Honesty is an important character trait that helps establish positive and trusting relationships throughout their lives. This is why it is so important to teach to kids. I use children’s books about honesty as a gateway for opening up discussions in the learning environment. Whether you are a teacher, counselor, or parent, using books to help illustrate a topic is a great way for kids to learn. As you are reading, ask questions and engage the reader.
Honesty is an important character trait that helps establish positive and trusting relationships throughout their lives. This is why it is so important to teach to kids. I often cover being honest in my lessons, I use this Character Education Honesty Curriculum that includes everything you need to teach honesty in your classroom. Here is a list of some of the awesome children’s books about honesty out there that I use to help teach this topic to students.
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LYING UP A STORM
Title of Book and Author: Lying Up a Storm by Julia Cook
A short summary of the book: This book is about a little boy named Levi. Levi likes to make up other things to say when he does not like the truth. His mom shares with him that telling lies will cause distrust from his friends and make him sad. She explained that telling lies makes your inner sun go away. A lying cloud is made and glooms up your day. More clouds gather as you tell more lies, and your inside quickly turns into a storm.
Why I like the book: The imagery of sun and clouds helps children understand the concepts of lies and truth easily. There are also 11 thoughts and advice in a section at the back of the book to help parents and teachers foster honesty in children.
The moral of the story: It is always best to tell the truth.
Topics covered: Lying; Consequences; Truthfulness.
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Lying up a storm on Amazon
PIG THE FIBBER
Title of Book and Author: Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey
A short summary of the book: Pig the Fibber is about a pug named Pig. Pig tells huge lies. Pig does so many bad things: ripping clothes, stealing food, making messes. Pig blames everything on his friend, Trevor. After telling so many lies about his friend, the lies catch up with Pig, and he is forced to tell the truth. Pig learns that there are always consequences when telling lies.
Why I like the book: The illustrations in this book are silly and bound to keep students engaged. There are also life lessons and wonderful language such as metaphors and rhymes in this book.
The moral of the story: You cannot tell a lie and get away with it, at least not for long.
Topics covered: Lying; Consequences; Truthfulness; Friendship
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Pig the Fibber on Amazon
HOWARD B. WIGGLEBOTTOM AND THE MONKEY ON HIS BACK
Title of Book and Author: Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back by Howard Binkow
A short summary of the book: Howard lies a lot. He makes poor choices by lying to his teacher about the pet mouse, lying to his dad about finding money, and lying to his friends. A monkey appears on Howard’s back and grows each time he tells another lie, symbolizing the guilt he feels from the lies. Howard has to decide if he will continue to lie or make the right choice and apologize for his bad choices.
Why I like the book: This book explores different types of lies that may be told. The image of a monkey hanging on Howard’s back as a feeling of growing uneasiness is a powerful image for students as they learn the weight of lying.
The moral of the story: Lying makes a person feel very unhappy.
Topics covered: Lying; Right Choices; Truthfulness; Unhappiness
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on his back on Amazon
A LITTLE SPOT OF HONESTY
Title of Book and Author: A Little Spot of Honesty: A Story about Trust and Integrity by Diane Alber
A short summary of the book: A little Spot of Honesty works to teach two children about being honest. The spot starts off by explaining that honesty is more than just telling the truth; it is about integrity and respect too. The spot then begins his journey of teaching the children all about honesty through real-life examples like imagination, eating cookies from the cookie jar, and brushing teeth. The little Spot of Honesty explains each example to the children and helps teach various topics such as building trust with others, being honest with yourself, learning to be responsible, and telling the truth even when it’s hard.
Why I like the book: Diane Alber includes so many real-life examples about this tough topic for children. With each of the wonderful examples, she discusses the consequences of lying or being honest.
The moral of the story: Being honest builds trust and respect while showing integrity.
Topics covered: Honesty; Lying; Trust; Integrity
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): A little spot of Honesty on Amazon
I DIDN’T DO IT!
Title of Book and Author: I Didn’t Do It by Sue Graves
A short summary of the book: This book is about a little girl named Poppy. Poppy does not tell the truth. She lies about things like not breaking a dish at home, not breaking a window at school, not spilling water, and more. Everyone becomes mad at her because she is dishonest. Poppy realizes that she needs to change and starts apologizing to her friends. She also attempts to fix things she has broken or messed up. Poppy and her friends eventually learn that everyone does wrong from time to time. They also learn that it is much better to be honest.
