Classic Picture Books For Elementary Counselors

Here are some of my favorite classic picture books that are great to add to your school counseling library collection! Can’t find them? Check with your school librarian and at your local library.

“Ira Sleeps Over” by Bernard Waber

Ira Sleeps Over

“Ira is thrilled about his first sleepover at his friend Reggie’s house, until his sister makes him question taking his favorite teddy bear! Will Reggie laugh at his teddy bear? Can Ira sleep without it? A hilarious back-and-forth ensues in this classic picture book about staying true to yourself.”- HMHBooks

Use it to talk about: overcoming fear, teasing, staying true to yourself, trying something new

“Something Might Happen” by Helen Lester

Something Might Happen

The Responsive Counselor turned me onto this book, which is a perfect way to tackle “what if?” thinking and confronting your fears.

“Twitchly Fidget won’t shampoo, eat his cereal, or put on his sneakers. He won’t even go to a parade (what if he got sucked up into a trombone?) or a marshmallow roast (might he get stuck?) or a Fourth of February party (would he be buried in confetti?). In Twitchly’s imagination, each opportunity poses the threat of disaster. So he just sits alone in his dreary, windowless, doorless hut and waits for his fears to be realized. Then one day something does happen: Twitchly’s Aunt Bridget Fidget drops in for a visit, and she can see right away that Twitchly needs a fixin’.”- HMHBooks

Use it to talk about: overcoming fear, distorted thinking patterns, and coping skills

“Strega Nona” by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona (A Strega Nona Book): dePaola, Tomie, dePaola, Tomie:  9781481487245: Books

Grandma Witch has a magical pot that cures headaches and warts. It’s so special she tells everyone not to touch it, including Big Anthony who is helping take care of her house. Anthony ignores directions and uses the magical pot, missing some important details. Before you know it pasta is coming out of the house left and right.

Bonus you can watch this book at Storyline Online.

Use it to talk about: paying attention, rumors. honesty, anger, following directions, teamwork, and consequences.

“Maxwell’s Mountain” by Shari Becker

Maxwell's Mountain: Becker, Shari, Wong, Nicole: 9781580892124:  Books

Maxwell sees a mighty mountain he is determined to climb, even though his mom has told him it’s for “big kids.” So he set’s off on a plan to climb the mountain.

First, he learns more about mountain climbing. He studies, makes a list and plan, organizes his gear, and trains to reach his goal. It’s everything we want our student to do when setting a goal: set the goal, break it down into steps, learn more about reaching each step, prepare and practice, be safe, and stay on track even when you face an obstacle.

Use it to talk about: goal setting, overcoming obstacles, good work habits, perseverance.

“Coat Of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton

“Using lyrics from her classic song “Coat of Many Colors,” the book tells the story of a young girl in need of a warm winter coat. When her mother sews her a coat made of rags, the girl is mocked by classmates for being poor. But Parton’s trademark positivity carries through to the end as the girl realizes that her coat was made with love “in every stitch.”- Amazon

Use it to talk about: bullying, tolerance/acceptance, self esteem, teasing, caring, kindness, and empathy.

“Swimmy” by Leo Lionni

Swimmy is the only survivor of a school of fish swallowed by a tuna. He is scared and alone, but soon discovers a beautiful ocean full of amazing creatures. He also discovers a school of fish similar to him, but who are too scared to come out and play. Together they swim, forming the shape of a great big fish.

Use it to talk about: traumatic events, fear, friendship, strength in numbers, and community.

“Little White Dogs Can’t Jump” by Bruce Whatley

Paperback Little White Dogs Can't Jump Book
Smudge (an ADORABLE dog that reminds me of Brooklyn) can’t jump because of his short legs. His family is determined to help him. They dress him up to “look the part”, give him a visual goal, create a board for assistance, and try everything they’ve learned to help him overcome this obstacle.

Use it to talk about: goal setting, teamwork, and overcoming obstacles.

“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.

“Extraordinary Jane” by Hannah Harrison

Cover Image

Jane was “ordinary” in her “extraordinary” family. She’s not graceful or mighty, but she is special. This sweet and simply book shares a message of loving yourself just the way you are.

Use it to talk about: self esteem, talents, and self acceptance.

“Feelings” by Aliki

Feelings (Reading Rainbow Book) (Reading Rainbow Books): Aliki, Aliki: Books

This book explores so many emotions, which encourages acceptance of all feelings. It’s got wonderful illustrations, comics, and stories to help students understand a wide range of emotions.

Use it to talk about: recognizing and understanding feelings in yourself and others.

“Hurty Feelings” by Helen Lester

Hurty Feelings

“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.

Just for fun book! Here is a book I just love.

“That Magnetic Dog” by Bruce Whatley

Hardcover That Magnetic Dog Book

Skitty attracts food. No matter where she is, food seems to be around her. She just can’t help it food loves her.

Use it to talk about: how can you “attract” good friends and good grades.

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