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With thousands of books to choose from, it can be an overwhelming task to find books to help teach character.  Here’s a few book suggestions to start conversations about respect.  We’ll share more books every month.


apple pieApple Pie Fourth of Jul
y by Janet S. Wong
Best for: Grades Prek-3
ISBN 13: 978-0618238552
Shocked that her parents are cooking Chinese food to sell in the family store on this all-American holiday, a feisty Chinese-American girl tries to tell her mother and father how things really are. But as the parade passes by and fireworks light the sky, she learns a lesson of her own.

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the rain came downThe Rain Came Down by David Shannon
Best for: Grades Prek-3
ISBN 13: 978-0545138505
Once upon a sunny day, the sky clouded over and the rain came down. The chicken squawked, the baby cried, the traffic snarled, the groceries fell, the people bickered, and still, the rain came down.

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the story of rubyThe Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
Best for: Grades 2-5
ISBN 13: 978-0439472265
In 1960, Ruby, a young African-American girl, entered a whites-only school in New Orleans. Even though she had to pass through crowds of angry protesters, Ruby bravely walked into the school. Every day for months, Ruby persevered. White parents pulled their children out of the school, and Ruby and her teacher were alone in the classroom. Still, Ruby and her family would not give in.

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51LY6rGCcjLInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Best for: 
Grades 3-5
ISBN 13:
 978-0061962790
Awards:  Newbery Honor and National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Based on the author’s own childhood and written in free-verse poems, this unforgettable story captures a fierce girl’s struggles to find her place in her family, in her new home, and in the world. Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America.

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51WFOfQGqjL._AC_AA160_The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Best for: Grades 6-8
ISBN 13:
978-0440228004
Awards:  Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book
Enter the world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Momma and Dad decide it’s time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons head South to Birmingham, Alabama…toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history.

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51Z3n4qvXtL._AC_AA160_Echo
by Pa Munoz Ryan

Best for: Grades 6-8
ISBN 13:
978-0439874021

Awards: 2016 Newbery Honor
Enter the world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Momma and Dad decide it’s time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons head South to Birmingham, Alabama…toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history.

A hilarious, touching, and tragic novel about civil rights and the impact of violence on one African American family.

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51uNPynnHlL._AC_AA160_Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Best for: Grades 7-9
ISBN 10:
0545050561
Jamie just wants to fit in. She doesn’t want to be seen as a stereotypical Muslim girl, so she does everything possible to hide that part of herself. Even if it means pushing her friends away because she’s afraid to let them know her dad forbids her from hanging out with boys or that she secretly loves to play the darabuka (Arabic drums). But when the cutest boy in school asks her out and her friends start to wonder about Jamie’s life outside of school, her secrets threaten to explode. Can Jamie figure out how to be both Jamie and Jamilah before she loses everything?

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9780399231124_xlgIf You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
Best for: Grades 9-12
ISBN 13:
978-0142415221
Both Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) attend Percy Academy, a private school where neither quite fits in. Ellie is wrestling with family demons, and Miah is one of the few African American students. The two of them find each other, and fall in love — but they are hesitant to share their newfound happiness with their friends and families, who will not understand. At the end, life makes the brutal choice for them: Jeremiah is shot and killed, and Ellie now has to cope with the consequences.

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22818100Every Ugly Word
 by Aimee L. Salter
Best for: Grades 9-12
When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school, bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.  Her older self has been through it all already–she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

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51JIIBkEUzL._AC_UL115_The Glory Field by Walter Dean Meyers
Best for: 
Grades 9-12
ISBN 13:
978-0545055758
This is the story of one family. A family whose history saw its first ancestor captured, shackled, and brought to this country from Africa. A family who can still see remnants of the shackles that held some of its members captive — even today. It is a story of pride, determination, struggle, and love. And of the piece of the land that holds them together throughout it all.

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What book do you recommend to help teach character?  Tell us in the comments.

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Books to help teach respect
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