Why I like the book: I Didn’t Do It explains lying and telling the truth in a very simplistic way; this book is great for young students. It also includes a resource section for teachers and parents.
The moral of the story: It’s always better to tell the truth!
Topics covered: Honesty; Truthfulness; Forgiveness; Apologizing; Lying
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): I didn’t do it on Amazon
THE BEST ME THAT I CAN BE
Title of Book and Author: Honesty: The Best Me That I Can Be by Rose Angebrandt
A short summary of the book: This story is about a little girl named Ayzlin. Ayzlin made a big mistake and must decide what to do about it. She understands that telling the truth has consequences but lying does too. Making the right decision will require her to be brave and own up for her mistake.
Why I like the book: Rose Angebrandt goes into easy-to-understand detail about the consequences associated with lying. The illustrations in the book are child-friendly and enjoyable. This book is great for class discussions to help students make connections between lying, honesty, and the consequences of each.
The moral of the story: Being honest takes bravery, but it is always important to be honest even when it’s hard.
Topics covered: Honesty; Lying; Responsibility; Bravery
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The best ME that I can be on Amazon
THE BOY WHO CRIED BIGFOOT
Title of Book and Author: The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! by Scott Magoon
A short summary of the book: This book is a fun twist on the familiar fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Ben constantly cries that he sees Bigfoot. At one point, he actually does see Bigfoot and no one believes him. He has lost the trust of his family and friends because he lied to them so many times before. Because of this, Ben changes his mind and starts to collect actual proof before telling stories to others.
Why I like the book: This book tells the story from the perspective of Bigfoot, which puts an unexpected and funny spin on things. It has wonderful illustrations to go along with the story and excellent vocabulary words too! This book would be great to help younger students understand drawing inferences, identifying emotions, and point of view.
The moral of the story: Lying can cause people to not believe you.
Topics covered: Lying; Honesty; Relationships; Truthfulness
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The Boy who cried Bigfoot on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Escape Goat by Ann Patchett
A short summary of the book: The Farmer family owns a goat who constantly escapes from the pen. Something seems to go wrong on the farm every time the goat escapes– flowers being trampled, pies burning, paint spilling, and homework not getting done. Mr. Farmer raises the gate on the pen higher each time as a result because he thinks the goat is causing all of these issues. Nicolette begins to realize that the “escape goat” is actually wrongfully taking the blame for others’ mischief, and she tries to convince Mr. Farmer that the goat is actually innocent.
Why I like the book: The play on words and fun illustrations keeps the reader engaged throughout the story. The message of this story is gently portrayed and highlights the importance of sticking up for others.
The moral of the story: It is important to own up to your mistakes and stand up for others when they are wrongfully accused.
Topics covered: Lying; Honesty; Scapegoating; Responsibility; Advocating
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Escape Goat on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Being Frank by Donna M. Earnhardt
A short summary of the book: In this book, Frank follows the motto “Honesty is the best policy.” Frank tells the truth always; he never lies and is very straightforward. Frank finds himself telling others truths such as “your breath smells like onions”, “your freckles look like the Big Dipper”, and “your toupee looks like a weasel”. Because of this level of honesty, others are annoyed at him, and Frank is unhappy. Frank’s Grandpa Ernest helps him understand that truthfulness is important but should be done so in a way that does not hurt others.
Why I like the book: Being Frank takes a different approach to teaching the topic of “truth”; most other books focus on why not to lie but this story focuses on when to withhold some truth for the sake of others’ feelings.
The moral of the story: Honesty is important but should not be done so in a way that can hurt others.
Topics covered: Truthfulness; Compassion; Understanding
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Bring Frank on Amazon
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
Title of Book and Author: The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessy
A short summary of the book: The main character of this book is a shepherd, and he is bored with his job of tending to sheep in the pasture. He decides to cry out that a wolf is coming after his sheep in order to add some excitement to his day. The entire town comes out when he begins to cry out, but after he lies twice and no wolves are found, the townspeople no longer believe him. When wolves actually do come, the shepherd is left alone to hunt down his sheep.
Why I like the book: Boris Kulikov’s illustrations in The Boy Who Cried Wolf are phenomenal and add depth to this familiar story.
The moral of the story: Be honest with your words.
Topics covered: Lying; Truthfulness; Misleading Others
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The boy who cried Wolf on Amazon
Resources about Honesty
Pair your favorite children’s books about honesty with these engaging activities to make the perfect classroom lesson.