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Lying: Books For Kids

“Anything is better than lies and deceit!”
-- Leo Tolstoy

Honesty is one of the big lessons we want our children to learn, and there are a lot of fabulous children's book to help demonstrate that honesty is the best policy. From funny stories to touching tales, these inspiring and important books are definitely going to become favorites for your littles and you!

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich book
#1
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Grammy

This delightful story is told in absolute opposition to Occam's razor. While the simplest explanation may be the most likely, it can't possibly be so entertaining. On pages drenched with color, we witness the bear's alleged antics; he has so much character and personality. Keep an eye open for the visual jokes. You will want to read this one again and again.

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).

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth book
#2
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth
Written by Patricia C McKissack and illustrated by Giselle Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

The Empty Pot book
#3
The Empty Pot
Written and illustrated by Demi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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."

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire book
#4
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Written and illustrated by Diane DeGroat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

A Day's Work book
#5
A Day's Work
Written by Eve Bunting and 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.

  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.

Eli's Lie-O-Meter book
#10
Eli's Lie-O-Meter
Written by Sandra Levins and 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.

Sam Tells Stories book
#11
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.

The Lying King book
#12
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!

A Big Fat Enormous Lie book
#13
A Big Fat Enormous Lie
Written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by David McPhail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An empty cookie jar and a small boy with a problem lead to one big fat enormous lie.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf book
#14
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.

  1. The Gruffalo - A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

  2. 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.

  3. Little Mouse's Big Secret - Shh...! Little Mouse has a secret! He's found a delicious-looking apple and doesn't want to share a bite. So he buries it, and Little Mouse refuses to reveal what he's hidden. But when a tree sprouts from the seeds of the fruit, there are enough apples for everyone -- and Little Mouse realizes some secrets are even better when they're shared. Award-winning illustrator Eric Battut has created a charming story that will delight--and teach--children. New in board.

  4. Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret - Anna wrestles with a big secret at Isabel’s super-fun sleepover in the seventh book of this “fast-paced, fun, and funny” (Megan McDonald, bestselling author of the Judy Moody series) illustrated chapter book series about the joys and challenges of elementary school friendships. Anna and her friends love having sleepovers. So, when Isabel invites Anna and Sadie to spend the night at her house for the first time Anna can’t wait! Between pranking Isabel’s older sisters, make-your-own pizzas, and truth or dare this is going to be the best night ever. But when one of Isabel’s older sisters’ dares results in Anna breaking a really special vase, everything stops being all fun and games. Isabel’s sisters convince the girls they can hide it from their parents, but after her friends fall asleep, Anna lies on the floor in her sleeping bag, wide awake. At night, with the lights out and everyone else sleeping, Isabel’s house seems different. Unfamiliar. Not like home. Anna misses Banana terribly, and worst of all she feels really guilty keeping what happened a secret. If Anna doesn’t stay at the sleepover, everyone might get mad at her for ruining it, but if she stays and lets the secret slip about the broken vase, everyone might get mad at her for that instead. Anna and her friends share all their secrets, but can they help her with her secret dilemma?

The Time Warp Wonder book
#19
The Time Warp Wonder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Detective brothers Frank and Joe work to debunk a time travel machine in the eighth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. Bayport Elementary is almost ready for the annual science fair—it’s all down to the final touches. Frank and Joe have collaborated on a detective helmet. It’s the perfect lie detector—just place it on a suspect’s head and the bells and whistles will tell you when they’re lying. But not everyone is as prepared for the big fair. Their good friend Phil has designed a time machine he calls the Time Warp Wonder. He just needs to figure out how it works first… Phil uses Chet’s hamster as a test subject. And the machine really does make the hamster disappear from the cafeteria! It’s just that Phil isn’t sure where the hamster went or how to get him back. Frank and Joe are not so sure the hamster went back in time. They have a feeling their Clue Book will be more help to Chet’s hamster than Phil’s calculations. But the brothers start questioning their instincts when they receive pictures of the hamster in different time periods; dressed as caveman with the dinosaurs, suited up in armor in the middle ages, in a top hat watching Abe Lincoln give a speech. Could Chet’s hamster really be traveling though time? It’s up to the Hardy Boys—and you—to find out!

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine book
#20
Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
Written and illustrated by Evaline Ness
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Samantha (known as Sam) is a fisherman's daughter who dreams rich and lovely dreams--moonshine, her father says. But when her tall stories bring disaster to her friend Thomas and her cat Bangs, Sam learns to distinguish between moonshine and reality. Sam, Bangs & Moonshine is the winner of the 1967 Caldecott Medal.

On the Way Home book
#21
On the Way Home
Written and illustrated by Jill Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Claire hurt her knee and tells everyone she meets on the way home a different story about her injury, including being attacked by the Big Bad Wolf, being abducted by aliens, and being chased by a ghost.

