READING LIST

Books are a great way to show children examples of important social and emotional learning skills. This page features a list of books that show each of the 14 social and emotional learning skills from the kindergarten report card in action.

All of the books listed here are available for free from the Free Library of Philadelphia with a library card. To learn about how to get a free library card, please visit the Free Library of Philadelphia website.

For each book below you will find a summary of the book, and links to which libraries have a hard copy, e-book, audiobook, and non-English language versions of the book.

Accepts Responsibility for Choices and Actions

 See the value of “Accepts Responsibility for Choices and Actions” in these books:

Summary of book: Zach Apologizes, by William Mulcahy (2012), is a story about what happens when Zach shoves his little brother to the floor. Although he knows he did something wrong, it’s hard to apologize. Like any seven-year-old, Zach tries to ignore the problem, but finally, with his mom’s help, he learns the four steps to apologizing: (1) say what you did; (2) tell how it made the other person feel; (3) say what you could have done instead; (4) make it up to the person.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: What If Everybody Did That?, by Ellen Javernick (2010), is a story about a child learning that there are consequences for thoughtless behavior, from feeding popcorn to a bear at the zoo to dropping an empty can out of a car window.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Words Are Not for Hurting, by Elizabeth Verdick (2004), children to express themselves using helpful, not hurtful, words. Children are known for speaking their minds. We can’t expect them to watch every word, but we can help them understand that their words affect others. We can guide them to choose words that are helpful instead of hurtful, and to say two very important words—“I’m sorry”—when hurtful words come out before they can stop them. This book helps children learn that they are responsible for what they do and say, their actions and words affect others, and they can make positive choices. It also includes tips for parents and caregivers.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: Be Honest and Tell the Truth, by Cheri Meiners (2007), is about how it’s never too soon to learn the difference between what’s true and what isn’t. Words and pictures help young children discover that being honest in words and actions builds trust and self-confidence. They also learn that telling the truth sometimes takes courage and tact.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Can Work Independently

 See the value of “Can Work Independently” in these books:

Summary of book: I Can Do It Too!, by Karen Baicker (2003), is a story about an young girl who with the support of her family is self confident about what she can do and in turn supports a younger family member.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: All by Myself!, by Aliki (2000), is a story about all the things a child has learned to do all on his own.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Keisha Ann Can!, by Daniel Kirk (2008) is about Keisha Ann who is proud of all the things she can do at school. As she zips happily through her day, she shows all the things she can do on her own, whether she’s painting, counting, jumping rope, sharing with friends or helping the teacher. Bursting with confidence, Keisha Ann will inspire young readers, and they’ll have fun following her through the familiar details of a school day. 

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Completes Work on Time

 See the value of “Completes Work on Time” in these books:

Summary of book: The Berenstain Bears and the Homework Hassle, by Stan and Jan Berenstain (1997), is a story about turning things in on time and how we all must work hard to grow this important skill.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Be on time!, by Katie Marisco (2013), is an easy-to-read story about the importance of being prompt.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Demonstrates Consistent Effort

 See the value of “Demonstrates Consistent Effort” in these books:

Summary of book: Whistle for Willie, by Ezra Jack Keats (1998), is about Peter and his journey to learn how to whistle so his dog, Willie would hear him and come running. But nothing Peter does seems to help. He tries spinning around and around but it only makes him dizzy. He draws a long line with colored chalk; he walks along a crack in the sidewalk. He even wears his father’s hat and tries running away from his own shadow! It’s not until Peter least expects it that his wish comes true, and he blows a whistle that brings Willie running.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Summary of book: Try and Stick with It, by Cheri Meiners (2004), is about how hard it is to try new things—for adults as well as children. It’s even harder to stay the course when something is more difficult than we thought it would be, or when things don’t work out the way we hoped. Yet flexibility and perseverance are essential to success in all areas of life, at all ages and stages. This book introduces children to the benefits of trying something new and the basics of stick-to-it-iveness. It includes suggestions adults can use to reinforce the ideas and skills being taught.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Summary of book: The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, by Eric Carle (1999), is about a little click beetle who falls onto his back and is having trouble flipping unto his feet. The little beetle seeks the help of a wise old click beetle. “Look at me,” says the more experienced click beetle, giving a loud CLICK and flipping onto its feet. But try as he might, the clumsy little click beetle just can’t get the hang of it–or can he?

