Teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom is important because it helps students understand online safety and prevents cyberbullying. It also promotes digital literacy, digital responsibility, and digital health. This is why it is so critical to teach to kids. Use children’s books about digital citizenship 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.
Use this Character Education: Digital Citizenship resource in your counseling sessions. It covers cyberbullying, online safety, social media, clickbait, screen time, and more. Check out a FREE sample of this resource here.
Looking for more ideas on how to teach digital citizenship in the classroom? Check out this blog post on Teaching Digital Citizenship in the Classroom.
Books that Teach Digital Citizenship
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Title of Book and Author: Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis
A short summary of the book: This story is about a little chick who sneaks into the farmer’s house and uses the farmer’s computer. She sneaks back into the house multiple times and buys many items online for her farm friends ranging from teapots to a vacation.
Her online shopping is getting out of control. She even buys another chick friend and adds personal information about herself for the “friend” to see. She agrees to meet the new friend in the woods without telling her parents. The little chick is shocked to find out that her new friend is actually not a chick at all!
Why I like the book: This book contains bright illustrations and has fun rhymes to help keep little readers engaged while confidently teaching internet safety in a classroom setting.
The moral of the story: It is important to use the internet safely and be truthful with adults.
Topics covered: Digital Citizenship; Internet Safety; Navigating Technology; Online Predators; Honesty
Title of Book and Author: Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds
A short summary of the book: This is the second book in the Nerdy Bird series by Aaron Reynolds. It is about Nerdy Bird and his best friend, Vulture. These two best friends could not be more different!
They know they don’t have to like all of the same things to stay friends. One day, Nerdy Bird joins Tweester online and soon has many friend requests. Vulture sees his friend becoming enveloped in all of these new friends and becomes angry. Thankfully, Nerdy Bird knows how to smooth things over with his best friend.
Why I like the book: Parents and teachers can use this book as a great introduction into safety with social media. This book also helps students ask hard questions: do I value my real-life friends or my online likes more? What is okay to share online?
The moral of the story: Think carefully about what you post and always consider your personal friendships.
Topics covered: Social media; Responsibility; Friendship; Digital citizenship; Online etiquette
Title of Book and Author: But It’s Just a Game by Julia Cook
A short summary of the book: Jasper is a little boy who LOVES video games. If he isn’t playing video games, he is thinking about them. Video games begin to take over his life. Responsibilities like homework and chores, and even fun things like play, are overlooked. Jasper’s mom takes his game controller and helps Jasper get involved in his life again. She sets firm boundaries for him along the way.
Why I like the book: This book addresses a current growing issue of video game (and internet) addiction head-on. Julia Cook gives examples of clear guidelines and ideas for parents and teachers to use in helping children establish healthy limits with internet and video game use.
The moral of the story: Setting limits helps create a healthy balance in life.
Topics covered: Digital Citizenship; Video game addiction; Self-control; Balance; Boundaries
Title of Book and Author: But I Read It on the Internet! by Toni Buzzeo
A short summary of the book: This is the fourth book in the series of Mrs. Skorupski, the librarian, and library skills. In this book, Mrs. Skorupski and the classroom teacher collaborate to teach the fourth graders at Liberty Elementary School how to assess and cite all sources. The students learn to examine resources found on the internet for accuracy, how easy they are to use, and the level of informativeness.
Why I like the book: This book resembles realistic fiction and is best used for older elementary students. Readers will be able to relate to this story with ease as they see themselves in the various characters.
The moral of the story: Not all information online is created equally.
Topics covered: Internet research; Information literacy; Digital citizenship; Fact-checking
Title of Book and Author: The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland
A short summary of the book: At Fiddlesticks Farms, Popcorn is the friendliest chicken to be found. She loves to greet anyone she sees. One day, she sees a glowing screen in the straw that says “hello” when she pecks it, and she just must greet it in return. Popcorn becomes fixated on the conversation she is having on the screen and forgets all about her friends on the farm. She schedules a meeting with her internet friends and finds herself in a very tricky situation. Luckily, her farm friends come to her rescue!
Why I like the book: This book opens great conversations about friendships in real-life and those that only exist via the internet. Parents and teachers alike can use this book to help talk to children about internet safety.
The moral of the story: Choose your friends wisely.
Topics covered: Digital Citizenship; Friendship; Kindness; Technology; Internet safety
Title of Book and Author: #Goldilocks by Jeanne Willis
A short summary of the book: Goldilocks loves to create hilarious online videos, and everyone seems to love them too! She soon receives more likes, laughs, and hits. All of the excitement goes to her head, and Goldilocks decides to do more daring things like stealing porridge, breaking chairs, and sleeping in someone else’s bed. How will Daddy Bear react when he sees these videos?
