- Mistakes That Worked (by Charlotte Foltz Jones and John O’Brien) – Presents the stories behind forty things that were invented or named by accident, including aspirin, Post-It notes, X rays, Frisbees, silly putty, and Velcro. Grades 3-5.
- Accidents May Happen (50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake) (by Charlotte Jones) – similar to Mistakes That Worked; use to encourage children to accept and learn from mistakes and view mistakes as part of growth process instead of something “bad”.
- Emily's Tiger (by Miriam Latimer)
- When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry (by Molly Bang)
- Where the Wild Things Are (by Maurice Sendak)
- What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger (by Dawn
- Huebner and Bonnie Matthews) – workbook designed for kids to use either with parent or independently, to help learn to manage anger
- A Volcano In My Tummy (by Eliane Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney) – workbook that has lessons and worksheets – geared to parent, teacher, or counselor
- The Very Angry Day That Amy Didn’t Have (by Lawrence Shapiro, PhD)
- SodaPop Head (by Julia Cook)
- Elbert’s Bad Word, Audrey Wood (Voyager Books/Harcourt Brace & Co, 1988). – When kids use bad language.
- Hands Are Not For Hitting (by Marieka Agassi) – Demonstrates that “hands are not for hitting” by suggesting many positive uses for them, such as saying hello, playing, creating, and helping. Grades K1.
- Now Everybody Really Hates Me (by Jane Read Martin, Patricia Marx, and Roz Chast) – Confined to her room for punishment a child muses about staying there forever. Grades 2-3.
- Pigsty (by Mark Teague) – Wendell’s room becomes very messy when pigs move in, too messy. Grades 2-3.
- Career Day, Anne Rockwell (Harper Collins, 2000). – begin a discussion about different kinds of work
- How Santa Got His Job (by Stephen Krensky)
- Young Person’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (by US Department of Labor) – resource for kids who want to learn more about possible careers (a resource book, not fiction/story).
- Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness (Conari Press, 1994).
- Everyone Makes Mistakes (by Emily Perl Kingsley)
- Alice and Greta (by Steven J. Simmons & Cyd Moore) – Two young witches use their power in opposite ways, one helping people and the other making mischief. One learns a valuable lesson about being unkind. Grades 4-5
- Amazing Grace (by Mary Hoffman & Caroline Binch) – Grace is an imaginative young girl who loves stories. When her teacher tells her class that they will be performing “Peter Pan”, Grace sets her sights on playing Peter despite comments from her peers. With the support of her family, Grace learns she can do anything when she puts her mind to it. Grades 2-3
- Because Brian Hugged His Mother (by David Rice and K. Dyble Thompson) – When Brian hugs and kisses his mother one morning, the act starts a chain reaction of kindness and consideration that spreads throughout the town and eventually comes back to him. Grades 2-3
- I Did It, I’m Sorry (by Carolyn Buehner & Mark Buehner). – A charming interactive book filled with short (one page) stories that teach manners, decision making, and problem solving skills. Grades 2-3. No Zombies Allowed (by Matt Novick) – Witch Wizzle and Witch Woddle are planning their annual party. As they prepare for the big day, they begin to uninvited monster guests. A fun ending helps the witches understand the importance of accepting others. Grades 2-3.
- The Kingdom With No Rules, No Laws and No King (by Normal Stiles) – Benjamin learned that rules and laws in his kingdom would help everyone to live a happier life. Grades 2-3.
- The Other Side (by Jacqueline Woods & E.B. Lewis) – Clover ponders the fence that separates the black side of town from the white side. Her confusion about the existing fence and her challenging it opens discussion about segregation and racism. Grades 4-5.
- Monster Manners (by Bethany Roberts & Andrew Glass) – These lovable monsters engage in a variety of behaviors that affect their young lives. Grades K-1.
- Out of the Ballpark (by Alex Rodriguez) – value of hard work, perseverance, positive self-talk, and learning from your mistakes.
Conflict (Problem-Solving), Teasing, Bullying
- Enemy Pie, Derek Munson (Chronicle Books, 2000). – Hoping that the enemy pie his father makes will help him get rid of his enemy, a little boy finds that instead, it helps him to make a new friend. Grades 23.
