An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

60 Children's Books About Honesty and Trustworthiness

Searching for a list of the best kids books about honesty?

William Shakespeare said: “No legacy is so rich as honesty,” and we’re inclined to agree with him. While sometimes it may seem easier to lie, teaching our children (and showing them by example) that telling the harder truth is far better in the long run than telling the initially easy lie is a powerful lesson that will serve them well throughout life . . . but it’s a hard thing to do when it seems like negative consequences so often immediately follow a truth-telling (especially when there was wrongdoing involved!). We’ve created a list of the best kids books about honesty to help illustrate the importance of honesty both short and long term and the inner satisfaction we get if nothing else.

While we generally prefer more lighthearted and clever commentaries on honesty (such as “The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His Grrrr”) to books that are more directly moralizing (such as “Telling the Truth, a Book about Lying”), we’ve included both types of books on this list to give you the full range of tools. Looking for a book about lying for a 10 year old? Try reading “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” and use it to jumpstart a conversation on the difference between creatively using your imagination to tell a story and lying. Technically it’s a book about lying and stealing, but because you won’t discover that until the final page (and it takes an extremely light-hearted approach), you may find it gives you a shared framework in a fun way and gets your conversation started on a good note.

Honesty is a quality that is important (and issues with it, unfortunately, are prevalent) starting with toddlers and continuing on through elementary-age kids, tweens, teenagers and finally adults, so this list includes titles from a range of difficulties. Board and picture books aren’t just for young children, however, and their powerful tales of lying and stealing, honesty and trustworthiness, can speak to the soul through their silly rhyming and playful illustrations in ways a sermon or even a more reading-level appropriate book may struggle to do. It turns out that the best books about honesty for kids can also be the best books about honesty for tweens and for adults, don’t you think?

Top 10 Books About Honesty

#1
Add to list
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning, and it doesn't pays off to be dishonest.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?
#2
Add to list
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written & illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Bear meets sandwich, adventure ensues. . . . A sly classic-in-the-making for fans of Jon Klassen, Peter Brown, and Mo Willems. By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you. It all started with the bear . . . So begins Julia Sarcone-Roach’s delicious tale of a bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale. The wonderfully told story, spectacular illustrations, and surprise ending make this Julia Sarcone-Roach’s best book to date. You’ll want to share it with your friends (and keep a close eye on your lunch).
#3
Add to list
Tricky
Written & illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs
#4
Add to list
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
Written & illustrated by Laura Rankin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love that this story has a wonderful message of how it takes courage to be honest, and how even if we make a mistake, we can rectify it and feel better. It teaches why lying is bad without being to blatant or preachy. The story is fun, and I think it does a great job of helping children identify resulting feelings from both dishonesty and honesty.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Laura Rankin touches on an important childhood issue of lying with gentleness and humor, offering a reassuring look at how standing up for the truth can help cut even the biggest mistake down to size. Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there's one little problem: It isn't hers. Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?
#5
Add to list
Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.
#6
Add to list
The Empty Pot
Written & illustrated by Demi
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a fantastic story about the courage it takes to be honest sometimes, as well as the worth of the truth. The illustrations date the book but are still enjoyable and fit well with the books setting, giving it an air of folklore that fits the instructive but not grating moralizing message.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Empty Pot is Demi's beloved picture book about an honest schoolboy A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. "Whoever can show me their best in a year's time," he proclaimed, "shall succeed me to the throne!" Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Demi's exquisite art and beautifully simple text show how Ping's embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded. An IRA-CBC Children's Choice. An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."
#7
Add to list
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by Giselle Potter
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is definitely on the longer side but it takes a stab at the importance of not only telling the truth but also telling it at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons! The illustrations are fun and stylized and I appreciate the diversity of the characters.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
If telling the truth is the right thing to do, why is the whole world mad at Libby? “Tell the truth and shame the devil,” Libby’s mama has told her. So whatever is Libby doing wrong? Ever since she started telling only the truth, the whole world seems to be mad at her. First it’s her best friend, Ruthie Mae, who gets upset when Libby tells all their friends that Ruthie Mae has a hole in her sock. Then Willie gives her an ugly look when she tells the teacher he hasn’t done his homework. It seems that telling the truth isn’t always so simple. Children will sympathize with Libby as she struggles to figure out that even though it’s always wrong to tell a lie, there’s a right and a wrong way to tell the truth. Giselle Potter’s naively stubborn illustrations perfectly capture this humorous and poignant story by award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack.
#8
Add to list
A Day's Work
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Ronald Himler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
#9
Add to list
Little Croc's Purse
Written & illustrated by Lizzie Finlay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
When Little Croc and his friends find a purse filled with money, they must decide whether to spend the money or turn in the purse.
#10
Add to list
Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Written & illustrated by Berkeley Breathed
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The cadence of this book is so fun to listen to, and while it's full of ridiculously big fibs, the consequences for fibbing are equally ridiculous and add humor to the message that fibbing is wrong. I also love the element of sibling relationships—both the ups and the downs.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-18
Edwurd's little sister comes to the rescue when Edwurd's humongous fib lands him in trouble with a three-eyed alien from another galaxy.
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Honesty and...