Why I like the book: Because this book is a twist on a very traditional classic, it is easy for younger and older readers to engage with the story. Jeanne Willis helps children learn what is appropriate and not appropriate to share online.
The moral of the story: Internet usage can go wrong very quickly; be wise in what you share.
Topics covered: Online safety; Digital citizenship; Digital footprint; Online attention
Title of Book and Author: Unplugged by Steve Antony
A short summary of the book: Unplugged is about a character named Blip. Blip is always plugged into her computer. She does a lot of great things while she is on the computer, but she just spends so much time online. During a blackout, Blip finds herself outside. She is surrounded by colors, meets new friends, and goes on adventures. When she goes back home, Blip realizes that the world can be so much more fun and exciting if you choose to unplug.
Why I like the book: The illustrations are symbolic to the excitement of life away from a computer as they are black and white at the beginning of the story while Blip is plugged into her computer but change into color as she shifts to the outdoors. This is a great book to read to students about finding balance between technology and the outside world.
The moral of the story: Finding balance between technology and the outside world is so important.
Topics covered: Technology; Outdoors; Finding balance; Digital citizenship
Title of Book and Author: Bully by Patricia Pollaco
A short summary of the book: Lyla and Jamie become great friends on the first day of sixth grade. Lyla makes the cheerleading team, and the “popular girls” invite her to join them. Lyla realizes that Jamie is left behind. She sees them teasing Jamie and other classmates on Facebook, and she knows that being a part of their friend group isn’t for her. The popular girls don’t stop easily though and are now out for revenge.
Why I like the book: This book speaks to a very relevant topic in today’s society– cyberbullying. Students now have so much more complex bullying situations to decipher, and Patricia Pollaco rises to the occasion with Bully. In the end, she displays a girl who chooses to stand up for her friend despite the potential repercussions.
The moral of the story: Cyberbullying is still bullying, and it’s wrong.
Topics covered: Bullying; Cliques; Online Bullying; Cyberbullying
Title of Book and Author: eNinja by Mary Nhin
A short summary of the book: This book is a story about teaching the proper online manners for virtual school. eNinja helps his friend Stressed Ninja by teaching him to be prepared, polite, and positive about school. He shares examples of how one might feel in different situations of distance learning and when to apply these best online practices.
Why I like the book: There are many realistic tips for parents and children shared in this fun ninja-themed book. A checklist is included in the back of this book to help prepare and get excited for a year of virtual school.
The moral of the story: You can be prepared and excited for a different, online school experience.
Topics covered: Virtual school; Distance learning; Anxiety; Preparedness; Helping others
Title of Book and Author: Webster’s Email by Hannah Whaley
A short summary of the book: Webster is a little spider who sends an email with a funny picture of his sister. The email is quickly forwarded to many others. He soon begins to feel regret as he realizes the number of people receiving his email continues to grow. Webster learns a valuable lesson about the speed and power of the internet.
Why I like the book: Hannah Whaley introduces how emailing and technology works to young children. The story is fun to read as it rhymes and the characters are friendly little spiders and bugs. It also highlights counting to 20.
The moral of the story: Be thoughtful in the messages you send online.
Topics covered: Technology; Internet etiquette; Regret; Digital citizenship
Title of Book and Author: Cell Phoney by Julia Cook
Short summary of the book: So many children anxiously await getting a new cell phone – and Joanie Maloney is no different. When Joanie gets a new cell phone, her mom encourages her to take a cell phone safety course. Through the course, Joanie learns to safely use her new cell phone.
Why I like the book: As teachers and counselors, we are seeing an increase in cell phone usage among young students. Cell phones are a valuable technology, but they can also lead to unsafe actions and behavior by young children. As a former counselor, Julia Cook created an engaging, informative book with advice that young students will take to heart.
The moral of the story: With a new cell phone comes great responsibility. With guidance and rules, you can use your cell phone in a safe way.
Topics covered: Digital citizenship
Resources about Digital Citizenship
Pair your favorite children’s books about digital citizenship with these activities to make the perfect classroom lessons. I use this Character Education: Digital Citizenship resource that includes everything you need to teach kids to be good digital citizens. For more ideas on teaching Digital Citizenship, check out this blog post by clicking here.
Character Education: Digital Citizenship is a fantastic resource! It covers Cyberbullying, online safety, social media kindness, clickbait, addictive features, screen time, and digital etiquette. This resource is an easy print-and-go or digital learning tool to pair with children’s books about digital citizenship.
To get a small preview of the Digital Citizenship resource, check out this Digital Citizenship FREEBIE that covers the different Digital Citizenship areas such as Digital Integrity, Digital Literacy, Digital Safety, and more. it's a great add on activity to after you use children’s books about digital citizenship.
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