Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to poor 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 poor 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.
When it comes to children’s stories about poor behavior, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like No More Teasing to popular sellers like Blubber to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Talking Eggs.
We hope this list of kids books about poor 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.
With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl’s special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.
The author of such delights as The Christmas Ark and The Enchanted Tapestry joins forces with illustrator Pinkney to resurrect a colorful folktale that captures the unique flavor of the American South. A 1989 Caldecott Honor Book.
A generous but increasingly put-upon bear makes batch after batch of doughnuts for her woodland friends without saving any for herself in this delightful debut picture book about counting, sharing, and being a good friend.
LouAnn (a bear) is making a doughnut feast in preparation for her long winter’s nap. But just before she takes the first bite, DING DONG! Her friend Woodrow (a woodchuck) drops by. LouAnn is happy to share her doughnuts, but as soon as she and Woodrow sit down to eat, DING DING! Clyde (a raccoon) is at the door. One by one, LouAnn’s friends come over—Topsy (an opossum) and then Moufette (a skunk) and then Chip and Chomp (chipmunks)—until it’s one big party. Louann welcomes her surprise guests and makes batch after batch of doughnuts, always dividing them equally among her friends. But she makes one BIG miscalculation. Soon LouAnn’s kitchen is bare, winter is near, and she’s had nothing to eat at all!
When Natasha makes a selfish choice, she finds herself trapped in a lavish but lonely palace, far from her widowed father. Will she find a way to escape and see her father again? This poignant tale, inspired by Russian folklore, will help start conversations about the importance of family.
The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.
The Boy Who Wouldn't Share - Edward has oodles of toys but doesn’t share any of them with his little sister, Claire. She cannot ride his rocking horse, hug his teddy bear, or even think about touching his Slinky. “They’re mine!” he says. That is, until one day when Edward finds himself stuck under his enormous pile of toys and can’t move! With a little help from an unlikely ally, he learns that if he can share with others, they’ll share right back with him. Mike Reiss’s wickedly funny verse and David Catrow’s remarkable gift for comic illustration make this one book you’ll want to share—again and again!
The Leprechaun's Gold - In this classic Irish legend, two harpists — merry-hearted Old Pat and ill-spirited Young Tom — set off for a contest to name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. When Young Tom realizes that Old Pat is truly the better musician, he schemes to be the winner — but he doesn′t reckon with the clever trickery of a mischievous little leprechaun. Noted picture book creators Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole have imagined a joyful and fanciful tale with a priceless lesson.
The World's Poorest President Speaks Out - “A poor person is not someone who has little, but one who needs infinitely more, and more, and more.” Thus spoke José Mujica, then the President of Uruguay, before the United Nations in 2012. Paraphrasing the wisdom of the great thinker Seneca, he asked the world to question the dogma of consumption that has driven us into environmental and economic crisis. Often referred to as the worlds “poorest” president, in part because of his practice of donating 90% of his $12,000 monthly salary to charity, José Mujica lived his words and proved that one need not have money to be rich. In The World’s Poorest President Speaks Out, José Mujica’s famous speech comes to life as he asks us to remember our neighbors, our children, and the Earth.
Dancing in the Wings - Sassy tries out for a summer dance festival in Washington, D.C., despite the other girls’ taunts that she is much too tall.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Goodnight Already! series This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy? With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.
On Thanksgiving Day while everyone naps, Mouse spots one pea, a perfect feast, but he cannot help adding all of the fixings—until Cat spots him, in a story about giving thanks for little things. 12,500 first printing.
Can you bite your mom? No! What can you bite? An apple! Karen Katz’s books are a must-have for every new mom and dad because they focus on how toddlers grow up and become more social.
Little Dino has lots of sharp teeth and starts using them to bite objects and other dinosaurs. He must learn to use them in the right way. Part of the Hello Genius series of books, this sturdy board book reinforces positive behavior, teaches good manners, and visually shows that objects and people should not be bitten.
A greedy bee learns a lesson when he “slurps and burps” too much nectar, falls asleep in a meadow, and needs help from other insects to find his way home after dark.
Doodle Bites - The inspired Polly Dunbar wraps up her series about Tilly and Friends with two beguiling new adventures. When Doodle the alligator is feeling bitey, the backside of Tumpty the elephant looks very tempting. But now Tumpty is sore — in more ways than one — and promptly stamps on Doodle’s tail. No wonder everyone’s upset! Luckily, the friends agree to apologize, and all is well — at least until Doodle starts to feel bitey again. . . .
