Looking for a picture book to tackle conflict resolution? Here is a sample of books for class lessons, in small groups, and with individual students to support social and emotional needs.
HOWARD B. WIGGLEBOTTOM LEARNS WE CAN ALL GET ALONG by Howard Binkow and Taillefer Long
One of the best things about Howard B. Wigglebottom is that thanks to wedolisten.org you can get the animated book, lesson, and more all in one place. Howard B. Wigglebottom is a silly bunny who is always up to something. Before watching the stories, I have my students wiggle their bottoms and get their energy out. These books are perfect for grades K-1.
Activity: We Do Listen has a great interactive review video.
The Sandwich Shop by Kelly DiPucchio and Queen Rania of Jordan
This book promotes diversity and acceptance while talking about conflict resolution. Lily and Salma are best friends, until a peanut butter and jelly and a hummus sandwich come between them. The girls learn to accept each other and think before they speak!
Activity: Stop reading mid way and have students brainstorm ideas on how they would solve the problem. I stop and review the “THINK before you speak” poster. You can also use The Helpful Counselors game for a continued discussion. Get more ideas at the Daily Cafe. Counseling Connections also posted about how she used the book and you could partner with this conflict resolution bundle. If your doing it in a small group, invite students to bring in and share their favorite sandwiches, with parent permission of course. I always leave time in this lesson for students to draw their own creative sandwiches.
The Peace Rose by Alicia Olson
Another book shared to me by The Responsive Counselor. This book is wonderful in your peace corners and a must have for younger elementary.
The classroom in the story uses a “peace rose” as a talking stick. It models I-Messages and apologies in a simple and understandable way for younger students.
Use it to talk about: conflict resolution, restorative practices, listening to each other, and empathy.
Activity: Use my FREEBIE activity that includes a 4 corners game, craft activity, writing prompts and mindful breathing activity.
Dog Vs. Cat by Chris Gall
Man gets dog. Woman gets cat. Cat and dog’s differences eventually divide them apart. These two siblings must work together to live in harmony. My favorite part of this book is when the characters work together to prevent a new “creature” from moving in. Spoiler alert, it’s a baby!
Activity: Talk about how dog and cat solved their problem (they write letters and use their words to express their feelings.) I partnered this book with Counselor Keri’s Pineapple themed conflict resolution lesson.
The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy
What older elementary and middle school friendship hasn’t been subject to the trails and tribulations of gossip? This book is perfect for those cases. It’s no surprise this book received a Coretta Scott King Book Honor. The secret is represented by a red balloon that continues to get bigger as the book progresses. The simple illustration creates a perfect analogy for rumors and gossip.
Activity: Blow up a balloon as you read to give students a visual representation of the secret or play a game of telephone!
Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley
Conflict and ego are tested in this hilarious picture book about an unlikely rivalry.
Snail Started It! by K. Reider
What happens when one hurtful comment leads to a ripple effect of multiple hurtful comment? This classic picture book talks about what happens when we insult each other.
Simon’s Hook by K. Burnett
How do you handle teasing and put downs? This book is full of practical tips for not getting “hooked.”
Activities: They come straight from the book! Role play your favorite strategies.
Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester
“Fragility was a solid piece of work. But despite her sturdy exterior, Fragility was fragile. Anything and everything hurt her feelings. In the most benign compliment, Fragility heard an insult. No one could even say she looked nice without evoking images of big, squishy cupcakes—since they are also nice—and causing Fragility to flop on the ground and weep. Fragility’s friends stop speaking to her for fear of another fit, but Rudy, a very rude bully, has other ideas. In the face of real insults, will Fragility finally learn to take a compliment?”- HMHBooks
Use it to talk about: dealing with hurt feelings, manners (rudeness) insults and compliments, bullying, and friendship.
Better Than You by Trudy Ludwig
Bragging can lead to conflict and hurt feelings. This wonderful book is the perfect book to talk about just that.
Activity: Check out the Responsive Counselor’s book companion.
The Cookie Fiasco by D. Santat
One of my favorites to talk about sharing! Everyone wants a cookie, but there aren’t enough so what do we do? This is a great book to teach the difference between fair and equal.
Activity: Draw a large circle to represent a pizza on a piece of paper. Put in a page protector and hand out dry erase markers to teams of 2-3. Give them this scenario: “You are having a party and order pizza. Invited to the party are: a big cousin, a young cousin, grandma, and 2 best friends.” Ask them to draw on the page to “cut” the pizza in a way that is “fair.”
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