These books on helpfulness are a part of my Character Development Series. I have 52 character traits to focus on throughout the year. Each trait has 7-8 lessons associated with it. This week the focus is helpfulness. Please click back for my previous lessons on teaching kids to be helpful. Literature is a really useful tool for teaching children. They love stories and relate to the characters in the book. I’ll often read a story to my kids and watch them go and try and live it out. It is fun and exciting to watch them learning and growing in these traits. Of course, they’ll have a lifetime of learning to abandon their selfish nature…at least if they take after their mother. I can see their little hearts taking it in, and I am beginning to see the fruits of it also. Keep on keeping on with your kids. I know there is a lot that can be discouraging at times, but I believe you will see fruit. They are a work in progress. Aren’t we all?! (This post contains affiliate links but all reviews and opinions are my own).
Being Helpful (Growing Up)
This a very straightforward book, but I find it great for preschoolers. It has two situations and shows practical ways to be helpful. The first scenario has two boys cleaning up. When one boy finishes, he decides to help the other one. Another situation is a mom with a little baby who won’t stop crying. The big brother is into his own thing but notices that his mom needs help and steps in to entertain the crying baby. This book asks the reader to respond to questions about what should be done in this situation. Sometimes I like books that feel like direct instruction for kids even though there is very little story involved.
Mr. Blewitt’s Nose – This was a quirky little story that I quite enjoyed. The little girl, Primrose Pumpkin, had a very stinky dog that drove everyone away. She also had a very helpful spirit. One day she found a nose sitting on a bench. I told you it was a quirky book. Because of her helpful nature, she decided to work as hard as she could to try and find the owner of the nose. This is her journey down the road of helpfulness.
Katie in the Kitchen (Katie Woo) – Katie was a little girl who had a heart of helpfulness but she didn’t quite understand that her actions actually made a lot more work and trouble for her parents. The story started out strong but became a little disjointed for me when all the sudden she was worried about ghosts and trying to dress up in her parents’ clothes to make her feel stronger and braver. I do like there there are discussion questions, writing prompts, a glossary and recipes in the back. I could see how the story might inspire some creative writing in response, but it wouldn’t be my top recommended book on this list.
Ducks in a Row (I Can Read Book 1) – This is a cute little beginning reader book about a duck who desperately wants to be helpful. He sees all the other animals in their home (there are a lot of animals in this woman’s home) with a task to help others. He asks to help but no one seems to need anything. Suddenly, his aunts and uncle arrive, and he suddenly feels needed. He is excited to be able to help and goes about helping enthusiastically. However, his relatives don’t leave it alone. They keep asking and asking while he keeps serving and serving. Suddenly, the first drops of winter appear, and they decide to head south. He has worked so hard to serve him that his other animal friends and the woman that live at the house turn to serve this helpful, little duck.
The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) – This is another story that shows characters with the heart to help but making a lot of mistakes along the way. These “Good Deed Scouts” are always looking for someone to help. In this story, they are trying to earn a badge by finding someone who might need their assistance. There are a lot of hiccups along the way, but they do find someone unexpected to help in the end. The great thing, is helping comes so naturally in that situation that they don’t even realized they’ve earned their badge by their actions. My kids do just love the Beranstain Bears, and as a mom, I love them too. They are always bringing in a moral lesson that inspires character traits I would love to see my children develop.
Larry Lights the Way (Big Idea Books / VeggieTales) – The VeggieTales are at it again. With a gift of story telling and a knack for humor, this book teaches a very important lesson to an entire town of vegetables. Larry is the lamp lighter in the town. He is full of joy. Everyone else has become grumpy. The problem is that the king was super good at jumping on a pogo stick. However, someone convinced the king that he shouldn’t pursue that talent anymore and try something else. Everyone in the town started to follow suit and soon the whole down was working in ways they were not gifted. The amazing singer was no longer sining. No one, actually, was pursuing the unique talents that made them tick and gave them energy. No one was happy. Larry taught them to use their specific gifts that God gave them to help others. The town started to serve one another and bless one another with their own talents. The community began to function and helped bring each other out of the slumps because they were helping in ways that also lifted their spirits.
Bearing Burdens: A Child Learns to Help (Bear Hugs) – This is a sweet book that is about a little bear learning to help. He admits that there are things he would sometimes rather be doing. However, he know that God asks him to be helpful, so he decided to pursue that first. I love that the book then shows a variety of ways that kids can be helpful to their family and community. It also asks the questions about how can I help my hands be good and rests on the answer, “I can fold my little hands in prayer, asking God to make my heart and hands care.” I love that. We are selfish people, and it is only by the knowledge and acceptance of God and his Word and the changing of our heart that we can truly have helpful heart. This is a rhyming book that is great for kids.
Jonathan James Says, “I Can Help”
– This is a great book in the Zondervan Publishing learn to read series. It contains three different stories. In the first story, Jonathan is dying to go to the park. The mom bunny has tons to get done around the house but promises they can go once she gets it all done. What should Jonathan do? Should he sit and play while his mom works or should he find ways to help so it can go faster and they can all go the park? In the second story Jonathan gets to be helpful in the garage with his dad. He helps saw but is warned never to use the saw without dad’s help. Jonathan does end up using the saw and gets a sliver when he does. Jonathan proceeds to lie to his dad but is tormented by the guilt. Eventually he fesses up and forgiveness is offered from dad and he prays to God who offers forgiveness as well. Dad said, “Lies are like slivers. They will keep on hurting you until you get rid of them.” The final story is about a day the family wants to go to the beach but the parents have some things they need to do to get ready to go. Jonathan wants to help but ends up making a big mess of things in the process. He is sad about that and heads to his room. His sister comes to the room, and he spends time reading with her until they leave to the beach. At the beach he builds a sandcastle with her and teaches her to swim. At the end of the day, his parents thanked him for being so helpful. He said he hadn’t bee helpful. He’d messed everything up. They pointed out all the things he had done to help. These are three cute little stories perfect for the beginning readers in your world.
The Mess Detectives: The Couch Potato Caper (Big Idea Books)
This is another VeggieTales book, but this is a series with Detectives, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato. Bob is always the serious detective while Larry is humorous and a bit clueless. These detective books always try and solve a big case. This current scenario takes them to the scene of a messy crime at the home of the Couch Potatoes. These couch potatoes have no desire to be helpful around the home, and it shows in this delightfully funny tale of two quirky detectives.
A Children’s Book About Being Lazy (Help Me Be Good)
I do enjoy the “Help Me Be Good” books by Joy Berry. I have given a link to the whole box set (below) since I recommend these books a lot. They are less of a story and more about direct instruction about a behavior. This particular book talks about laziness. It shows what laziness looks like, how it makes others feels and gives practical tips for learning to not be lazy. These books are laid out with a lot of examples and clear bullet points. They are great guide for kids who struggle with certain behaviors. It helps to identify the behaviors and teach how to change those too.
Bob Lends a Helping Hand (VeggieTales) – DVD – I decided to add movie in here too. Of course we don’t want to inundate our kids with television all the time, but I think a good balance is good and might provide you some sanity. As long as you are doing something on the television, you can be purposeful and try and not make it just mindless turn off the brain time. TV and movies can be used to help teach kids the character traits you are working to develop in them. VeggieTales offers so many options for training up your kids to know the Lord.