What Were You Thinking? - Strengthen executive function skills and empower impetuous young people with a humorous story about an impulsive third-grader. Teach students a strategy of four simple steps for stopping, thinking, and decision-making. Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses? Find out in this hilarious story by Bryan Smith.
A squirrel decides to keep everyone in the forest away from a favorite tree (?It’s MY tree?), but hasn’t thought the plan all the way through! The squirrel loves a particular tree (?It’s MY tree?) and is happiest eating pinecones in its shade (?MY pinecones in the shade of MY tree?). But then the squirrel starts to worry. What if someone else decides it’s THEIR tree? What if that someone wants to eat THEIR pinecones in the shade of THEIR tree? Should the squirrel build a gate in front of the tree to keep the others out? Or maybe a wall? Yes, a wall. The squirrel will build a long and high wall that no one can get over or around. Only, now that there’s a wall, how can the squirrel know what’s on the other side of it? Maybe a better tree is out there, full of pinecones. Maybe even a whole forest of better trees … World-renowned author-illustrator Olivier Tallec has created a simple, funny, relevant fable for the modern age. The humor and exaggeration ensure that even the youngest children will recognize the greed, xenophobia and fear of missing out afflicting the poor squirrel. With tones of bright orange and yellow, the captivating illustrations bring the enormous-tailed squirrel’s rapid-fire range of emotions to vivid and hilarious life. This highly entertaining read-aloud would also make a perfect conversation starter for lessons on the importance of appreciating what one has.
A mean boy always teases Katie Woo. It makes Katie sad and mad. How can she make the bully stop teasing her?
Seeing bully Bootsie Barker get her comuppance is guaranteed to make young readers smile.
It’s the worst when Bootsie Barker comes to my house. Bootsie’s the one who pulls my hair and tears my books. She hates Charlene, my pet salamander. She says that I’m a turtle and she’s a turtle-eating dinosaur.
Uh-oh, I think I hear a car pulling up. That’s her now! Eeek!
Lola Levine likes writing in her diario, sipping her mom’s cafe con leche, eating her dad’s matzo ball soup, and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. So what if she doesn’t always fit in? Lola is fierce on the field, but when a soccer game during recess gets too competitive, she accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels terrible, but with the help of her family, her super best friend, Josh Blot, and a little “pencil power,” she just might be able to turn it all around. In this first book in a series, young readers will be inspired by Lola’s big heart and creative spirit as she learns to navigate the second grade in true Lola style!
This, along with The Tale of Miss Moppet, was intended for very young children. It is a simple tale of what befalls a rude little rabbit that doesn’t say ‘please’ before he takes something that belongs to someone else.
Blubber - What happens when teasing goes too far? This classic middle grade novel from Judy Blume addresses the timeless topic of bullying and has a fresh new look. “Blubber is a good name for her,” the note from Caroline said about Linda. Jill crumpled it up and left it on the corner of her school desk. She didn’t want to think about Linda or her dumb report on whales just then. Jill wanted to think about Halloween. But Robby grabbed the note and before Linda stopped talking it had gone halfway around the room. There was something about Linda that made a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they could go…but nobody, Jill least of all, expected the fun to end where it did.
Here Comes Destructosaurus! - Watch the unstoppable destructive force of a raging temper tantrum! Tremble at the enormous mess and disrespectful roaring! Despair as no amount of scolding can stem the heedless fury! Someone is heading for a time-out, Mister! Anyone who has witnessed (or been) a toddler in the throes of a full-blown fit will delight in this clever book’s moviemonster rampage, and may just come away from it with a bit more sympathy for toddler and caregiver.
The Knight Who Said No! - Ned the knight always does exactly what he’s told. When his parents ask him to pick up his toys, dig up the cabbages, or go to bed on time, he does it all with a smile. And when the dragon swoops into town every night, Ned always runs inside just as he’s asked. But one morning Ned says “NO!” He will not help his dad find his shield, his arrow, or his bow, and that night, he refuses to go inside. After a surprising encounter with the dragon, will he change his tune?
Yes We Are - A boy confides in a friend that he doesn t know what to say when he’s teased for having two dads, and when kids say that they’re not a real family. In their conversation, his friend helps him see how her family (with a mom and a dad) isn’t all that different from his: they both have parents who love them, and they both love their parents. And it’s love that makes a family.
Because Little Red only speaks in verse, it’s tough for her to make friends. The schoolyard bully, Big Brad Wolf, is always picking on her. One day, her grandma shows her a flyer for a poetry contest, and Little Red thinks it could be her big chance to make a friend. But on the day of the contest, Big Brad Wolf sneaks up on Little Red and scares the rhyme right out of her—and into him! How will they rhyme their way out of this dilemma?
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