Respect is an important character trait because it builds a safe, trustworthy environment! This is critical to a successful learning environment and why it is so important to teach to kids. Use children's books about respect 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!

10 Children's Books about Respect

Check out these 10 awesome children’s books about respect out there that you can use to help teach this topic to students:

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the way i act


Title of Book and Author: The Way I Act by Steve Metzger 

A short summary of the book: This book explores how thirteen different types of behavior look and feel. The main character learns to identify and label his feelings while also recognizing why he acts the way he does in various situations. He is able to determine whether or not past choices have been positive or negative and realizes that his actions always affect others. 

Why I like the book:  Steve Metzger wrote The Way I Act to be easy to understand and engaging with poetry-like explanations of different behaviors. Janan Cain’s illustrations provide a great addition to the story as they are bold and happy. 

The moral of the story: The choices you make and how you act matter! Positive actions make a difference. 

Topics covered: Character; Positive Behaviors; Self-Control; Emotional Regulation 



Title of Book and Author: Baditude! by Julia Cook 

A short summary of the book: Baditude! is a story about Noodle’s day where everything just seems to stink. He thinks homework stinks, practice stinks, yard work stinks, and family pictures really stink! Noodle has a bad attitude or “baditude”, and his friends begin avoiding him. Noodle’s mom and teacher help him learn that his bad attitude is impacting his own mood and that of those around him. Noodle starts to shift his perspective from “I have to’s” into “I get to’s” and “baditude” into “gratitude”. By learning to look at things positively, more positive things will follow. 

Why I like the book: This is a great discussion book for parents or teachers to use with children. It gives many examples of real-life child situations and gives practical tips for adults to do with children to help turn baditudes into gratitude. 

The moral of the story:  How we react to situations makes a huge difference.

Topics covered: Gratitude; Thinking; Cognition; Attitude 

recess queen


Title of Book and Author: Recess Queen by Alexis Oneill

A short summary of the book: Mean Jean is a bully. She is mean to all of the other kids on the playground during recess. She’s called the “Recess Queen”. Everyone is scared of Mean Jean and only plays when she says they can. Things on the playground start to change when Katie Sue moves to the school. Katie Sue doesn’t know Mean Jean and all of her rules. She starts to play, and it makes Mean Jean so mad. Katie Sue asks Mean Jean to play with her. Mean Jean is so surprised and decides to play instead of fight. They become friends, and recess is a much more pleasant place to be for everyone because Mean Jean is not mean anymore. 

Why I like the book: Recess Queen helps teach students how to handle problems with their peers. The rhyming words and nonsense words in this book are fun for young students and keep them engaged. 

The moral of the story: You have theKindness goes a long way! 

Topics covered: Bullying; Conflict Resolution; Kindness; Respect 

but why cant i


Title of Book and Author: But Why Can't I? by Sue Graves 

A short summary of the book:  Noah and his younger sister Rosie feel that following rules is hard, and they try to rebel against every rule their babysitter sets. They don’t take turns, go to bed on time, or look both ways at the crosswalk. Their babysitter explains that everyone has rules to follow, even grownups. She uses her job as an example and finally helps Noah and Rose understand that rules help keep people safe, healthy, and happy. 

Why I like the book: But Why Can’t I? concludes with discussion questions and conversation points to encourage children to talk about their feelings. The simple illustrations in this book show how the characters feel and what is happening in a clear way for children to understand. 

The moral of the story: Rules are important for everyone and should be obeyed for the safety and well being of others and yourself. 

Topics covered: Rules; Obedience; Listening; Respect; Emotions; Behavior

do unto otters


Title of Book and Author: Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller 

A short summary of the book: Mr. Rabbit has new neighbors, the Otters. He does not know anything about otters and begins to worry about whether or not they will get along. Mr. Rabbit’s friend Mr. Owl encourages him to treat them the same way he would want to be treated. Mr. Rabbit learns how to be a good friend and neighbor by following the Golden Rule. 

Why I like the book: This story helps students reflect on good manners by using concrete examples of ways to be kind and treat others. The pictures are cute, and each page is busy so that there is plenty for students to look at while making connections with the words. 

The moral of the story: Treat others the same way you want to be treated.