Pinocula book
#22
Pinocula
Written and illustrated by Obert Skye
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

What do you get when you cross Pinocchio and Dracula into one bizarre creature? Pinocula, of course! For Rob Burnside, things are going pretty well. His friends are behaving, school isn't too bad, his family's getting along, and Janae, the girl of his dreams, occasionally notices him. Yep, life's okay—until the lying starts. Meet Pinocula, the new creature from Rob's closet. He is a liar and a jokester and is determined to drive Rob crazy. Obert Skye doesn't let his fans down in this hilarious, illustrated installment of the middle grade The Creature from My Closet series, which started with Wonkenstein and Potterwookiee.

The Brave Little Seamstress book
#23
The Brave Little Seamstress
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Giselle Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Goodness!" the little seamstress said. "I've killed seven flies with one blow." And to mark the event, she took out her favorite coat and stitched on the back: SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW! Proud of her amazing feat, the brave little seamstress sets off to tell the world. It's not her fault if, along the way, a giant sees her coat and thinks she slayed seven giants, now is it? Based on the classic fairy tale "The Brave Little Tailor," Mary Pope Osborne's spirited retelling -- this time starring a gutsy seamstress -- and Giselle Potter's charming illustrations take you to a magical world where a little heroine meets even the biggest challenges with wit and imagination.

  1. The Rhino in Right Field - A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

  2. 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?

  3. Stu Truly - Stu Truly is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Stu as he struggles to navigate the murky waters of adolescence when he finds himself living a lie-that seems to be growing beyond his control-to impress the new girl in school. When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his seventh-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch-a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich-all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu's lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop. In this hilarious, heartwarming, contemporary middle grade novel, Stu suddenly begins to realize the opposite sex exists (and isn't so bad, after all!). Can Stu learn to successfully navigate old friends, new crushes, and horror-filled school dances, or will his lie, intended to impress his crush, actually cause his world to fall apart?

  4. Princess Angelica, Camp Catastrophe - Angelica isn’t a liar. She just loves making up stories. When she goes to sleepaway camp and is mistaken for a princess, she could easily clear up the misunderstanding… but pretending to be royalty is way more fun! When her best friend from home surprises her at camp, Angelica is forced to fess up. Luckily, she also has a talent for repairing things, and when disaster strikes on the girls’ kayaking trip, Jelly has to repair more than just her newfound friendships.

Truth or Dare book
#28
Truth or Dare
Written and illustrated by Barbara Dee
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

A few white lies during a simple game of truth or dare spin out of control and make life very complicated for Lia in this “entertaining bibliotherapy” (Kirkus Reviews) from Barbara Dee. When Lia returns after a summer with her eccentric aunt, it feels like everything has changed within her group of five friends. Everyone just seems more…dramatic. And after playing a game of Truth or Dare, Lia discovers how those divides are growing wider, and tells a few white lies about what really happened over the summer in order to “keep up.” But is “keeping up” with her BFFs really worth it?

Fakers book
#29
Fakers
Written by H.P. Wood and illustrated by David Clark
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

From the Trojan horse to fake news, scams have run rampant throughout history and across the globe. Some con artists do it for fun, others for profit. . . and every once in a while, a faker saves the world. In this era of daily online hoaxes, it's easy to be caught off-guard. Fakers arms kids with information, introducing them to the funniest, weirdest, and most influential cons and scams in human history. Profiles of con artists will get readers thinking about motivation and consequence, and practical tips will help protect them from falsehoods. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is--except in the case of this book!

The Boy Who Cried Ninja book
#30
The Boy Who Cried Ninja
Written and 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.

Lions & Liars book
#31
Lions & Liars
Written by Kate Beasley and illustrated by Dan Santat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Holes meets The Goonies in the highly anticipated second middle-grade novel from the author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness!

The Pudding Problem book
#32
The Pudding Problem
Written and illustrated by Joe Berger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy must untangle the web of lies he’s created in order to prove his innocence in this humorous and cheeky illustrated middle grade novel that’s perfect for “fans of Timmy Failure and Big Nate” (Kirkus Reviews). Sam Lyttle is prone to stretching the truth. Most of his lies are harmless; tall tales and the product of an overactive imagination. So when Sam is summoned to explain a strange discovery—a ping-pong ball in a jar of peanut butter—and denies involvement, no one believes him. Then more seemingly unrelated peculiarities emerge, and Sam categorically denies any knowledge of those, too. In between these mysterious accusations, and with evidence mounting against him, Sam ruminates on the different sorts of lies he has told using examples from his past. Meanwhile, two pounds of potatoes wind up in the washing machine. Sam comes to a decision: he decides it is time to come clean about this latest tangled web. He gathers his family to hear the truth. The whole truth. Or is it? Could it be that this final “truth” is, in fact, another lie?

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

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