- Mean Jean the Recess Queen, Alexis O’Neill & Laura Huliska-Beith (Scholastic Inc, 2002). – Mean Jean is the biggest bully on the school playground until a new girl arrives and challenges Jean’s status as the Recess Queen. Grades 2-3.
- The Very Angry Day That Amy Didn’t Have (Childswork/Childsplay, 1994).
- Stop Picking On Me: A First Look at Bullying, Pat Thomas (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2000).
- ―The Zax‖ from The Sneetches & Other Stories, Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1961).
- Hooway For Wodney Wat, Helen Lester (Scholastic, 1999). – Topics of teasing, bullying, acceptance, and being different
- Trouble Talk, Trudy Ludwig (Tricycle Press, 2008).
- My Secret Bully, Trudy Ludwig (Tricycle Press, 2004).
- Peabody’s Apples, Madonna & Loren Long (Callaway, 2003). – Based on an old folk story about the power of words, the harm they can do to others, and the difficulty in recalling them.
- Simon’s Hook: A Story About Teases And Put-Downs, Karen Gedig Burnett (GR Publishing, 2000). Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1950). – Bossy/bullying, peer pressure, bragging
- Bully B.E.A.N.S., Julia Cook (National Center for Youth Issues, 2009)
- Don't Laugh at Me (by Steve Seskin & Allen Shamblin)
- Hey, Little Ant (by Phillip and Hannah Hoose) – A child is faced with a dilemma: should he squish Ant flat or let him go? Grades 2-3.
- The Araboolies of Liberty Street (by Sam Swope and Barret Root) – The kids of Liberty Street join forces to help the Araboolies when mean General Pinch orders them to move because they look different. Grades 4-5.
- The Land of Many Colors (by Klamath County YMCA Family Preschool) – Preschoolers present their views on resolving conflicts and solving problems. Grades K-1.
- Loudmouth George and the Sixth-Grade Bully (by Nancy Carlson) – After having his lunch taken from him by Big Mike, Loudmouth George and his friend Harriet teach this bully a lesson he soon won’t forget. Grades 2-3.
Divorce, Changing Families
- Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families, Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Little, Brown and Company, 1986). – 11 topics addressing current and anticipated changes for a child, plus glossary of divorce words
- She’s Not My Real Mother, Judith Vigna (Albert Whitman & Company, 1980). Boundless Grace, Mary Hoffman (Puffin Books, 1995).
- Broken Hearts…Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce, Tom Worthen, ed. (Poet Tree Press, 2001). – Contains poems by children ages 9 to 18
- Nobody Asked Me If I Wanted a Baby Sister, Martha Alexander (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1971). The New Baby (by Mercer Mayer)
- I Don’t Want to Talk About It (by Jeanie Franz Ransom, Kathryn Kunz Finney) - aimed at helping children of divorce deal with their new, difficult, and conflicting emotions. Told by a young girl whose parents have just told her they are getting a divorce, the narrative then goes through the range of the child's possible emotions, as the adults suggest how she might be feeling. She, in turn, imagines herself to be an animal that would adequately express her emotions.
Feelings, Moods, Emotions
- I Feel Orange Today, Patricia Godwin (Firefly Books Ltd., 1993). – Blends a color with feelings and examples from a child’s life experiences.
- Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Harper Collins, 2006). – “Dictionary” of character, value, and feeling words
- Sometimes I Feel Like A Mouse: A Book About Feelings, Jeanne Modesitt (Scholastic, 1992).
- Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day, Jamie Lee Curtis (Scholastic, 1998).
- When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry. . ., Molly Bang (Scholastic, 1999).
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (by Judith Viorst)
- My Many Colored Days (by Dr. Seuss)
- Mean Soup (by Betsy Everett) – Horace has had a very bad day and feels mean. His mother shares a “recipe” for some special soup to help him deal with his negative feelings. Grades K-1.
- Happy (by Roger Hargreaves) – Mr. Happy meets Mr. Miserable and helps him to become a cheerful, upbeat individual. Grades K-1.