Books About Honesty and Lying

Add to list
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written & illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Bear meets sandwich, adventure ensues. . . . A sly classic-in-the-making for fans of Jon Klassen, Peter Brown, and Mo Willems. By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you. It all started with the bear . . . So begins Julia Sarcone-Roach’s delicious tale of a bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale. The wonderfully told story, spectacular illustrations, and surprise ending make this Julia Sarcone-Roach’s best book to date. You’ll want to share it with your friends (and keep a close eye on your lunch).
Add to list
The Empty Pot
Written & illustrated by Demi
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a fantastic story about the courage it takes to be honest sometimes, as well as the worth of the truth. The illustrations date the book but are still enjoyable and fit well with the books setting, giving it an air of folklore that fits the instructive but not grating moralizing message.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Empty Pot is Demi's beloved picture book about an honest schoolboy A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. "Whoever can show me their best in a year's time," he proclaimed, "shall succeed me to the throne!" Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Demi's exquisite art and beautifully simple text show how Ping's embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded. An IRA-CBC Children's Choice. An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."
Add to list
A Day's Work
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Ronald Himler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
Honorable Mentions
Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big book
Add to list
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... book
Add to list
The Berenstain Bears and the Truth book
Add to list
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf book
Add to list
  1. Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big - The Book Snob Mom -

    The cadence of this book is so fun to listen to, and while it's full of ridiculously big fibs, the consequences for fibbing are equally ridiculous and add humor to the message that fibbing is wrong. I also love the element of sibling relationships—both the ups and the downs.

  2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... - First, some giant ants steal breakfast. Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest? From Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator team behind I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . comes a fast-paced, actionpacked, laugh-out-loud story about finding the way to school despite the odds—and the unbelievable oddness!

  3. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth - This classic Berenstain Bears story is a perfect way to teach children about the importance of honesty! Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. When Mama goes to the market, Brother and Sister play soccer in the house . . . and end up breaking a lamp! When Mama asks them what happened, they tell her a series of whoppers that just get bigger and bigger. Will they ever tell her the truth?

  4. Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf - Big Bad Wolf’s first visit to his local library (as related in Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf) was such a success that he returns to tell his version of “The Three Little Pigs.” His outrageous spin on the tale draws skeptical remarks from his audience: “Isn’t that wolf’s nose getting longer?” asks Pinocchio. “It’s a cooked-up, half-baked tale,” snaps the Gingerbread Boy. And “Tell the truth, B.B. Wolf!” squeal the Three Little Pigs. Caught in his own lie, B.B. explains that he is a reformed villain: “Now I’m begging on my knees, Little Pigs, forgive me, please!” How B.B. turns his bad old deed into a good new one provides a happy ending to this fun-to-read fractured fairytale.

Want to see 13 more books about honesty and lying ?

How about books about lying?