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Summary of book: The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper (1976), is about the Little Blue Engine who tries to pull a stranded train full of toys and good food over the mountain when the other engines refuse. The Little Blue Engine keeps reminding himself that he can do it by saying, “I think I can, I think I can”.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Handles Conflict Appropriately

 See the value of “Handles Conflict Appropriately” in these books:

Summary of book: Cool Down and Work Through Anger, by Cheri Meiners (2010), is a book that discusses how everyone gets angry, and that it’s never too early for children to learn to recognize feelings of anger, express them, and build skills for coping with anger in helpful, appropriate ways. Children learn that it is okay to feel angry-but not okay to hurt anyone with actions or words. This book helps young children learn concrete skills for working through anger: self-calming, thinking, getting help from a trusted person, talking and listening, apologizing, being patient, and viewing others positively.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: Talk and Work It Out, by Cheri Meiners (2005), is a book that answers the question, “What’s the best way to solve problems between people?” by showing children how to talk problems over and working them out. It’s never too soon for children to learn the process of peaceful conflict resolution. This book distills it into clear, simple language and supporting illustrations. Children learn to calm themselves, state the problem, listen, think of solutions, try one, evaluate results, and even agree to disagree when a solution isn’t possible. This book includes skill-building games and role plays for adults to use with children.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: Don’t Hit Me!, by Bernette Ford (2004), is a simple rhyming story about a boy who faces a very common problem. His best friend hits him, right in the middle of a game. The boy reminds his friend that they should use their words not their fists when they disagree about something. This book includes tips for reading with an adult as well as after-reading activities!

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Summary of book: Forgive and Let Go!, by Cheri Meiners (2015), is a story for young children about learning to forgive-when they’ve been let down or had their feelings are hurt. This book helps children develop their forgiveness skills and learn how to accept an apology and move on without holding grudges. At the same time, it encourages children to let go of disappointment and to accept when things don’t go the way they hope. This book includes advice for teaching forgiveness at home, at school, and in childcare.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Listens and Follows Directions

 See the value of “Listens and Follows Directions” in these books:

Summary of book: Know and Follow Rules, by Cheri Meiners (2005), shows how a child who isn’t following the rules is a child who’s always in trouble. This book starts with simple reasons why we have rules: to help us stay safe, learn, be fair, and get along. Then it presents four basic rules: “Listen,” “Best Work,” “Hands and Body to Myself,” and “Please and Thank You.” The focus throughout is on the positive sense of pride that comes with learning to follow rules. Includes questions and activities adults can use to reinforce the ideas and skills being taught.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Summary of book: Listen and Learn, by Cheri Meiners (2003), discusses how knowing how to listen is essential to learning, growing, and getting along with others. Simple words and inviting illustrations help children develop skills for listening, understand why it’s important to listen, and recognize the positive results of listening. Includes a note to teachers and parents, additional information for adults, and activities.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Summary of book: Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathmann (1995), is a story about the children at Napville Elementary School who always ignore Officer Buckle’s safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish, Chinese

Summary of book: Tessie Tames Her Tongue!, by Melissa Martin (2017), is about Tessie who is bright and eager to share all the stories about her life. She talks to her parents, her little brother, the bus driver, her teacher, and her classmates. But when she gets chatty, she’s loud . . . and talks with her mouth full of food . . . and doesn’t give anyone else a chance to say what’s on their minds. After her little brother complains and her classmates ignore her, Tessie knows it’s time to tame her talkative tongue. With help from her school counselor, Tessie learns to talk less and listen more.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Makes Appropriate Movement between Activities

 See the value of “Makes Appropriate Movement between Activities” in these books:

Summary of book: Clean-Up Time!, by Elizabeth Verdick (2008), is a simple rhyming book that encourages children to sing along as they tidy up. Young children learn to work together to put items in their place, make a neater space, keep a smile on their face-and make room for more fun. Delightful illustrations enhance the text. The book offers a fresh look at the times and transitions children face daily, giving young children the tools to handle routines with confidence and cooperation. Includes tips for parents and caregivers.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Summary of book: On-the-Go Time, by Elizabeth Verdick (2011), is a book that aims to make shopping and errands easier and more fun for everyone! Young children learn simple tools and encouragement to keep moving, cope with the changing scenes, and be super helpers in the car, at the store or library, and on the road. What do they do when they’re on-the-go? Listen, follow along, and even lend a hand. If they’re disappointed or overstimulated along the way, they can take deep breaths to calm down. This book includes tips for parents and caregivers.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Summary of book: The School Book, by Todd Parr (2019), introduces readers to a perennial source of childhood anxiety and excitement: school! From morning routines to meeting new people to learning and playing together, Todd explores all the different things that can happen in school, all the while sharing a cheerful, child-friendly message of sharing, inclusion, and community. Welcome to school– a place for everyone to grow!

