Words Are Not for Hurting, by Elizabeth Verdick (Read to 1st & 2nd Graders)
The older children get, the more words they know and can use—including hurtful words. This book teaches children that their words belong to them: They can think before they speak, then choose what to say and how to say it. It also explores positive ways to respond when others use unkind words and reinforces the importance of saying “I’m sorry.
Just Kidding, by Trudy Ludwig (Read to 3rd - 5th Graders)
A rare look at emotional bullying among boys from the best-selling author of My Secret Bully.D.J.'s friend Vince has a habit of teasing D.J. and then saying, Just kidding!" as if it will make everything okay. It doesn't, but D.J. is afraid that if he protests, his friends will think he can't take a joke. With the help of his father, brother, and an understanding teacher, D.J. progresses from feeling helpless to taking positive action, undermining the power of two seemingly harmless words. Trudy Ludwig takes another look at relational aggression, the use of relationships to manipulate and hurt others, this time from the boy's point of view.
Fire on the Mountain, by Jane Kurtz.
Challenged by his master to spend a bitter-cold night alone in the mountains, an Ethiopian boy bets his future that he will succeed. And he does, warmed only by the sight of a distant fire. When his master refuses to recognize the boy's victory, the boy and his sister decide to beat the rich man at his own game.
We read this book in conjunction with a special assembly where this story was performed as a play.
Celebrations of Light by Nancy Luenn
Long ago, people found a way to light the darkness. They built fires to keep warm and cook their food. They lit torches to drive away danger. To help them see at night, they learned to make candles and lanterns. Light was so important in their lives that they came to use it in worship and in celebrations.
From a Brazilian New Year's celebration to the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, Celebrations of Light circles the year and the globe. The text and paintings highlight twelve festivals, showing the diverse ways in which people around the world use light as a major part of their celebrations. In each of these holidays, light plays a significant role, marking and brightening special days.
The students then thought about the 'internal light' they let shine through to others. This is known as their positive character traits.
October - November
We focused on how we are all different and that makes our world more interesting. Even though we are all different and have different talents that make us unique, we are all the same on the inside. We each have hearts, love, joy, sadness, and other feelings.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
"Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are just like you."
September - October
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.