Books About Honesty and Feelings And Emotions

Add to list
Tricky
Written & illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs
Add to list
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by Giselle Potter
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is definitely on the longer side but it takes a stab at the importance of not only telling the truth but also telling it at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons! The illustrations are fun and stylized and I appreciate the diversity of the characters.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
If telling the truth is the right thing to do, why is the whole world mad at Libby? “Tell the truth and shame the devil,” Libby’s mama has told her. So whatever is Libby doing wrong? Ever since she started telling only the truth, the whole world seems to be mad at her. First it’s her best friend, Ruthie Mae, who gets upset when Libby tells all their friends that Ruthie Mae has a hole in her sock. Then Willie gives her an ugly look when she tells the teacher he hasn’t done his homework. It seems that telling the truth isn’t always so simple. Children will sympathize with Libby as she struggles to figure out that even though it’s always wrong to tell a lie, there’s a right and a wrong way to tell the truth. Giselle Potter’s naively stubborn illustrations perfectly capture this humorous and poignant story by award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack.
Add to list
A Bike Like Sergio's
Written by Maribeth Boelts & illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
When Ruben, who longs to have a bike like his friend Sergios that his family cannot afford, finds money in a grocery store, he has to make a tough decision about what to do with it.
Honorable Mentions
Olive Becomes Famous (and Hopes She Can Become Un-Famous) book
Add to list
Found book
Add to list
Penny and Her Marble book
Add to list
Sir Tim Has a Secret book
Add to list
  1. Olive Becomes Famous (and Hopes She Can Become Un-Famous) - Olive is going to be in a commercial! The only problem is that Olive can’t land the gymnastics stunt for it, and she is afraid to tell the truth. Meanwhile, her cross-country pen pal, Molly, has started taken acting classes and is super jealous of Olive, but doesn’t want to tell her. Molly goes on a mission to get on a commercial, too, with her new friend from class. Follow the secrets and threatened friendship through reading the jealous emails and alternating first-person points of view to discover Olive’s plan to make everything right.

  2. Found - A wordless picture book about what we lose, what we find, and what we give back. Jenn’s beloved dog was lost sometime ago. Long enough that she has given up the search. But she still misses her friend. One day she finds a lost dog. She takes him in and despite a rocky start, she grows to love him. Until she spots his picture on a missing poster. His name is Roscoe, and he’s someone else’s best friend. Jenn knows she should return Roscoe, but she really doesn’t want to. Will Jenn do the right thing? Or will she keep this new dog she’s grown to love so much?

  3. Penny and Her Marble - Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes’s award-winning Penny returns in the third easy-to-read story about a sweet and curious mouse, perfect for fans Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Chrysanthemum. When Penny spots a marble in Mrs. Goodwin’s front yard, she picks it up, puts it in her pocket, and takes it home. It’s a beautiful marble—it’s big, shiny, blue, smooth, and fast, and Penny loves it. But does the marble really belong to Penny? Penny and Her Marble was named a 2014 Geisel Honor book by the American Library Association. This annual award, given to the most distinguished books for beginning readers, is named for the world-renowned children’s author Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. Kevin Henkes is a master at creating beautifully illustrated books that resonate with young children. The Penny books are new classics for beginning readers and will appeal to fans of Frog and Toad, Little Bear, and Henry and Mudge. Don’t miss Penny’s newest adventures in Penny and Her Sled, coming this fall!

  4. Sir Tim Has a Secret - Real knights are always honest. But when Sir Tim accidentally rips his cape, he tries to blame his friend Max. And when Mom leaves a strawberry shortcake on the table, he sneaks a bite. Keeping all these secrets begins to give Sir Tim a bellyache . . . A sweet and recognizable book about keeping secrets. For honest knights ages 4 and up.

Books About Honesty and Animals

Add to list
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning, and it doesn't pays off to be dishonest.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?
Add to list
Sam Tells Stories
Written by Thierry Robberecht & illustrated by Philippe Goossens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Eager to make friends, Sam decides to tell a story that isn't true in order to win his new classmates over, but when he is confronted with the truth, Sam has to set the record straight and learns an important lesson in the process.
Add to list
The Lying King
Written & illustrated by Alex Beard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-18
Can warthogs fly? Do tigers eat broccoli? For answers, follow along as Warthog lies his way to the throne in this timeless, yet most timely, Tale from the Watering Hole. Will the Truth catch up with the king? ​Find out as Alex Beard's whimsical animals come to life to illuminate real world truths for children of all ages. With a nod to Aesop and Kipling, this funny and pointed parable has lessons for everyone, from the playground to the boardroom and beyond!
Honorable Mentions
Jackalope book
Add to list
The Story Web book
Add to list
Blue Spot: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase book
Add to list
  1. Jackalope - A jackrabbit who wishes to be feared asks his fairy godrabbit for horns and becomes the first jackalope, but there’s one condition: he must not tell lies. 75,000 first printing.

