Books With Strong Characters
Get started with the Character Scrapbook using these exceptional titles
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Use this activity with books where you want to teach the elements of character development. Younger students may identify the physical characteristics of a character while more advanced students may delve deeper, analyzing what the character feels and thinks.
This is also a great way to teach about stereotypes by juxtaposing how students think the character will behave based on stereotypes against how the character actually behaves. Make a list of stereotypical traits about a certain group. Then list the qualities of an individual character in this group to see if the stereotypes are true.
Some books to use the Character Scrapbook with include:
My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann Grades PreK-2
Something always seems to go wrong when Rabbit is around, but Mouse lets him play with his toy plane anyway because he is his good friend.
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann Grades K-3
The children at Napville Elementary School always ignore Officer Buckle's safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches.
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partidge by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas Grades K-3
A small boy tries to discover the meaning of "memory" so he can restore that of an elderly friend.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney Grades K-3
As a child Alice Rumphius resolved that when she grew up she would go to faraway places, live by the sea in her old age, and do something to make the world more beautiful--and she does all those things.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein Grades K-6
In 1974, as the World Trade Center was being completed, a young French aerialist, Philippe Petit, threw a tightrope between the towers and spent almost an hour walking, dancing, and performing tricks a quarter of a mile in the sky.
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee Grades 2-4
Third-grader, Clementine has a big heart, a creative spirit, and a talent for trouble.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Grades 3-6
Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe the kids he meets.
The BFG by Roald Dahl Grades 3-6
Kidsnatched from her orphanage by a BFG (Big Friendly Giant), who spends his life blowing happy dreams to children, Sophie concocts with him a plan to save the world from nine other man-gobbling cannybull giants.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos Grades 3-6
Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his ADHD medications wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Grades 3-6
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
Crash by Jerry Spinelli Grades 4-7
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine Grades 4-7
In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli Grades 4-8
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.