Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to good behavior. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about good behavior.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.
When it comes to children’s stories about good behavior, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Squirrels Who Squabbled to popular sellers like The Secret Garden to some of our favorite hidden gems like Wonder.
We hope this list of kids books about good behavior can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Be Happy! - -
How to Cheer Up Dad - A hilarious book about parent and child relationships for fans of Ian Falconer and Jon Agee–a perfect gift idea for Father’s Day and beyond! Little Jumbo just can’t understand why his dad is having such a bad day. It couldn’t be the raisins Little Jumbo spit out at the ceiling or the bath he refused to take–after all, Little Jumbo’s dad knew he hated raisins and had already taken a bath that week! Luckily, Little Jumbo is such a thoughtful elephant that he decides to turn his dad’s bad day around with some of his–ahem, his dad’s–favorite things. How to Cheer up Dad is a standout debut featuring a charmingly oblivious little elephant with serious pluck and staying power. It turns the parent-child roles upside down is a great book for dads and the kids who make them laugh.
Caleb and Kit - From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.
The Empty Pot - -
A Day's Work - When Francisco, a young Mexican American boy, tries to help his grandfather find work, he discovers that even though the old man cannot speak English, he has something even more valuable to teach Francisco.
Maisy Goes to the Movies: A Maisy First Experiences Book - Maisy and her pals discover the magic of the big screen as they go to a movie theater for the first time. Maisy and her friends are so excited! They’re going to see a fun adventure film. With tickets and snacks at the ready, they scramble for seats and settle in for the movie to begin. Cyril’s a little afraid of the dark, but Maisy is happy to hold his hand. When Eddie enthusiastically shouts at the screen, he quickly learns a lesson in movie etiquette! After little ones share this outing with Maisy, they’ll be raring to go on their own movie-theater adventure.
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days - All kids have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes—even young superheroes! But what do they do when they’re having a bad day? Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Oh No, George! - Trusted by his owner to be a well-behaved dog while alone during the day, George finds it hard to resist the many temptations about the house, including the cake on the table, the cat, and the flower pot dirt.
The Bear Who Shared - Norris the bear has been waiting patiently for the last ripe fruit to fall from the tree. But Tulip the raccoon and Violet the mouse have too . . . although maybe not so patiently. In fact, Tulip and Violet sniff, listen to, and even hug the fruit. Norris catches the fruit when it finally falls, and because he is a wise bear, he shares it and makes two new friends. A lovely simplicity of language and gorgeous artwork make this story of one of life’s first lessons perfect for the youngest listeners.
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How about books about manners and etiquette?
Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic - Best friends Max and Marla are back in this charming spring tale of friendship and forgiveness Max and Marla know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So when the first sunny day of spring comes along, they’ve got the perfect plan—a picnic! They pack up their favorite dishes and their comfiest blanket and then they’re off to the lake. Once they settle in, Max realizes the picnic needs one more thing to be just right: a bouquet for Marla. But while he’s gone, Marla falls asleep, leaving their picnic prey to some thieving squirrels. Max returns to find their spread ruined and says it’s all Marla’s fault. But best friends can’t stay mad for long . . . Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic is another adorable ode to friendship from fan favorite Alexandra Boiger.
I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling (Charlie and Lola) - Charlie and Lola are trying their best to beat the summer heat, but things go from hot to boiling when Lola refuses to talk to her neighbor, Arnold Wolf. He accidentally knocked her ice cream to the ground and won’t apologize. Now Lola says that she will not ever, NEVER forgive him. Can Charlie help Lola change her mind?
Yasmin the Teacher - When Ms. Alex is called away from the classroom, she leaves Yasmin in charge, but the other children just ignore her and start acting silly and noisy—until Yasmin thinks up a way to motivate them to finish the math assignment, quietly.
Schools Have Rules - What rules do I need to follow at school? In Schools Have Rules, young readers learn that being part of a strong, diverse school community means raising your hand, taking turns, being kind, listening … Paired with playful yet realistic illustrations, a 1st-person student narrator shows kids best practices, focusing on character education aspects.
The Night Before Class Picture Day - In this Night Before book, kids get ready for that all-important moment of the school year: class picture day! It’s the night before class picture day, and kids all down the block are getting ready. Everyone wants to look perfect for the photo. They fix their hair, practice smiles, and choose outfits. At school the next day, they try to stay picture-perfect. Will everything look perfect for the big moment when they say, “Cheese?”
