The word of the week in my character development series is “cooperation.” These books about cooperation will help you as you aim to raise up your kids with values and become contributing members of society. I hope you are familiar with my character development series. I have 52 character traits to focus on throughout the year in this series. Each trait has 7-8 lessons associated with it. I am adding books to the series this year. I hope you will look back to find all of my lessons on cooperation. My other character traits can be found if you hover of the character development tab.
Cooperation (Values) – This book answers the questions, “What is cooperation?” “What do cooperative people do?” “How can I cooperate in my family?” “How can I cooperate with friends?” “How can I cooperate with my neighbors?” “What are other ways I can cooperate?” “What does it mean to be a part of a team?” “How can I work with others to solve problems?” This books is filled with pictures of real kids working through all of these questions. I love the direct nature of this book. Even though it is more direct instruction rather than a story, I find it helpful to understand the value of cooperation.
Cooperation (Wonder Books: Level 3 Values) – This is another direct instruction book like the book listed above. It gives clear examples about what cooperation looks like at home and within community. It also gives examples about how cooperation has helped our great historical figures accomplished all they did. It defines cooperation clearly and uses real pictures with which children can identify.
LIVE IT: COOPERATION by Cohen, Marina ( Author ) on Nov-01-2009[ Hardcover ] – This book is set up like a comic book. I thought that was a creative and appealing way to present these groups of stories. The book takes you through a variety of famous people including Eli Manning, Harriet Truman and NASA Flight Director, Eugene Kranz as well as others. It shows how each of these individuals used cooperation to accomplish everything they did in their lifetime. I thought this was a great way to tie cooperative behavior into history, personal biographies and real life. It’s wonderful to show real life leaders who use character to become great at what they do.
The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar) – This was a really interesting story, and I’m not sure whether or not to recommend it. It was interesting, but it was kind of a heavy topic for kids. It all revolves around a man needing to be executed for something he didn’t intentionally do. All of these Chinese brothers have a special power. When the first brother is sentenced to be executed, they each cooperate with their powers to avoid the different types of executions and trick the executioners. My kids are still young, and I decided to opt out of introducing the concept of killing someone for their crimes. That said, it was a well woven story that read like folklore, which I liked. You could read this book on your own and decide whether it is appropriate for your kids…something I always recommend.
The Little Hands Playtime! Book: 50 Activities to Encourage Cooperation & Sharing (Williamson Little Hands Book) – This book is filled with “50 activities to encourage cooperation and sharing.” It is for age 3-7, which is the exact age range of my kids. This book is the perfect book for my oldest. I call her the “cruise director” of our house. She always has a plan and is coming up with ideas about what we should do or create. This is the first book she gravitated to when I brought home all of these books from the library. She’ll look through this and be able to live out all the ideas. It gives ideas for sharing, cooperating in pairs, cooperating in a group, communication play, exploring emotions, respect and trust. I think this book is going to give us all a bunch of fun ideas…maybe I’ll have to do some of these on the blog too.
Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day – This is a cute story about two friends who go out into the snow and play. After doing a bunch of fun snow activities, they start to disagree about what kind of snowman to create. They get in a fight about it and do not cooperate well. What do we do when that happens? This book shows how to handle the conflict – apologize and reconcile. They then choose to do an activity they will both enjoy. I wouldn’t say it is heavily bent toward the theme of cooperation, but it works to create conversation about what to do when cooperation doesn’t happen the way it should.
Swimmy – Do you remember reading this book as a child? I do. There is a reason it has received the Caldecott Honor Book Award and stayed a favorite for children and adults alike. Swimmy is a little black fish that stands out among his school of friends. This school of fish have a problem. They are prey to larger fish. What are they to do? How can they protect themselves? Swimmy comes up with a great plan that takes cooperation and diligence in practice. Will his plan work? Can they work together to keep themselves safe? The beauty of the undersea world is created in the story and illustrations. I love the artwork in this book too. I highly recommend this book for a lesson in cooperation.
The Eagle & the Wren – I really, really enjoyed this book. It is a story about how all the birds are arguing about who can fly the highest and decide to have a contest to figure out the truth. I love that the ostrich is an encourager and when birds return to earth not being able to fly as high as they hoped, he says, “You all have wings, but each of you flies to a different height for a different purpose.” The fun discovery at the end is…well, I won’t ruin it for you, but it takes cooperation to reach the highest height.
Math Fables: Lessons That Count – This is a super clever book that incorporates reading and math. Each mini-story has animals working together to survive as a community. They cooperate to make life happen. There are a couple math elements involved. First, it starts off as 1 animal and builds counting up from there. Every time the story mentions how they work together it might have something like 6 otters…2 of them do one part of the task and 4 do the other. Then, 5 do one part of the next task will 1 does something else. Then, 3 and 3 will have different things to do. It’s very creative to weave math into stories like this. I highly recommend this book on a number of levels…no pun intended.
TEAMWORK: The Island of Cooperation (HUGO THE HAPPY STARFISH – Island Adventures – Educational Children’s Book Collection)
Working With Others (Pull Ahead Books) – It’s good to get along…but what if you don’t? What if it’s hard and others aren’t making it easy for you to cooperate? How can we handle life when we feel angry about working with others? This books addresses these issues about getting along with others. We need to give kids examples of cooperating with others even when we feel hurt or angry. Working with a variety of personalities can be very challenging. I love how this book gives practical advice when getting along doesn’t come as easy as you’d hope.
GoodReads Also has a book list for Cooperation
I also found a good book list at Missouri Humanities.