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Summary of book: Don’t Be Silly, Mrs. Millie!, by Judy Cox (2005), is about a teacher, Mrs. Millie, who has lots of fun teasing her kindergartners. She tells them to hang up their goats, get out their paper and penguins, wash their hands with soap and walrus, and eat gorilla cheese sandwiches for lunch. The children think Mrs. Millie is hilarious. They have fun correcting her “mistakes.”

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: No

Organizes Self, Materials, and Belongings

 See the value of “Organizes Self, Materials, and Belongings” in these books:

Summary of book: The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, by Stan and Jan Berenstain (1983), is about Mama and Papa’s frustration over Brother and Sister not picking up after themselves. Will the cubs ever learn to clean up their messes? This beloved story is a perfect way to teach children about tidying up, organization, and taking good care of their belongings.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Respect and Take Care of Things, by Cheri Meiners (2004), is about how everything has a place and how things last longer when we take care of them. Showing respect, responsibility, and stewardship are social skills that even young children can relate to—because they have things they value. This book encourages children to pick up after themselves, put things back where they belong, and ask permission to use things that don’t belong to them. It also teaches simple environmental awareness: respecting and taking care of the earth. Includes a section for adults with discussion questions, games, responsibility role plays, and tips on storing toys and staying clutter-free.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Participates in Group Activities

See the value of “Participates in Group Activities” in these books:

Summary of book: Join In and Play, by Cheri Meiners (2003), is about how fun it is to make friends and play with others, but that this is not always easy to do. You have to make an effort, and you have to know the rules-like ask before joining in, take turns, play fair, and be a good sport. This book teaches the basics of cooperation, getting along, making friends, and being a friend. Includes ideas for games adults can use with kids to reinforce the skills being taught.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Feeling Shy!, by Kay Barnham (2017), is about Lily who is good at noticing when others are feeling shy and helping them overcome their shyness. Lily helps a new student break out of her shell, urges a friend to join in at a party, and coaxes her sister to socialize when her sister’s feeling bashful. Then Lily goes to a new club by herself, and it’s her turn to feel timid. Can she follow her own example and move past her shy feelings?

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Feeling Scared!, by Kay Barnham (2017), is about Diego who is a big help when his friends and his little sister feel scared for all kinds of reasons, from a loud thunderstorm to meeting a new dog to giving a talk in front of the class. Then, in his dark bedroom one spooky evening, it’s his turn to feel afraid. Will he know how to be brave and face his own fear?

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Have Courage!, by Cheri Meiners (2014), aims to help children develop the attitudes and skills of courage and assertiveness in order to make wise choices and work through challenges. Children learn to do what they think is right and be brave, even if it’s hard. The book also highlights trying new things, taking reasonable risks, and speaking up. Also included are discussion questions, games, activities, and additional information for adults.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Respects Rights, Diversity, Feelings, and Property of Others

See the value of “Respects Rights, Diversity, Feelings, and Property of Others” in these books:

Summary of book: Accept and Value Each Person, by Cheri Meiners (2006), showcases how the world is becoming more diverse, and so are the daily lives of our children. Accepting and valuing people and groups who are different from oneself and one’s immediate family are critical social skills. This book introduces diversity and related character education concepts: respecting differences, being inclusive, and appreciating people just the way they are. It includes a special section for adults, with discussion questions, games, activities, and tips that reinforce improving social skills.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: I’m Like You, You’re Like Me, by Cindy Gainer (2017), is a colorful, inviting book, to help young children learn about diversity in terms they can understand: hair that’s straight or curly, families with many people or few, bodies that are big or small. With its wide-ranging examples and fun, highly detailed art, this book helps kids appreciate the ways they are alike and affirm their individual differences. A two-page adult section in the back provides tips and activities for parents and caregivers to reinforce the themes and lessons of the book.

