Books about Building Character from Boston University’s Center for Character & Social Responsibility

I was doing some research on Aristotle’s ideas on character development when I stumbled across this wonderful book list. As a bibliophile, I always appreciate well-thought book lists. You can find the original post here.

Kindergarten

Citizenship

  • Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner
  • Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness
  • Good King Wenceslas by John Neale

Compassion

  • The Good Samaritan
  • Dogger by Shirley Hughes
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • Great Uncle Albert Forgets by Be Schechter

Diligence

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Tillie and the Wall by Leo Lionni
  • The Three Little Pigs
  • The Tortoise and the Hare

Responsibility

  • Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie DePaolo
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • Horton Hears a Who! By Dr. Seuess
  • Leah’s Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich
  • The Pearl by Helme Heine

Truth

  • The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson
  • The Empty Pot by Demi
  • Honest Abe by Evaline Ness
  • Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine by Evaline Ness

Courage

  • David and Goliath
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • Alfie Gives a Hand by Shirley Hughes
  • Cecil’s Story by George Ella Lyon
  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • Henny Penny by Jane Wattenberg

Respect

  • Cinderella
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Johnny Appleseed
  • All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
  • It’s Not Fair! by Charlotte Zolotow

Self-Mastery

  • The Stonecutter: A Japanese Folktale by Demi
  • King Midas and the Golden Touch
  • The Tale of Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter
  • The Hating Book by Charlotte Zolotow

First Grade

Citizenship

  • Sam the Minutemen by Nathanial Benchley
  • Exodus by Miriam Chaikin
  • The Legend of Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaulo
  • Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner

Compassion

  • How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting
  • The Queen’s Necklace: A Swedish Folktale by Jane Langton
  • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
  • The Friend, Obadiah by Brinton Turkle
  • The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

Respect

  • Yussel’s Prayer by Barbara Cohen
  • The Story of Hanukkah by Amy Ehrlich
  • The Frog Prince
  • Brother Francis and the Friendly Beast by Margaret Hodges
  • Through Grandpa’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan
  • The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin

Self-Mastery

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • The Shaker Boy by Jeanette Winter
  • It Could Always Be Worse by Margot Zemach

Courage

  • Pocahontas: Daughter of a Chief by Carol Greene
  • The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Lenny Hort
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • Lon Po-Po: A Red Ridinghood Story from China by Ed Young

Diligence

  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Silent Locus by Jeanne M. Lee
  • Across the Wide Dark Sea: The Mayflower Journey by Jean Van Leeuwen
  • The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

Responsibility

  • The Story of Jonah by Kurt Baumann
  • Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
  • Good Griselle by Jane Yolen

Truth

  • The Adventures of Pinocchio adapted by Sue Kassirer
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Second Grade

Citizenship

  • The Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David Adler
  • The Picture Book of Frederick Douglas by David Adler
  • Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address by Jean Fritz
  • By the Dawn’s Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangles Banner by Steven Kroll

Compassion

  • The Gift by Aliana Broadmann
  • The Golden Deer by Margaret Hodges
  • The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
  • Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Respect

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
  • Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
  • The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
  • The Bicycle Man by Allan Say
  • The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen

Self-Mastery

  • The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr
  • The Fisherman and His Wife by Randall Jarell
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Courage

  • Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner
  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den
  • The Magic Tapestry: A Chinese Folktale by Demi
  • The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
  • The Sabbath Lion by Howard Schwartz
  • Theseus and the Minotaur

Diligence

  • The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson
  • Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone
  • The Ten Mile Day: The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad by Mary Ann Fraser
  • Hidden in the Sand by Margaret Hodges
  • John Henry: An American Legend by Ezra Jack Keats

Responsibility

  • The Great Kapok Tree: A take of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
  • In My Mother’s House by Ann Nolan Clark
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Truth

  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema
  • The Gold Coin by Flor Ada
  • Bub or the Very Best Thing by Natalie Babbitt
  • Matilda Whole Told Such Dreadful Lies by Hillaire Belloc
  • St. Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges
  • When Solomon Was King by Sheila MacGill-Callahan

Third Grade

Citizenship

  • Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz
  • Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
  • Casey Over There by Staton Rabin
  • The Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall
  • Esther’s Story by Diane Wolkstein

Compassion

  • The Litter Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  • Clancy’s Coat by Eve Bunting
  • Damon and Pythias
  • The Sailor Who Captured the Sea by Deborah Lattimore
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Respect

