As parents, we dedicate that few minutes before bedtime to set off with our little ones on an imaginative adventure by reading a bedtime story to them. Besides working its magic to inspire your kids’ language, imagination and creative thinking skills, did you know that there are books that double up as a tool to teach them positive values too?

From empathy to fairness and honesty, here are some books that focus on character building in kids:

1. A Chair for my Mother

books that teach character in kids

Teach your kids about the values of hard work and perseverance, as well as the importance of saving with this story of a young girl named Rosa whose home was destroyed in a fire. Since the fire, there had not been a proper place for her mother and grandmother to rest comfortably in their new home. In a bid to turn their lives around, Rosa, her mother and grandmother saved their spare coins in a jar to buy a much-needed easy chair for the whole family to enjoy.

Author: Vera B. Williams

Publisher: Greenwillow Books


2. Giraffes Can’t Dance

books that teach character in kids

This is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who yearns for nothing more than to be able to dance. But there are several obstacles standing in his way: His knees are crooked and his legs are thin.

Predictably, all the other animals make fun of him when he hits the dance floor at the annual “Jungle Dance”. At the verge of giving up, a friendly cricket appears to give him words of encouragement. In no time, he managed to find his groove and was prancing and dancing the night away.

If you’re looking for a story to inspire your kids and let them know that nothing is impossible if they put their hearts and minds to it, you can definitely count on this book to help you out.

Author: Giles Andreae

Publisher: Cartwheel Books


3. Piglet and Papa

books that teach character in kids

Piglet loves playing with her father. She likes to sit on his head, bounce on his belly, and chew on his tail. But when she bites a little too hard one day, Papa yells and chases Piglet out of the sty.

Feeling hurt, she wanders around the barnyard and asks the other animals, “Do you love me?” The animals told her that yes, they love her – but there is someone who loves her the most: Her Papa, of course.

Upon returning home that night, Papa gives Piglet a big hug and tells her that he loves her “best of all”. This story helps parents explain to their kids about forgiveness and to reassure them that their love is constant and everlasting.

Author: Margaret Wild

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams


4. The Boy Who Cried Wolf

books that teach character in kids

Most of us probably learned some very important lessons from reading this all-time favourite fable while growing up.

To bring some excitement to his mostly-uneventful life, a young shepherd makes a bold move to stir things up in his town. He does so by crying out that a wolf is chasing his sheep, although that is far from the truth.

The kind villagers rushed to help him, but soon realises that they’ve been tricked. The boy does this several times, but when three hungry wolves actually appear, the villagers ignore his cries – leaving him with zero sheep at the end.

Your little readers will learn an important lesson on honesty through the actions of the young shepherd in this story.

Author: B. G. Hennessy

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers


5. The Crayon Box That Talked

books that teach character in kids

One fine day, a little girl buys a box of disgruntled crayons – each colour thinks that they are superior to the rest. But when she uses each and every one of them to create an amazing artwork, the crayons realise how wonderful they all can be if they put their differences aside and work together as a team.

This endearing story teaches your kids about the values of cooperation, teamwork, and to acknowledge that everyone is unique in their own special way despite their differences.

Author: Shane Derolf

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers


6. The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

books that teach character in kids

A little red hen decides to make pizza one day, but soon realises that she does not have the ingredients and materials needed. When she asks her neighbours for help, she gets a flat “Not I” response from all of them.

So, off the little red hen goes to get all the things needed for the pizza. Despite their resistance at the start, her neighbours finally came through at the end to help her out in a surprising way. Your kids will learn a great deal about how being helpful goes a long way in making a difference in the lives of others.

Author: Philomen Sturges

Publisher: Puffin Books


7. The Loudest Roar

books that teach character in kids

Meet Clovis, an adorable little tiger with the loudest roar in the whole jungle – a trait that he never fails to make known to the rest. Apart from his roar, he’s also adept at hiding, which is where the trouble begins. Clovis thinks it’s super fun to scare his friends by roaring to his heart’s content and prancing on them out of the blue. But he soon learns that it’s not much fun when you’re the person that’s being pounced on and roared at.

This book carefully captures the lesson about “doing unto others” and teaches kids the importance of treating everyone around them with kindness and respect.

Author: Thomas Taylor

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books


8. The Very Busy Spider

books that teach character in kids

From the author of the popular “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, this book tells the tale of a little spider who tries her best to focus on spinning her web around a fence post. Despite being constantly interrupted by her animal friends, she remains focused on her goal of completing the web.

This powerful story sets a good example to kids about the importance of staying focused and how persistence goes a long way in helping us reach our goals.

Author: Eric Carle

Publisher: Philomel Books


Have you come across other books that come with lessons on good values and character for kids? Share your recommended titles by leaving a comment below 🙂