I received these books for free from Candlewick Press and was compensated for my time to review them and write this post. The content is all mine and I was not required to give a positive review.
Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post! There is important stuff at the end!
Picture Books About Character
I selected five books that look at character for girls from many different perspectives. Each book is completely different from the others from the illustration styles to the way the stories are told. But all of them together offer lots of opportunities for meaningful discussions about character issues.
I also created some fun free printables to go along with three of the stories so as you study character with your daughter, you can use them. You can download them in my printables shop (they are linked below).
The Princess and the Presents
The Princess and the Presents by Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton is a humorous look at a little girl who wants everything for her birthday and what happens as a result. It’s written in a rhyming style which makes it incredibly readable and a real page turner. It’s a funny book with a ridiculous story that drives home an important point.
The illustrations are colorful, detailed, and fun. Hot pink and purple run riot all over the pages and so this is a book that will appeal to girls who are especially fond of Fancy Nancy!
Princess Ruby is a bit of a stinker, demanding and more than a bit spoiled. Everyone in the palace is at her beck and call as her birthday approaches, including the King. However, Ruby discovers an important lesson about what is truly important when her greediness creates a disaster.
There are lots of opportunities to discuss character issues after reading this story. Greed and selfishness are put on full display. It would also be interesting to hear what your child has to say about the father who allows and enables his daughter to act this way!
Different Like Coco
Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews was not at all what I expected. I expected a girl power book about how Coco Chanel rose from humble beginnings through hard work and perseverance. When I finished the book, I felt a bit let down since it was almost rather adultish in its approach. After thinking about it some more, I realized this book offers the perfect opportunity to open up some truly meaningful dialog about character between a mom and daughter.
The book tells of Coco Chanel’s life including her very humble beginnings. From childhood, Coco was a schemer and someone who was always different. The author makes her different-ness very clear from both the negative and the positive aspects of her character. There are a number of very frank mentions of her negative character qualities.
The illustrations are fantastic. They remind me a bit of Brave Irene, a favorite picture book. The illustrations add so much to the story and do a great job of conveying how different Coco was from other people around her.
I created a handout to go with this book that you can download for free. It offers the opportunity for your child to think through the ways Coco was different in good ways and in not so good ways. It also opens up opportunities for girls to celebrate the ways they are different and how they can encourage someone else around them who is different.
Because Amelia Smiled
Of the five books, Because Amelia Smiled had the best message in all of its simplicity – the power of one act of kindness. But the illustrations really did not appeal to me personally. David described them as muddy and I think that’s a good way to put it. They are colorful and have such a potential for richness, but are overshadowed by the smudgy aspect of the art.
That said, the book is well worth reading for the message. It’s a powerful one to consider – how one action by one little girl can set off a chain reaction literally around the world.
I also created a fun printable for this book. It’s an imaginative exercise to see how someone might set off their own chain reaction of goodness and kindness.
Fiona’s Little Lie
Ah, lying. The character issue every child (and parent) has to deal with at some point in time. In Fiona’s Little Lie by Rosemary Wells, Fiona starts with one lie when she makes an honest but embarrassing mistake and then ends up spinning additional lies that get her into more and more trouble.
This book opens up a great opportunity to discuss how others can suffer the consequences of our lies when Fiona nearly gets a group of innocent students in trouble by blaming them for an imaginary theft. Such a powerful character concept for children to understand and Fiona’s Little Lie illustrates it in such straightforward simplicity.
Sidney, Stella and the Moon
Sidney, Stella and the Moon is by far the quirkiest of the five books. Sidney and Stella enjoy doing everything together – except sharing.
When they break the moon into a million pieces with the red bouncy ball, they have to figure out a way to get a new moon up there before they people notice the missing moon and they get in big trouble. Can they figure out a way to share and work together? You’ll have to read to find out!
Your highly imaginative kids will love this book. It’s quirky and crazy in the way imaginative kids will enjoy!
I also created a fun printable for this book!
Picture Books About Character for Girls
I hope you enjoy reading these fun books with your daughter or granddaughter and find the printables useful. Best wishes as you work to help her understand the importance of various character issues!
If you want to purchase some or all of these books, you can use the code CANDLEWICK for 25% off at checkout on the Candlewick Press website.
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Candlewick Press has some informative PDFs about various book series that meet specific needs. These include:
Candlewick Press is also giving away a boxed set of Judy Moody paperbacks 1-8 as part of this review. There will be 50 winners! You can enter here.