Wednesday, June 10, 2020

My Top 3 Books to Support C.A.R.E.S. (Part 3: Responsibility)

If you're looking to infuse lessons on helping your students understand what RESPONSIBILITY means, one of these books can help you start the conversation.

Wow! You can see how much is packed into being a responsible citizen! As with all social skills, kids need to be given opportunities to practice being responsible. As a teacher, it's important to read books that give them different situations that encompass being a responsible person.

NOTE: There are so many book lists out there that give you a ton of recommendations for books on Responsibility so I'm highlighting three that have served my class well.

My Top 3 books to teach RESPONSIBILITY:

A Bike Like Sergio's written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

When no one is looking, Ruben quietly tucks the dollar bill he saw a lady drop in the grocery store into his pocket.  

He wants a bike like his best friend, Sergio. He's embarrassed being the only one in the neighborhood who can't afford a bike. 

While $1 isn't much, every bit helps. When he gets home, he discovers it's actually a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR bill.

(This is where my kiddos start to yell out opinions: Buy the silver bike!  No! Give it's not right." I refrain from joining in and continue reading the story. I want the kids to form their own opinions, not parrot mine.)

He is ecstatic and can't wait to finally get the bike he's always wanted but couldn't afford.

The author does an excellent job showing you how Ruben changes over the course of the story.  

He goes from gleefully happy to, when he sees the same lady once again in the store, empathetic.  and does the right thing...the responsible thing... and returns it.   

It takes courage to admit your mistakes.

The story stays true to a child's point-of-view. After returning the money, he says:

"I am happy and mixed up,
full and empty, 
with what's right and what's gone."

Wow!  That page alone leads to such honest and deep conversations.

The Summer My Father Was Ten: Written by Pat Brisson and illustrated by Andrea Shine

This is such a powerful read.  One of my favorite all-time read alouds.  

SIDE NOTE: I once read a review that said "make sure you stop several times while reading to discuss the talking points."

Um.  No.  Please don't.  This book packs quite an emotional punch. Don't take the kids out of the story. My six year olds "get it" just fine on the the first read through. Let them soak it in.  Feel it.  Feel the anger.  Feel how ashamed the boy is.  

If you want to read a second time and discuss as you go along, go for it! 

(BEFORE I read this, I do explain the the father in the story is really telling the story when HE was a little kid.  So, the kid is the father.)

While planting a garden with her father each year, the father shares the same story of when he was ten years old and playing baseball with his friends next to a once empty lot.

He says a man, Mr. Bellavista, saw that empty lot and turned it into a lush garden with flowers and vegetables. It was a lovely garden until he and his friends ruined it.  

When a ball accidentally landed in the garden, the father ran to get it and thought it would be funny to toss a tomato back instead. Within minutes, the friends had uprooted every flower and vegetable and threw them at each other.

They see Mr. Bellavista by his window but ignore him and keep playing.  The next day, the garden is completely cleaned up.  Nothing but dirt is left.  

Beautifully written, some of my kids cry each and every time at several parts.  

It's a powerful story of redemption. Forgiveness. Friendship. 

His understanding of how his action caused so much pain and loss for Mr. Bellavista feels real.

He'e terrified of seeing Mr. Bellavista- ashamed- but he knows that he must TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and make it right again.  

It's not an immediate fix for the two of them. In fact, it takes a year before the boy is able to make amends. It's honest. Raw. 

And beautiful. A life-long friendship develops.

I cry every single time I read this.  

I wondered if The Summer My Father Was Ten was autobiographical for Pat Brisson. Here is her answer.

The Empty Pot: Retold and Illustrated by Demi

This folktale is always a favorite. Demi's version is my favorite and, once again, kids FEEL this story. Besides teaching responsibility, it also shines a light on honesty and trustworthiness.

Ping loves to garden. Anything he planted thrived. Everyone in his community loved flowers but the Emperor perhaps loved them most of all. 

But the Emperor was old. He needed to find a replacement but how would he choose?

The Emperor decides "to let the flowers choose."

He issues a proclamation to the children. "Whoever can show me your best in a year's time will succeed me to the throne."

He gives the children special seeds.  No matter what Ping does, he cannot get his flower to grow.

In a year, everyone gathers with their beautiful potted plants in front of the Emperor and Ping is mocked for his empty pot.  

The Emperor sternly asks, "Why did you bring an empty pot?"

Ping says he "brought my best" and the Emperor rewards his honesty after he reveals that he gave "cooked" seeds to everyone.  They are impossible to grow.

Kids easily see that Ping did the right things when no one was looking.  He's trustworthy and dependable.  

Click to watch video at Storylineonline.  (It's also on EPIC!)  I read the book first and then share again via video.)

I do have a product that goes with this book but you certainly don't need ANYTHING to share this story.  

Tomorrow I'll be back to highlight my top book pics for EMPATHY.

See my other choices for C.A.R.E.S. books.

RESPONSIBILITY  (You are here now)

EMPATHY (coming)


Once again, leave me a comment to discuss these books or let me know your favorites for teaching responsibility.  

I'd appreciate it if you sent this link to anyone new teacher friends or someone looking to expand their classroom library to include more social skills books.

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