My Favorite Books for Elementary Classroom Lessons

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School counselors have a great opportunity to build relationships with students and to teach them valuable skills when going into the classroom. Incorporating books into classroom lessons can be a great way to keep their attention and allow characters to help you explain what you want them to know. Here are some of my favorite books to use in lessons with my elementary students.

  1. One by Kathryn Otoshi

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Book themes: kindness, bullying, including others, making friends, accepting differences

I use this book in a lesson with my Pre-K 4 students about being kind to others. Stay tuned for a post on that lesson! In the meantime, check out this classroom lesson using the book One from the Savvy School Counselor.


2. Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook

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Book themes: personal space, respecting others, good manners

My Kindergarten students LOVE this book! The teachers use the language from the book throughout the school year to encourage students to respect their classmates’ personal space, which has seemed to decrease some of those incidents.


3. What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick

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Book themes: respecting others, responsibility, following the rules, good manners

Check out my 1st grade lesson on respect using this book!



4. The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners by Jan Berenstain

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Book themes: good manners, importance of effective communication, respect, managing feelings

I read this book to my 1st grade classes, and it provides a wonderful starting point for a class discussion on good manners {there’s also a video version, which I sometimes like to use as well}. I tie in the book and discussion to my respect lesson linked above.


5. The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric

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Book themes: bullying, kindness, making friends, accepting differences

I read this book to my 3rd grade classes as a part of my bullying lesson. The kids really seem to empathize with the character in the book who is being bullied, and they admire the girl who reaches out to him. Definitely a good conversation starter with that age group.



6. Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

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Book themes: recognizing and managing feelings, friendship

First of all, The Bear Books are fantastic…all of them. I like to read this one to my youngest students, who are in Pre-K 3, when we talk about feelings.



7. Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

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Book themes: kindness, bullying, accepting differences, standing up for others

I plan on using Hooway for Wodnet Wat this school year as a part of my parent volunteer program, Reading Together {click here to read about last year’s program}. Parent volunteers will be reading this book to 1st grade students and then will facilitate an activity based on the book as a part of the program. They will be using this worksheet from School is a Happy Place.


8. Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

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Book themes: learning from mistakes, turning mistakes into good things, finding the beauty in everything

One of my favorite lessons I use with my 2nd graders is from Life on the Fly School Counselor Blog {this is one from my top 5 blogs list}, and it uses the book Beautiful Oops!. Check out the lesson here.


I’d love to hear what books you love to use in your elementary classroom lessons! Comment below with your favs!

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