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Honesty: Books For Kids

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!). This is a great collection of books for illustrating the importance of honesty both short and long term and the inner satisfaction we get if nothing else.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#1
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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?

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich book
#2
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written and 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).

Caleb and Kit book
#3
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.

Tricky book
#4
Tricky
Written and illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie book
#5
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie
Written and illustrated by Laura Rankin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

Ruthie loves tiny things and when she finds a tiny camera on the playground she is very happy, but after she lies and says the camera belongs to her, nothing seems to go right. 25,000 first printing.

  1. The Honest-to-Goodness Truth - 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.

  2. The Empty Pot - 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... book
#10
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School...
Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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!

Little Croc's Purse book
#11
Little Croc's Purse
Written and 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.

Eli's Lie-O-Meter book
#12
Eli's Lie-O-Meter
Written by Sandra Levins and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Eli learns about the consequences of his fibs and the value of telling the truth. Includes note to parents.

Sam Tells Stories book
#13
Sam Tells Stories
Written by Thierry Robberecht and 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.

Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf book
#14
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf
Written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by J. Otto Seibold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When Big Bad Wolf, who now lives at the Villain Villa Retirement Residence, is invited to tell his story at the library, he faces the truth about what he did to the three little pigs and decides to make amends.

  1. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth - Brother and Sister Bear learn how important it is to tell the truth after they accidentally break Mama Bear's most favorite lamp.

  2. Let's Be Honest - Introduces the concept of honesty as a young child describes why it is best to tell the truth at all times.

  3. A Bike Like Sergio's - 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.

  4. A Big Fat Enormous Lie - An empty cookie jar and a small boy with a problem lead to one big fat enormous lie.

True (. . . Sort Of) book
#19
True (. . . Sort Of)
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

The Boy Who Cried Wolf book
#20
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Written by B. G. Hennessy and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"Nothing ever happens here," the shepherd thinks. But the bored boy knows what would be exciting: He cries that a wolf is after his sheep, and the town's people come running. How often can that trick work, though? B.G. Hennessy's retelling of this timeless fable is infused with fanciful whimsy through Boris Kulikov's hilarious and ingenious illustrations. This tale is sure to leave readers grinning sheepishly.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book
#21
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl and 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!

Jake and Lily book
#22
Jake and Lily
Written and illustrated by Jerry Spinelli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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!

Honey Moon Shiver book
#23
Honey Moon Shiver
Written and illustrated by Joyce Magnin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

"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.

  1. The Emperor's New Clothes - A young boy who wishes for the return of dinosaurs imagines how useful they would be.

  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. 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.

  4. The Big Lie - 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?

The Lying King book
#28
The Lying King
Written and 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!

Being Frank book
#29
Being Frank
Written and illustrated by Donna W. Earnhardt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

Pinky Promise book
#30
Pinky Promise
Written by Vanita Braver and illustrated by Cary Pillo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When five-year-old Madison drops her mother's expensive camera on the floor she is afraid to tell the truth about what happened, but she soon discovers that lying only makes her feel worse.

Jackalope book
#31
Jackalope
Written by Janet Stevens and illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

The Story Web book
#32
The Story Web
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

  1. Kindness Makes the World Go Round - 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!

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

  3. Princess Kim and the Lie that Grew - After new girl Kim tells her classmates she is from a royal family, her lie grows and grows.

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

Liar, Liar book
#37
Liar, Liar
Written and illustrated by Gary Paulsen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fourteen-year-old Kevin is very good at lying and doing so makes life easier, but when he finds himself in big trouble with his friends, family, and teachers, he must find a way to end his lies forever.

Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib book
#38
Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib
Written and illustrated by Darren Farrell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Having fibbed about stealing his best friend's popcorn at the circus, Doug-Dennis the sheep finds himself carried far away to a place filled with lies and liars of all sorts and must discover a way to return.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire book
#39
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Written by Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Ronald Himler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!