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Sunday 3 May 2020

SEL Sundays - Friendship and Inclusion books

Friendship and Inclusion in Picture Books

Picture Books are fantastic learning tools for all ages. While primary is where we see the most picture books and read alouds, there is power in using these types of books at all grade levels – yes even secondary! My middle schoolers always loved picture books and inferring and connecting through stories.

Here are a few recommendations for Social Emotional Learning Picture Books, specifically around the topic of friendship and inclusion. Some of these books were suggested to me from teachers taking an SEL education course. Enjoy!

The Rabbit Listened – by Cori Doerrfeld
This story emphasizes the importance of being a good friend and listening. It highlights self awareness, handling emotions and  the value of friendship.


Stick and Stone
By Beth Ferry
Stick and Stone become friends when Stick rescues Stone who is bullied by Pinecone.  This is a story about friendship and can be use when teaching perspective taking and feelings.


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Bootsie Barker Bites – by Barbara Bottner

A little girl dreads when her mother’s friend comes to visit because she always brings her daughter Bootsie Barker. Although Bootsie looks sweet in her frilly pink dress, as soon as the adults are out of the room she only wants to play games in which she bites. One day, the little girl comes up with a better game! This is a great book to help children understand how to deal with other children and navigate friendships by advocating for themselves. It illustrates very clearly that it’s okay to seek help in dealing with tricky situations if talking it out does not work. An excellent resource to use for the WITS program.


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Enemy Pie - By Derek Munson
In Enemy Pie, a father helps his son with his surefire way to get rid of enemies.  Part of the recipe is spending the day with the enemy.  The result is making a new friend.
Acceptance, Choices, Friendship, Conflict Resolution, Differences, Perspectives, Relationships


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This is a story about a little boy named Louis who in a regular classroom and has autism. His classmates try to understand some of his different behaviours, such as talking at inappropriate times and repeating what others say. A young girl in Louis’ class, the narrator,  recognizes that sometimes Louis gets to do things that they are not normally allowed to do. However, she understands that there are sometimes rules and expectations for special people. 

This is a great picture book to reinforce the idea of inclusion and that even though we may all have different abilities and needs, we can all work together to be friends. 


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The Recess Queen
By Laura Heliska-Beith

The reigning recess bully changes when a new student moves to the school and invites her to be her friend.
The conflict resolution in the story is handled without adult intervention.
Acceptance, Choices, Friendship, Conflict Resolution, Differences, Perspectives, Relationships


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One – by Katherine Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red is a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Blue’s friends Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like Red picking on their friend but do nothing to stop this.  When no one takes action to stop this, things get out of hand — until One comes along! One shows the colors how to stand up, stand together, and stop Red from being a bully. An excellent book with simple primary colours and numbers but with an important message.


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