Topics covered: Respect; Golden Rule; Acceptance; Positive Behaviors 

respectful spot


Title of Book and Author: A Little Respectful SPOT: A Story About Respecting People, Places, and Things by Diane Alber 

A short summary of the book: The respectful spot takes a little boy and girl on a tour teaching them how to be respectful. Spot shows them that respect can be practiced all throughout the day. The children learn different reasons to show respect such as safety and kindness. They learn that they can show respect to people by listening and using kind words, to things by cleaning up and using items correctly, and to places by knowing and following rules. Spot uses many examples of being respectful to people, places, and things to help the boy and girl understand this behavior. 

Why I like the book: The many examples are relatable to children and help put the large, sometimes difficult to understand emotion of respect into kid-friendly language. 

The moral of the story: We can be respectful in many situations. 

Topics covered: Respect; Good Choices; Feelings 

*Read this book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

the best me that i can be


Title of Book and Author: Respect: The Best Me That I Can Be by Rose Angebrandt 

A short summary of the book: This story is told through the voice of a little boy named Keigan. He wants to be the best he can be. His parents, teacher, and friends are all very special to him. He tries to be kind and respectful all of the time, but sometimes he makes mistakes, like when he uses his mom’s dresses to make a tent outside. He learns that forgetting to show respect to people around him is a big deal. Sometimes a wrong needs to be turned into a right, and THAT is showing respect. 

Why I like the book: This book is a practical story to help children learn to be respectful. The examples are easy to follow, and the illustrations provide great support in understanding the character concepts. 

The moral of the story: Respect is more than just what you say; it’s what you do!

Topics covered: Respect; Self-Respect; Character 

*Read this book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

know and follow rules


Title of Book and Author: Know and Follow Rules by Cheri J. Meiners 

A short summary of  the book: This story shows students in school and starts by explaining the reasons why there are rules there. Rules are to help keep everyone safe, learn, be fair, and get along with others. Listening, doing your best work, using manners, and keeping your hands and body to yourself are highlighted as four basic rules throughout the story. 

Why I like the book:  The concept of following rules is expressed clearly for younger students who likely do not yet understand rules in a school setting. By breaking down rules into four basic categories, it is easy for children to remember and apply rules later on. This also allows for great discussion in the classroom to reinforce ideas and skills. 

The moral of the story: Rules are important to be kept for the sake of others and yourself. Positive feelings of pride can develop when you follow rules. 

Topics covered: Rules; Good Choices; Respect

that rule doesnt apply to me


Title of Book and Author: That Rule Doesn't Apply to Me! by Julia Cook 

A short summary of the book: A boy named Noodle struggles with having so many rules; he feels like all of the rules are getting in the way of his fun. Noodle does not think that the rules matter or really apply to him, and he wishes he could have a day without rules. Noodle’s teacher and mom try to convince him that rules are meant to help him and those around him, not hurt them or spoil the fun. 

Why I like the book: This book helps teach the importance of thinking about others and the necessity of following rules in an easy-to-understand manner for children. It also highlights a very important classroom issue in a light-hearted way while promoting discussion from students. 

The moral of the story: Following rules are important to help keep everyone safe.

Topics covered: Following Rules; Safety; Thinking of Others; Managing Emotions; Regulating Behaviors

what if everybody did that


Title of Book and Author: What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick 

A short summary of the book: This story is about a boy who chooses to make poor choices such as being rude in a restaurant, speaking out of turn, and littering. Everyone the boy meets asks him, “What if everybody did that?”. Hearing this question over and over again makes the boy start to think about what really would happen if everyone chose to do things like he was, and he realizes that he has been wrong. The story ends on a positive note as he comes home and hugs his mom while thinking “What if everybody did that?” and decides that the world would be a better place if everyone made that decision. 

Why I like the book: What if Everybody Did That? shares fourteen examples to help understand the cause and effect relationship of behaviors. This books emphasizes that we all have a role in maintaining the happiness and safety in our homes, school, and neighborhoods. If we do not think about others, our surroundings can become chaotic very quickly. This book is a great tool to help introduce school and/or classroom standards and procedures at the start of the school year! 

The moral of the story: Our behaviors affect others. We are each responsible for making choices that positively impact our community. 

Topics covered: Community; Behaviors; Consequences; Respectfulness 

*Read this book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Resources about Respect

Pair any of these children’s books about respect with these Character Education activities to make the perfect classroom lessons. Consider other ways to teach respect in your classroom too!


Find Books on Different Topics

Check out these done-for-you book lists about a variety of character education and SEL topics to teach in your elementary classroom this year:

Perseverance books

Friendship books

Self-Control books

Mindfulness books

Cooperation books

Empathy books

Inclusion books

Growth Mindset books


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