Hardcopy available: No

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: We are All Alike…We are All Different, by Cheltenham Elementary Kindergartners (1991), is a story for kindergarteners by kindergarteners that describes the likenesses and differences among us all.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: I Don’t Want to Be Nice!, by Sue Graves (2017), is about Finn who is not very kind to his classmates, and he cares mostly about himself. He doesn’t help Ahmed or Lily. He shoves Molly and Freddy on the playground. In soccer, he doesn’t play fair. The children are mad at Finn. Then, when no one wants to play with him at recess, he feels sad and lonely. How will Finn find a way to make it all better? Ultimately, Finn’s teacher helps him see that he can change his mean behavior and that kindness leads to friendship and fun.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Respects School Environment and Materials

See the value of “Respects School Environment and Materials” in these books:

Summary of book: Respect and Take Care of Things, by Cheri Meiners (2004), is about how everything has a place and how things last longer when we take care of them. Showing respect, responsibility, and stewardship are social skills that even young children can relate to—because they have things they value. This book encourages children to pick up after themselves, put things back where they belong, and ask permission to use things that don’t belong to them. It also teaches simple environmental awareness: respecting and taking care of the earth. Includes a section for adults with discussion questions, games, responsibility role plays, and tips on storing toys and staying clutter-free.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: Why Should I?, by Sue Graves (2019), is about Arin who acts careless and rude which makes other people angry and upset. His parents and teacher tell him he needs to show respect. Confused and unhappy, Arin asks Grandma for help. They talk about how he would feel if someone broke his things or laughed at what he likes. Arin makes an effort to show respect to others and learns that everyone treats him better when he does. A special section for adults suggests discussion questions and ideas for guiding children to talk about their feelings.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: Know and Follow Rules, by Cheri Meiners (2005), shows how a child who isn’t following the rules is a child who’s always in trouble. This book starts with simple reasons why we have rules: to help us stay safe, learn, be fair, and get along. Then it presents four basic rules: “Listen,” “Best Work,” “Hands and Body to Myself,” and “Please and Thank You.” The focus throughout is on the positive sense of pride that comes with learning to follow rules. Includes questions and activities adults can use to reinforce the ideas and skills being taught.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: Yes

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card: Spanish

Shows Positive Attitude toward Learning

See the value of “Shows Positive Attitude toward Learning” in these books:

Summary of book: The Dot, by Peter Reynolds (2003), is about Vashti journey to learn how to draw. Vashti struggles in art class and thinks that she can’t draw; she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown (2009), is about a little boy named Liam who discovers a struggling garden while out exploring one day, and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Strives for Quality Work

See the value of “Strives for Quality Work” in these books:

Summary of book: Ish, by Peter Reynolds (2004), is a story about Ramon who loses confidence in his ability to draw, until his sister gives him a new perspective on things.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: Yes

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: When Sophie Thinks She Can’t, by Molly Bang (2018), is story about when Sophie can’t solve a math puzzle. “I CAN’T DO IT!” she shouts, expressing the frustration all of us feel when we try and fail. Luckily Sophie’s teacher steps in and shows her the hidden value of “try” and “yet.” Struggling to solve a problem doesn’t mean that you “can’t do it” it just means you “can’t do it yet!”

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Works and Plays Cooperatively with Others

See the value of “Works and Plays Cooperatively with Others” in these books:

Summary of book: Swimmy, by Leo Lionni (1963), is about Swimmy a very clever little fish. Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full or wonders, but there is also danger, and the littel fish are afraid to come out of hiding. Then, Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how–with ingenuity and team work–they can overcome anything.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: David’s Drawings, by Cathryn Falwell (2001), is about a little boy named David who loves to draw. One winter day David sees a beautiful bare tree. As soon as he gets to school, this shy young boy who loves to draw begins a beautiful picture of the tree he has seen. One by one his classmates come by with suggestions for the drawing, but the fun really starts when they all join David to add grass, stickers, clouds, a rainbow, and other imaginative details to the picture. And as the drawing develops, David overcomes his shyness and finds a way to make new friends.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  Spanish

Summary of book: Our Community Garden, by Barbara Pollak (2004), is about a diverse group of people in San Francisco who share the work and fun of a community garden. This book celebrates different cultures and provides a gentle reminder of the value of people working together.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Summary of book: The Enormous Turnip, by Alexei Tolstoy (2003), is about a farmer who cannot pull an enromous turnip out of the ground by himself. He enlists his entire family to help him. Only when everyone works together do they manage to pull the turnip out of the ground.

Hardcopy available: Yes

E-Book available for free with library card: No

Audiobook available for free with library card: No

Other languages available for free with library card:  No

Developed by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia, families, and teachers. Funded by the William Penn Foundation.

 

EXCEL

These 14 skills help children Conquer Kindergarten and EXCEL in school and life. These skills assist kindergarteners who are working hard to learn their ABCs and 123s, and they support future academic achievement, healthy relationships, and career success.

- Click anywhere to close -