  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
  • The Kitchen Knight by Margaret Hodges
  • Hiawatha by H.W. Longfellow
  • Old Turtle by Douglas Wood

Self-Mastery

  • Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles
  • Ben and Me by Robert Lawson
  • The Crane Wife by Sumiko Yagawa

Courage

  • The Story of Ruby Bridges by William Coles
  • William Tell by Margaret Early
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery by William Miller

Diligence

  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
  • Seven Ravens by Grimm
  • Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin and John Archambault
  • Least of All by Carol Purdy

Responsibility

  • The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
  • George Washington: A Picture Biography by James Goblin
  • Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

Truth

  • Alice in Wonderland (Abridges version) by Lewis Carroll
  • Young Abigail Adams by Francene Sabin
  • The Real Thief by William Steig
  • Elfwyn’s Saga by David Wisnieski

Fourth Grade

Citizenship

  • St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
  • Paul Revere’s Ride by H.W. Longfellow
  • Once Upon A time: A Story of the Brothers Grimm by Robert Quackenbush

Compassion

  • The Litter Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
  • The House of Sixty Fathers by Meinder DeJong
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • The Giant by Moricai Gerstein
  • The Legend of King Arthur by Robert Lister
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • The Taste of Blackberries by Doris Smith

Respect

  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
  • The Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett
  • The Kitchen Knight by Margaret Hodges
  • Escape from Slavery: The Boyhood of Frederick Douglass in His Own Words edited by Michael McCurdy
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Self-Mastery

  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
  • Casey of the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer

Courage

  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight retold by Selina Hastings
  • The Castle in the Atiic by Elizabeth Winthrop

Diligence

  • The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulson
  • The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Responsibility

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The Legend of King Arthur by Robin Lister
  • Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend by Robert San Souci

Truth

  • The Canterbury Tales selected and retold by Barbara Cohen
  • Walk Two Moons by Susan Creech
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Holes by Louis Sachar

Fifth and Sixth Grade

Citizenship

  • Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story About Sojourner Truth by Jeri Ferris
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

Compassion

  • Sour Land by William Armstrong
  • Sounder by William Armstrong
  • The Summer of Swans by Betsy Byars
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  • Tiktala by Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon
  •  The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare

Respect

  • Iggie’s House by Judy Blume
  • Commodore Perry in the Land of Shogun by Rhoda Blumberg
  • On the Frontier with Mr. Audobon by Barbara Brenner
  • Constance by Patricia Clapp
  • Thank you, Jackie Robinson by Barbara Cohen
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
  •  To Be a Slave by Julius Lester
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
  • Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • Word by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen
  • Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Self-Mastery

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Sounder by William Armstrong
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Courage

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  • Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O’Dell
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (series) by J. R.R. Tolkein

Diligence

  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal by Joan Blos
  • Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rauls

Responsibility

  • The Barn by Avi
  • Andy Buckram’s Tin Man by Carol Ryrie Brink
  • A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry
  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
  • The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Cushman
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  • Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlien
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
  • Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
  • When the Road Ends by J. Thresman
  • Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voight

Truth

  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Seventh and Eighth Grade

Citizenship

  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith

Compassion

  • Crazy Lady! By Jane Leslie Conly
  • The Secret garden by Frances H. Burnett
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  • Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse

Diligence

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawishima Watkins
  • Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

Self-Mastery

  • Little Women, Alcott by Louisa May
  • The Trouble with Lemons by Daniel Hayes
  • The Story of my Life by Helen Keller
  • Anne of Green Gables (series) by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

Justice

  • Edgar Allen by John Neufield
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Hiding Mr. McMulty by Bernice Rabe

Courage

  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • The Lord of the Rings (series) by J. R.R. Tolkein
  • Ryan White: My Own Story by Ryan White

Respect

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  • The Pigman by Paul Zindel

Responsibility

  • Where the Lilies Bloom by Bill and Vera Cleaver
  • Flour Babies by Anne Fine
  • Old Yeller by Frank Gipson
  • The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

High School

Citizenship

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass
  • Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson

Compassion

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick

Diligence

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Justice

  • Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • Forbidden City by William Bell
  • Fiery Vision: The Life and Death of John Brown by Clinton Cox
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Self-Mastery

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
  • The Odessey by Homer
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Courage

  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Spite Fences by Trudy Krisher
  • The Tale of Sir Gawain by Neil Philip
  • The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Respect

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Slave Day by Rob Thomas

Responsibility

  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Thoughts

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