Katie and the Fancy Substitute - There is an elegant substitute teacher in class today, but Katie’s attempts to impress her keep going wrong.
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One Cool Friend - From New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo and Caldecott Medal winning illustrator David Small, comes a cool tale about an unlikely friendship. On a spontaneous visit to the aquarium, straight-laced and proper Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. When he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad was probably thinking of a toy penguin, not a real one… Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale a kid-pleaser from start to finish.
You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish - A brand new paperback title in the bestselling Rainbow Fish series! Everyone loses once in a while. But being a good sport when you lose isn’t always easy—not even for Rainbow Fish. A lighthearted look at accepting loss without losing your sparkle!
Pie Is for Sharing - A picnic, a beach, a pie cut into pieces and shared with good friends. Pie is for sharing. It starts off round, and you can slice it into as many pieces as you want. What else can be shared? A ball, of course. A tree? What about time? Through the course of one memorable Fourth of July picnic, Stephanie Ledyard and Jason Chin take young readers through the ups and downs of sharing in this lovely picture book.
The Way I Act - The Way I Act explores thirteen ways of behaving. The friendly verses and bold illustrations convey many positive ideas of how to act in a variety of situations. In the companion book, The Way I Feel, children learned that feelings come and go and simply are. A little older now, they are ready to think about the ability they have to control how things turn out. Like The Way I Feel, this book is ideal for children with autism.
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The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin - “This dreidel doesn’t work!” the father had cried. “What do you mean? How can a dreidel not work?” the shopkeeper asked. It was certainly the most beautiful spinning top the shopkeeper had ever seen, with magical golden letters on its sides. But it just would not spin for two spoiled children who insisted on owning it! Later, the shopkeeper decides to try it one last time: would it spin for another child, one who carried the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart? In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness and joy of the Hanukkah miracle will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. Included is a useful appendix that explains Hanukkah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game.
My Name Is Elizabeth! - Meet Elizabeth. She’s got an excellent pet duck, a loving granddad and a first name that’s just awesome. After all, she’s got a queen named after her! So she’s really not amused when people insist on using nicknames like ?Lizzy? and ?Beth.? She bears her frustration in silence until an otherwise ordinary autumn day, when she discovers her power to change things once and for all. In the process, Elizabeth learns about communication and respect —- and their roles in building better relationships with family and friends. The two-toned illustrations reflect the story’s energy and sass, and the comic-book-like format makes it easy to follow. The cheeky, retro drawings also keep it real —- depicting the sometimes-feisty Elizabeth as a resolutely normal kid —- whether she’s flossing her teeth or feeding her pet duck.
Saving Marty - From the award-winning author of “Ten Mile River” and “When Friendship Followed Me Home” comes a warm and heart-wrenching story of the friendship between a boy and a pig that thinks it’s a dog.
Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster - What happens when a bossy new girl tries to make everyone play by her rules? Ally-saurus is back—and ROARING louder than ever! Ally-saurus and her friends always have lots of fun playing pretend. They stomp, they roar, they dance, each in their own way. But new girl Maddie wants everyone to play by HER rules. “Monsters can’t be dinosaurs or dancers,” she insists. Worst of all, she won’t let little Petee have his teddy bear! Can Ally-saurus help Maddie understand that bossiness is no fun at all? With charm and humor, Richard Torrey teaches a gentle lesson in respecting each other’s differences . . . and playing nice.
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Alice and Greta - A bewitching tale showcasing the timeless lesson that a good deed always triumphs over a bad one, even at Miss Mildred Mildew’s School of Magic! Whatever you chant, Whatever you brew, Sooner or later Comes back to you! Alice and Greta attended the same school of magic, but they each have their own ideas about how to put their skills to the best use. Alice spends her days waving her wand to cast splendid spells. Greta only uses hers to stir up trouble. When their wands and witching styles clash, it turns out Greta should have paid more attention to those early magic lessons. An enchanting tale of two very different fates.
The Giggly Guide of How to Behave - Mind your manners! There’s more to good manners than just saying “please” and “thank you”! With 44 simple rules on how to behave, and how not to behave, this giggly guidebook shows you exactly what it means to have good manners, and what happens when you don’t follow the rules of good behavior… Kids and their parents will giggle their way through this clever and colorful guide on polite behavior, and are sure to want the companion book on how to behave at school, too!
