Building Character Through Children’s Literature
The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce
At Parent Night, you heard me say that we would be using children’s literature and book clubs to engage students in discussions about their values and treatment of others. To quote Dr. Chris Harper, Lower School Guidance Counselor, we are trying to take the Character Tree words “off the wall” and show students what it looks like to live them.
I wanted to share with you some of the books we have selected to share with students at the beginning of the year to help support our efforts around building character and promoting an ideal learning community here at Ravenscroft.
The book of choice for our new pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students is one of my favorites, and one that I read to all our students last year: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. This fun-filled book teaches children to remain positive and joyful even when challenges present themselves. Pete “steps in” many unpleasant things while wearing his new white shoes that he LOVES, and he just keeps walking along singing his song, because as Pete says, “It’s all good!”
Hey Little Ant is the book that has been read to all students in grades 1-5. This book is a thought-provoking book with several messages that can be gleaned from it. The two main characters are a large kid and a little ant. The boy is about to step on the ant, and he makes the assumption that the ant is so tiny and doesn’t look real, he’s so big and the ant is so small, he doesn’t think it’ll hurt all. Some of the lessons we have focused on with this book include, treating others the way you want to be treated, realizing that everyone has a different perspective on similar situations, and size, age, ability, etc. do not give anyone permission to use that power in a negative way towards others.There is a great blog that has several resources that support this book and can be used by parents to reinforce and extend the discussions at home.
On September 5, our fourth graders had the opportunity to hear visiting author Mike Lupica speak about his books and his passion for developing in young people the desire to reach for their dreams.
We are getting ready to offer optional lunch book discussions with our fifth graders who choose to read a new book called Wonder. This book is about a remarkable fifth grader named Auggie who has a facial deformity. Sadly, Auggie is the victim of bullying due to his appearance, and readers experience his heartache and joy as he navigates the tricky world of fifth grade. There is a great NPR Interview about the book that provides some additional information about this heart-warming story.
Two other books that I plan to share with all students during my next round of classroom visits are Spoon and The Crayon Box that Talked. Both books share a similar message about celebrating what makes us special and different, and using those traits to unite us rather than separate us. To truly be an inclusive community, all members need to feel comfortable and confident with who they are and what they represent, while also knowing that the other members share this same feeling about them.
All of these book titles were recommendations from parents, faculty members, or students who read this blog. Please share any additional titles in the comments that you think the Ravenscroft community would benefit from reading.