Foster Care, Adoption
- Finding the Right Spot (by Janice Levy)
- I Miss My Foster Parents (by Stefon Herbert)
- Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born (Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell)
- Lilly’s Secret, Miko Imai (Candlewick, 1997). – Clues to recognizing “true” friends. My Friend Rabbit, Eric Rohmann (Square Fish, 2002). – Valuing friends in spite of his/her shortcomings; for younger children.
- (The Original) Warm Fuzzy Tale, Claude Steiner (Jalmar Press, 1977). – Positive comments, giving compliments
- Clifford Makes a Friend (by Normal Bridwell)
- The Friendship Garden (Disney's Out & About with Pooh series)
- Charlie the Caterpillar (by Dom Deluise and Christopher Santoro) – Charlie, the Caterpillar, attempts to make friends with a variety of animal groups, only to be rejected each time because of how he looks. The following spring, Charlie transforms the way he looks and how he views friendship. Grades K-1.
- Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores (by James Howe and Amy Walrod) – Three mice, Horace, Morris, and Dolores are best friends that do everything together. However, one day Horace and Morris join a boys only club leaving Dolores behind. Grades 2-3.
- Hurty Feelings (by Helen Lester and Lynn Musinger) – It looks like trouble when Fragility, a hippopotamus whose feelings are easily hurt, meets Rudy, a rude elephant, on the soccer field. Grades K-1.
- Rosie and Michael (by Judith Viorst and Lorna Tomeii) – A classic story that explores the nuances of friendship through the voices of two best friends, Rosie and Michael. Grades 2-3.
- Yo! Yes? (by Chris Raschka) – An outgoing boy tries very hard to befriend a shy child. By the end of the story, both boys decide to become friends. Grades K-1.
- The Invisible Mistakecase (by Charise Mericle Harper) - Charlotte, an alligator, calls her friend Kate, a pink poodle, a big pink baby and then feels regretful. Later, her grandfather tells her about the invisible suitcase that he keeps with him to remind him of the mistakes he has made, recounting a story about how he stole a piece of pie when he was a boy and then lied about it. After experiencing stomachaches and bad dreams, he finally confessed to his mother and mentally placed the dessert in his mistakecase as a reminder to always tell the truth. The next day, Charlotte totes along her own invisible case when she goes to apologize to Kate.
Grief and Loss
- Badger’s Parting Gifts, Susan Varley (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1984). – To help identify what remains with us after someone is gone.
- Grief is Like a Snowflake (by Julia Cook, 2016)
- Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way To Explain Death To Children, Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingpen (Bantam Books, 1983).
- Tear Soup: A Recipe For Healing After Loss, Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen (Grief Watch, 1999). The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Judith Viorst (Aladdin, 1971). – any significant loss include that of a pet.
- The Invisible String (by Patrice Karst)
- The Hurt (by Teddi Doleski)
- When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death [Dino Life Guides for Families] (by Marc Brown and Laurene Krasny Brown, 1998)
- When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief [Drawing Out Feelings Series] (by Marge Heegaard, 1996) – This is an interactive book, children can draw or collage in the pages.
- The Memory Box (by Kirsten McLaughlin, 2001)
- Mama, Eleanor Schick (Marshall Cavendish, 2002). – For loss of a parent.
- How It Feels When A Parent Dies, Jill Krementz, ed. (Alfred A. Knopf, 1981). – Writings of children ages 7 to 16
Sense of Self, Self-Esteem
- Amazing Grace, Mary Hoffman (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991).
- A Bad Case of Stripes, David Shannon (The Blue Sky Press, 1998). – Importance of being “yourself”, respecting differences
- Chrysanthemum, Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, 1992). – Chrysanthemum loves her name until She starts going to school and the other children make fun of it. Grades K-2
- Don’t Feed The Monster On Tuesdays: The Children’s Self-Esteem Book, Adolph Moser (Landmark Editions, 1991).
- I Like Me, Nancy Carlson (Puffin Books, 1988).
- If Only I Had A Green Nose, Max Lucado (Crossways Books, 2002).
- I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off A Little Self-Esteem, Jamie Lee Curtis (Joanna Cotler Books, 2002). – This story helps children understand the key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you. Grades K-1.
- The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper (Platt & Munk, 1930). ―The Sneetches‖ from The Sneetches & Other Stories, Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1961). You Are Special: A Story For Everyone, Max Lucado (Crossway Books, 1993).
- It's Okay to Be Different (by Todd Parr)
- Eggbert, The Slightly Cracked Egg (by Tom Ross & Rex Barron) – Eggbert is a popular artist in the fridge until a crack is discovered in his shell. The other foods decide to banish him from his residence and his adventure to find a new and welcoming home begins. Grades 2-3.
- Shrinking Violet (by Cari Best and Giselle Potter) – Violet is very shy and hates for anyone to look at her in school. Finally she comes out of her shellw hen she is cast as Lady Space in a school play about the solar system. She then saves the production from disaster. Grades 2-3.
- Tacky the Penguin (by Helen Lester & Lynn Munsinger) – A friendly “odd bird” penguin reminds us of the advantages of being an individual. Grades K-1.
- The Sissy Duckling (by Harvey Fierstein & Henry Cole) – Elmer is different from the other boy ducklings. In the story he proves to the important ducklings in his life that a sissy can be a real hero.
- Grades 2-3.
- Too Many Daves (in The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss) – Mrs. McCave has twenty-three sons and names them all Dave. She soon realizes this is not a good idea. Can lead to discussion about why a child was given his/her name. Grades K-1.
- The Pain and the Great One (by Judy Blume & Irene Trivas) – The Pain and the Great One each share with the reader why they feel their parents love the other sibling more. Grades 2-3.
- Incredible Me! (by Kathy Appelt and Brian g. Karas) – A spirited, outgoing child describes all the wonderful qualities that make her special and unique. Grades K-1.
- ABC, I Like Me (by Nancy Carlson) – Delightful childlike characters relate the letters of the alphabet to positive qualities about themselves. Grades K-1.
Sexual Abuse Prevention
- It’s My Body: A Book To Teach Young Children How To Resist Uncomfortable Touch, Lory Freeman (Parenting Press, Inc., 1982). – for young children.
- The Right Touch: A Read-Aloud Story To Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, Sandy Kleven (Illumination Arts, 1997).
- I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide to keeping your private parts private (by Kimberly King and Sue Rama) No More Secrets For Me (by Oralee Wachter and Jane Aaron) – recommended by the Good Touch Bad Touch curriculum
Stress & Anxiety
- Everybody Needs A Rock, Byrd Baylor (Aladdin Paperbacks, 1974). – Encourages children to be brave when anxious.
- Don’t Pop Your Cork On Monday!: The Children’s Anti-Stress Book, Adolph Moser (Landmark Editions, Inc., 1988).
- The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
- Franklin is Lost (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
- The Kissing Hand (by Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper, and Nancy M. Leak) – A little raccoon and his mother show us how love and kindness can reassure us and help us in new (and sometimes scary) situations – great for first day of school. Grades K-1.
- Wemberly Worried (by Kevin Henkes) – Wemberly can be used at the beginning of the school year to help students become more comfortable starting school. It can also be used to discuss the counselor’s role in school. Grades K-1.
- Indigo Ocean Dreams: 4 Children’s Stories Designed to Decrease Stress, Anger, and Anxiety while Increasing Self-Esteem and Self- Awareness (by Lori Lite) – audio CD; you can also get the books individually to read along with the CD.
- The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids: Help for Children to Cope with Stress, Anxiety, and Transitions (by Matthew McKay, Lawrence Shapiro, and Robin Sprague)
- My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has A Disease: A Child’s View—Living With Addiction, revised 3rd edition, Claudia Black (MAC Publishing, 1997).
- After A Suicide: A Workbook For Grieving Kids, (The Dougy Center for Grieving Children, 2001). A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story For Children Who Have Witnessed Violence Or Trauma, Margaret M. Holmes (Magination Press, 2000).
- When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness: Children Can Learn to Cope with Loss and Change (by Marge Heegaard, 1992) - This is an interactive book, children can draw or collage in the pages.