Cody and the Rules of Life - Doing the right thing can be hard! When prized possessions start going missing, Cody gets a crash course in the most important rules of all — the rules of life. In Cody’s life, many things are hard to predict. Like why her older brother, Wyatt, is obsessed with his new bicycle called the Cobra, or why her best friend Pearl suddenly wants to trade favorite toys. Pearl says she will trust Cody with Arctic Fox because Cody is a trusty person. But Cody doesn’t want to give up her beloved Gremlin, and she regrets it as soon as she hands him over. When the Cobra goes missing, Cody has to decide for herself who is trusty and who is not. If only she had Gremlin to talk to! Surely Pearl wouldn’t mind if she secretly traded back . . . it’s not stealing if it belonged to you in the first place, right?
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Lucia Lacorte, Poor Sport - Lucia Lacorte’s gaming club meets on Fridays, but the truth is the other members are not having fun because, win or lose, Lucia is a very poor sport; a fact that is finally made clear to her when the others stop showing up, and her grandfather mimics her behavior when he wins—and loses.
Stop, Fox! - Fox talks a LOT! All the other animals are tired of hearing him talk. But Sloth doesn’t want Fox to stop talking—it helps him sleep! That’s perfect for Fox! Or is it?
Fables You Shouldn't Pay Any Attention To - In this new edition of the classic companion to Tales for the Perfect Child, Sergio Ruzzier lends his signature humor to Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Worth Van Clief’s delectably subversive fables. Genevieve is careless. Muriel is discontented. Phoebe is always putting off until tomorrow what she should be doing today. And Chester is the laziest turkey you ever heard of. Caleb and Conrad, on the other hand, are polite and kind and thoughtful and gracious and truthful. But some good that does them! If the morals you find in these pages aren’t exactly, well, moral…just don’t pay any attention to them!
Tales for the Perfect Child - Sergio Ruzzier brings his mischievous touch to a timeless favorite by Florence Parry Heide, beloved author of The Shrinking of Treehorn. This delightful new edition includes one never-before-published story. Ruby is reliable (kinda). Arthur is careful (sorta). Harry eats his carrots (though it depends on what you mean by “eat”). And just like all perfect children, Gloria helps her mother (well, that might be an exaggeration). As the eight deliciously wicked tales featured in this hilarious chapter book prove, it’s perfectly nice to be a perfect child—but where’s the fun in that?
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Love Is - Perfect for Valentine’s Day—or any tender moment—this story of a girl and a duckling who share a touching year together will melt hearts old and young. In this tenderly funny book, girl and duckling grow in their understanding of what it is to care for each other, discovering that love is as much about letting go as it is about holding tight. Children and parents together will adore this fond exploration of growing up while learning about the joys of love offered and love returned.
Mia Measures Up - Mia is being cyber-bullied, and she’s determined to find out who is responsible in the latest addition to the Cupcake Diaries series. Mia is upset when her parents tell her she’s too young to go to a concert without adult supervision. She’s old enough to help run a cupcake business! Why can’t her parents see that she’s also responsible enough to do whatever she wants? And just when she’s reached a compromise with her parents (her older brother Dan will go to the concert with her), Mia finds out she’s being cyber-bullied on social media. It’s the Cupcake Club to the rescue as they all help Mia solve her online bullying mystery!
The Purr-fect Scoop - Sierra tries to find a way to balance all of the activities in her life in this third delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series! Sierra does lots of things. She’s captain of the softball team, the director of the school play, and she’s on Student Council, but her favorite thing to do is work at the ice cream shop with her best friends Tamiko and Allie. But when her parents decide to foster three kittens and their mama, Sierra’s life gets a lot more catty! Can Sierra do it all—and maybe find homes for the cats, too?
The Thundermaker - The Thundermaker is based on Mi’kmaw artist Alan Syliboy’s spectacular mixed-media exhibit of the same name. In the book, Big Thunder teaches his son, Little Thunder, about the important responsibility he has in making thunder for his people. Little Thunder learns about his Mi’kmaw identity through his father’s teachings and his mother’s traditional stories. Syliboy’s spectacular, vibrant artwork brings the story of Little Thunder to vivid life.
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