3 Books that Promote Positive Classroom Culture

Teachers often ask us to recommend books that promote a positive classroom culture. Below are some wonderful read alouds that can help children learn to take care of themselves, take care of others, and take care of their classroom. Children’s Literacy Initiative calls this the Power of Three.

Take Care of Yourself

Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliott


Melena wakes up ready for a fresh start. Yesterday’s mistakes, like leaving her toys out for people to trip over, are forgiven, and she’s determined to have a good day. She tells her grandmother that she feels “like the first page of a brand-new book.” As she plays with her friends, Milena thinks about consequences, makes good choices, and celebrates the chance to be her best self.

Other excellent titles to consider:

  • The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage
  • The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright
  • The Bad Seed by Jory John


Take Care of Each Other

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards


Among the most wonderful stories about kindness that I’ve read this year, this book shows a young girl’s efforts to knit a hat for her beloved and bareheaded neighbor, Mrs. Goldman. Despite Sophia’s hard work, the hat ends up full of holes. Sophia knows that she can’t give up, and draws on creative resources encouraged by Mrs. Goldman to figure out a way to create a spectacular – and functional – hat.

More great books about friendship and looking out for others:

  • “Oh, No,” Said Elephant by A. H. Benjamin
  • Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
  • The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy


Take Care of Our Classroom

As Time Went By by Jose Sanabria


Though the connection between a classroom and a steamship might not be immediately obvious, this is a story about claiming and creating space that nurtures and sustains a thriving community. The giant ship begins its life as a luxury liner, becomes a fishing ship, and is eventually abandoned, providing the perfect settlement for a group of homeless people who value and lovingly tend to the vessel.

For other books that show the rewards of tidying one’s space, try:

  • Messy Jesse by Paula Bowles
  • The Messy Book by Maudie Powell-Tuck
  • Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn