The Way to Go: A book about character, values, and

I’ve started searching for kid’s books about how to live a moral life when I’m thrift store shopping. I have a hypothesis that children’s books teach the simple truths of life, and these are all we really need to know. But as we get older, we think we need more. Certainly, it’s not always straightforward. Ethics can get tricky, like in times when the outcome is good even if the acts weren’t.

The fundamentals are the fundamentals though. Going back to the basics helps reground us in what’s right: what it means to be a good friend, the importance of sharing how you feel, and what good habits are. These are easy to forget in our busy lives filled with distractions, sometimes inhumane business practices, and media designed to appeal to our basest desires.

A book I found recently that shows what I mean perfectly is called The Way to Go.


It offers an examination of many important values through stories. Questions for parents and kids are included with the stories to help start a conversation to build the values into family life and to get kids thinking critically about how the lessons apply to them.



It opens with a look at community life and what it’s like to have a good family. These messages are carried throughout, along with the other values below.


The best part of the book is a poem at the beginning that serves as a kind of manifesto as well as an introduction:


I want to be friendly

and responsible too

and show good manners

at home and at school.


I want to make good choices

and be caring and good, 

to help others in need

like I know I should. 


I want to love my family 

and community too

and choose every day

the right things to do. 


I want to learn all I can

that will help me grow. 

So this wonderful book

is the best way to go. 


My favorite book too

it might just become. 

We can read it together 

and join in the fun!


If you like this, for other books on character try checking out books about building character from Boston University’s Center for Character & Social Responsibility.