  2. The Story Web - In this heartfelt magical novel, Megan Frazer Blakemore shows that how we wield stories has the power to shape the world. When Alice was little, she found a gigantic spider web deep in the forest. Her dad called it the Story Web and told her how its strands were woven from the stories that hold our world together. Years later, Alice’s dad is gone, and she’s sure it’s her fault. Now she won’t even talk about her dad and definitely doesn’t believe his farfetched stories. But when animals in town start acting strangely, she can’t ignore them. They are trying to tell her the Story Web is in danger - that the fabric of our world is breaking. The only way to mend it is to tell honest tales from the heart. Alice must confront the real reason her dad is gone, but is she strong enough to finally tell her side of the story? This magical tale of truth and honesty, integrity and intention is perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate.

  3. Blue Spot: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase - Daisy the kitten has gotten a blue spot on her new white dress. How did this happen, asks her mama. Daisy has an answer, which is anything but simple. Instead, she responds with a wonderful fantastical story that includes a blue monster and plenty of blue treats. Mama encourages Daisy to tell the truth in the end, which she does, but even Mama loves the creativity in Daisy’s first answer—and kids will, too.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Honesty and School

Add to list
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
Written & illustrated by Laura Rankin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love that this story has a wonderful message of how it takes courage to be honest, and how even if we make a mistake, we can rectify it and feel better. It teaches why lying is bad without being to blatant or preachy. The story is fun, and I think it does a great job of helping children identify resulting feelings from both dishonesty and honesty.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Laura Rankin touches on an important childhood issue of lying with gentleness and humor, offering a reassuring look at how standing up for the truth can help cut even the biggest mistake down to size. Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there's one little problem: It isn't hers. Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?
Add to list
The Big Lie
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Jake's new toy plane is missing. No one knows where it is, except Katie Woo. But Katie wants to keep the plane. What should she do?
Add to list
True (. . . Sort Of)
Written by Katherine Hannigan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds' arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can't believe who he's hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn't like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more
Honorable Mentions
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse book
Add to list
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire book
Add to list
Fancy Nancy: My Family History book
Add to list
Power Forward book
Add to list
  1. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse - A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come. Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse—the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

  2. Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - Gilbert is nervous about portraying George Washington in front of the class, and he feels even worse when he leaves his main prop at home and allows another student to take the blame.

  3. Fancy Nancy: My Family History - When Nancy has to write a report on her ancestors for school, she can’t help exaggerating a little—at first. After all, what’s wrong with making her family history sound fancier? But Nancy goes too far and has to deal with truth and consequences! Readers will sympathize with Nancy’s quandary in this engaging Fancy Nancy I Can Read story.

  4. Power Forward - From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way. For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together. His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore. As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.

Want to see books about school?

