Core Competencies Taught through Picture Books

Children’s Books and the Core Competencies: Finding Connections

Have you ever considered using children’s books to support your teaching of the curriculum’s core competencies? For the next week at the Education Library, we’re displaying picture books that can help you do just that.

Here are some of the books we’re highlighting:


Norman, Speak! By Caroline Adderson
This humorous story about a young boy who adopts a dog demonstrates the steps we can take to understand others–including animals–when we are having difficulty communicating. You can use this book to explore communication in general, or as an introduction to additional language acquisition.



Taan’s Moons: A Haida Moon Story by Alison Gear
People aren’t the only ones with stories to tell. This book about the Haida moon cycle is one way to explore the story that nature communicates through the changing seasons.




Creative Thinking

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
Show your young students that even accidents can be art with Beautiful Oops. Paint drops, smudges, smears, and even crumpled up paper, all have the potential to be something great when we develop the ability to think about them creatively.



Dream Something Big by Dianna Hutts Aston
Introduce found-object art–or artistic and creative thinking in general–with this true story about the creation of the Watts Towers sculptures by Simon Rodia.




Critical Thinking

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Promoting critical thinking in the classroom means fostering your students’ curiosity and encouraging them to ask as many questions as possible. Ada Twist is a perfect example of someone who asks questions about everything she sees and you can use her story to explore curiosity and the pursuit of answers. You may even have a few budding scientists like Ada in your class who will love her story!


On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne
Introduce your students to one of the greatest critical thinkers of all time with this book that explores Albert Einstein’s desire to solve some of the world’s biggest mysteries from a young age. You can use this book as a pathway to explore some of Einstein’s scientific contributions, or to encourage your students to solve the mysteries they uncover, too.



Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Even our youngest students should be encouraged to explore their identities and to understand others’ sense of self. This book can help you foster an understanding of transgender identities in class and show students that young kids can understand themselves even when others, including adults, cannot.


Personal Awareness and Responsibility

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton
Introduce decision-making and personal responsibility with this book about George, a dog who, despite having good intentions, doesn’t always make good decisions.




Social Responsibility

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Sometimes the people we think are our enemies can become our friends when we reach out. Explore the value in reaching out to others, even the people we don’t get along with, in this story about a young boy whose father encourages him to bake a peace-offering pie for his biggest enemy.



The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Cindy Trumbore
You can explore social responsibility on a global scale with this true story about Dr. Gordon Sato, whose work sought solutions to global issues including poverty, environmental pollution, and global warming. This book follows the story of Sato planting mangrove trees in the dry, saltwater lands of Eritrea.



Stop by the Education Library to take a look at the other books we have on display, and let us know which children’s books you use to support the core competencies!