Books About Honesty and Values And Virtues

Add to list
Telling the Truth: A Book about Lying
Written by Carolyn Larsen & illustrated by Tim O'Connor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Stories to Encourage Positive Behavior in Small Children The preschool and kindergarten years are some of the most important formative years of a person's life. Habits and attitudes developed during these crucial years affect a child for the rest of his or her life. These years are also a challenging time for parents as their children test boundaries (and patience). How parents and children respond makes all the difference in the world. The Growing God's Kids series is designed to help young children understand their feelings, develop godly ways to deal with temptations, and form positive attitudes and behaviors that will serve them well in the future. In Telling the Truth, parents and children are encouraged to address lying and discover the value of telling the truth.
Add to list
Let's Be Honest
Written & illustrated by P. K. Hallinan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Introduces the concept of honesty as a young child describes why it is best to tell the truth at all times.
Add to list
Eli's Lie-O-Meter
Written by Sandra Levins & illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Mom's Choice Award for Children's Picture Books (Gold) Gelett Burgess Children's Book Honor Winner Eli knows the difference between pretending and the real facts. Pretending is what he does when he orbits the earth with Duffy, and the real facts are what actually happen. Sometimes in REAL life, keeping to the facts is hard for Eli. Eli has a knack for telling fibs and an occasional whopper. But when Eli’s dog Duffy gets banished to the backyard, Eli learns at least one reason for telling the truth! While it can be common for kids to stretch the truth, toss out fibs, or tell big whoppers, why does this frustrate parents so much? It’s helpful for parents to understand how kids experience a lie. Kids don’t really believe they are lying. Instead, the fact-stretching can be a convenient way to get out of trouble or to protect someone else from being punished. Telling lies may be a way your child can safeguard friendships. Or stretching the truth might only be a bit of fun. Enjoy this story with your children. and as they see the consequence of Eli’s fibs, they might understand the benefits of sticking to the truth. And to help you get the facts straight on fibs, lies, big lies, and whoppers, included is a Note to Parents by Mary Lamia, PhD, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who works with adults, adolescents, and preteens.
Honorable Mentions
Austin Plays Fair: A Team Dungy Story about Football book
Add to list
Being Frank book
Add to list
Pinky Promise book
Add to list
Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart book
Add to list
  1. Austin Plays Fair: A Team Dungy Story about Football - Fair Play Is Always the Right Way Austin loves playing flag football for the Trentwood Tigers. There is only one problem. His team has lost six games in a row, and he doesn’t like losing. At his next game, Austin’s teammate has a plan to trick the other team. It works, but Austin knows his team cheated to win. Coach Tony and Coach Lauren remind Austin the most important thing about football isn’t winning—it’s playing fair. When his team takes the field for their next game, will Austin choose to cheat again, or will he stand up for what’s right? What would you do if you were in Austin’s shoes? *** Join the Team! The Team Dungy series of picture books for young readers, ages 6-9, teaches character-building lessons through the familiar world of sports.

  2. Being Frank - Frank follows the motto, “Honesty is the best policy.” He tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Frank never lies to his schoolmates, he always tells the truth to adults, and he’s always honest with police officers. The balancing act of finding tact, that fine line between telling the truth and telling too much truth, is the main theme of this story, and it’s very funny—although not necessarily to his friend Dotti whose freckles remind Frank of the Big Dipper, or to the teacher who hears that her breath smells like onions, or to the principal who is told that his toupee looks like a weasel. No one is quite as impressed with Frank’s honesty as he thinks they should be. He is sweet and straightforward, and, well, very frank, but with everyone annoyed at him, Frank is now honestly unhappy. He decides to visit his confidante and pal, Grandpa Ernest, who has a history of frankness himself. With a few lessons from Grandpa, Frank begins to understand that the truth is important, but so is not being hurtful. With amusing characters and expressive artwork, this story tells the powerful message of finding the good in everything—a lesson that sends compassion and understanding to take the place of rudeness in the complex concept of truth.

  3. Pinky Promise - Five-year-old Madison didn’t mean to break the camera, but she didn’t want to get in trouble either. So when her mom asked what happened, Madison lied. With the help of her parents, Madison learns the importance of telling the truth.

  4. Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart - When Edgar, the mischievous toddler, accidentally breaks a statue while roughhousing with his sister, he must decide whether to tell their mother the truth—and Lenore must decide whether or not to tattle.

Books About Honesty and Friendship

Add to list
Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.
Add to list
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.
Add to list
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl & illustrated by Quentin Blake
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
From the author of The BFG and Matilda! Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
Honorable Mentions
Jake and Lily book
Add to list
Honey Moon Shiver book
Add to list
Good Job, Athena! book
Add to list
Double Trouble book
Add to list
  1. Jake and Lily - This is a story about me, Lily. And me, Jake. We’re twins and we’re exactly alike. Not exactly! Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me. Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood. Right. So anyway, this is a book about goobers and supergoobers bullies clubhouses true friends things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt and about figuring out who we are. We wrote this together (sort of) so you’ll get to see both sides of our story. But you’ll probably agree with my side. You always have to have the last word, don’t you? Yes!

  2. Honey Moon Shiver - “Honey Moon is in a terrible pickle. She borrowed her mother’s precious silver locket without permission and now the family heirloom has gone missing. Honey suspects it was taken by one of her best friends. She sets out to find the necklace before her mother notices it’s gone. Along the way, Honey meets Shiver, who turns out to be much more than the owner of the newest popsicle shop in Sleepy Hollow. With Shiver’s guidance and a bit of magic, Honey is able to track down the locket and learn the importance of telling the truth and the power of forgiveness.”—Amazon.com.

  3. Good Job, Athena! - After Athena ties Arachne’s shoes for her, Arachne takes the credit for Athena’s hard work. But when their friends ask Arachne to teach them how to tie their shoes, Arachne must admit the truth. So Athena comes to the rescue and teaches everybody this important skill. All is forgiven, and the girls are friends again. Conceived and crafted by Greek-mythology expert Joan Holub and illustrated by the bestselling Leslie Patricelli, this book also includes a summary of the original Arachne myth.

  4. Double Trouble - Victoria Adelman is lonely. Her best friend has moved away, leaving her to spend the summer alone. One day, on her way home from a bat mitzvah, she meets Jazzy, her next-door neighbors’ granddaughter. Tori hopes her friendless status is about to change. Later, in her garden, she meets Jazzy again, but Jazzy doesn’t recognize the filthy, smelly girl as the one she met earlier. In a moment of insecurity, Tori tells Jazzy that the girl she met before was her twin sister, Vicky. Tori is sure she can fake being that girl in the dress—it’s only for two weeks. But then Jazzy announces she’s staying with her grandparents for the school year. Tori needs to figure out what to do: come clean and lose her new friend, or live her life as a fake.

Books About Honesty and Social Themes

Add to list
Pig the Fibber
Written & illustrated by Aaron Blabey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
The world's bestselling pug is back! Pig was a pug, and I'm sorry to say, he would often tell lies just to get his own way. Pig the Pug tells lies to get what he wants and get Trevor the sausage dog in trouble. When Pig hatches a plan to get at the hidden treats in the back of the closet, his lies get Trevor thrown out of the house. Finally he's all alone with those treats. What he didn't expect was the bowling ball. Maybe this time Pig the Pug will learn his lesson.
Add to list
Kindness Makes the World Go Round
Written & illustrated by Sesame Workshop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Elmo's mom has gifted him a camera! What a wonderful surprise and generous act of kindness! "Elmo snapped a few photos, then a thought came to mind "Does Elmo know what it means to be kind? To be humble and selfless and honest and true" Elmo set off to find out just what he knew!" Journey with Elmo to find the true meaning of kindness, exploring all of the kind characters and gestures that Sesame Street has to offer and creating a beautiful scrapbook along the way!
Add to list
The Boy Who Cried Ninja
Written & illustrated by Alex Latimer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A young boy named Tim is accused of lying when he tells his parents that a ninja ate the last piece of cake and a sunburned crocodile landed on the roof, so he figures out a way to prove that he is telling the truth.
Honorable Mentions
Princess Kim and the Lie that Grew book
Add to list
Princess Kim and Too Much Truth book
Add to list
Hello, Goodbye, and a Very Little Lie book
Add to list
Liar, Liar book
Add to list
  1. Princess Kim and the Lie that Grew - Kim wants the kids at her new school to like her, so she tells a teeny, tiny, bitty lie. She says her name is really “K.I.M.”—for “Katherine Isabella Marguerite”—and that she comes from a royal family! Pretty soon all the students know there is a princess in the school. Kim wears her golden tiara from dance class and a big fancy ring she won at the arcade. Her little lie grows and grows. When a classmate invites her to a birthday party, Kim says she can’t go because her grandmother is coming to visit. But she had told the kids her grandmother was a queen. Now they all want to meet the queen. Kim is in a real bind; her lie has grown too big and it’s about ready to explode!

  2. Princess Kim and Too Much Truth - Young Kim discovers that there is a difference between being honest and always speaking the truth.

  3. Hello, Goodbye, and a Very Little Lie - Larry lies about practically everything until he meets a girl who outsmarts him.

  4. Liar, Liar - Kevin doesn’t mean to make trouble when he lies. He’s just really good at it, and it makes life so much easier. But as his lies pile up, he finds himself in big—and funny—trouble with his friends, family, and teachers. He’s got to find a way to end his lying streak—forever.

Did you enjoy our honesty book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Additional book lists you might enjoy:

Suggested Links