Picture Books about Honesty and Trust

Picture Books about Honesty and Trust

Explore children's books about honesty and trust. Read about characters listening to their conscience and who understand the effects of dishonesty on others.

Picture Books about Honesty and Trust

Honesty in the Classroom

Telling the truth isn’t always natural for children. They know honesty is the best option, but sometimes that means disappointing an adult. Children may lie to avoid punishment or protect their friends. Teaching children to be truthful in their actions and words helps them develop healthy relationships and be seen as trustworthy.

As adults, when we know someone is honest, we can trust them, but it can take children some time to connect the two. Children are prone to exaggeration, which may seem innocent enough, but as they get older, this can lead to mistrust and related social issues. 

In a previous post, Resources for Teaching Honesty in the Classroom, I put together honest and trust books, videos and online resources. In this post, I have researched over 20 picture books you can use to promote honesty and trust in your classroom.

Picture Books about Honesty

Using these picture books about honesty in your classroom will encourage discussions about honesty. Your students will see characters who:

  • show integrity
  • are truthful and trustworthy
  • listen to their conscious
  • understand the effect of dishonesty on others
  • show loyalty and fairness
  • stand up for their beliefs
  • have healthy relationships
  • have a happier mindset

As well as these positive characteristics you will read about characters who lie, cheat and don’t think about the consequences of their actions. However, they see the error of their ways!

Following on from these book recommendations you will find a list of honesty related questions you can ask your student before, during and after reading.

Honesty Read-Aloud Questions

  • How did [character] honesty/dishonesty affect the story and the other characters? What is the evidence?
  • How would the story have changed if [character] was honest in the first place?
  • What words would you use to describe [character’s] actions?
  • Why do you think [character] was dishonest? What is the evidence?
  • How do you think [character] felt when they were lied to?
  • How do you feel when someone lies to you?
  • Explain if you think it is easier to lie or tell the truth.
  • Are some types of lies more serious than others?
  • Is there ever a time when it is okay to lie? Why?
  • What about keeping quiet rather than telling the truth?
  • Is it ever wrong to tell the truth?
  • Why do we tell the truth?
  • Why are people dishonest?

FREE Honesty Graphic Organizers

Would you like FREE graphic organisers for Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse?

I have a freebie that is part of a larger resource so you can try it out before buying anything!

Fill in the form below to get access to the FREE pack. Click on the image to see the full pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Picture Books about Honesty and Trust

A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she won’t eat them because her friends hate them. A mystery illness causes her to turn into what others think she should be. No one can figure out what is wrong until Camilla realises she needs to just be herself not bow to peer pressure.

Reinforces themes of balance, self-esteem and growth mindset.

The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo

Zot, an alien from a colourless world visits Earth to find his own happiness in its colour. He steals the colour including an orange balloon from a small boy. Zot takes off in his spaceship but has a change of heart when he sees the devastated child.

Promotes honesty, kindness and friendship

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, especially free ones, this is until the carrots begin stalking him and watching his every move. The tension builds as Jasper’s imagination goes into overdrive. He devises a plan to stop the carrots but will it be the success he hopes for?

Reinforces themes of fears and honesty.

A Day's Work by Eve Bunting

Francisco helps his grandfather find work by lying that he is a gardener. They are hired by Ben to work on his garden but they pull out all the plants instead of the weeds. Abuelo returns the next day to complete the job correctly before he takes his wages.

Promotes responsible decision-making, honesty, integrity and trust.

The Empty Pot by Demi

An Emperor challenges the children in his kingdom to grow a seed. Ping loves flowers and tends lovingly to his seed. But when Spring arrives he only has an empty pot to show the Emperor.

This Chinese folktale promotes integrity and honesty.

Found by Jeff Newman

Jenn still misses her beloved dog who went missing a long time ago. She finds a lost dog who she calls Roscoe and grows to love him. When she spots a missing poster for Roscoe she has to make a very difficult decision.

This wordless book promotes empathy and compassion.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali

A boy explains to his teacher he is late to school because of giant ants! A chain of events including cannonballs, evil ninjas, and an elephant parade followed this!

Promotes cause & effect, making connections and sequencing.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! by Rob Biddulph

Fred the Bear is in training for the Best Bear in the Woods competition. When Boris the Bear steals Fred’s roar his friend's rally round. He realises it is best to forgive Boris, who soon sees the errors of his ways.

Promotes forgiveness, integrity, honesty and respect.

A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis

Shaina finds a magnificent hen belonging to Izzy Pippik. While looking after the hen the town becomes overrun with rowdy chickens. She protects the bird through her determination and standing up for what's right.

This strong female character is full of compassion, integrity and honesty.

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack

Libby has been telling the absolute truth since her mama told her, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” When everyone gets mad at her she realises that there is a right way to tell the truth.

Read to discuss honesty, integrity, and trust.

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I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Bear asks the animals if they have seen his lost, red, pointy hat, but they all deny having seen the hat. He feels dejected and worries he will never see his hat again. When a deer helps him remember the bear goes to confront the animal responsible.

Promotes responsible-decision making, manners, cause and effect, honesty and integrity.

Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni Mitchell by Selina Alko

Born in Canada, Joni Mitchell expressed her creativity through music and painting as a child, despite suffering from polio. She sang her songs in Toronto and then moved to New York and then California. She inspired a generation with her deeply emotional and personal songs. Joni Mitchell wrote a famous song about Woodstock because she was unable to attend.

Kevin by Rob Biddulph

Sid invents an imaginary friend called Kevin to take the blame for his mischievous behaviour. But with Kevin’s helps Sid realise it is best to be honest and he apologises for his past behaviour.

Promotes forgiveness, honesty and being reflective.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Lilly loves school, her teacher, and her purple plastic purse. When her teacher, Mr Slinger, confiscates the purse she plans her revenge. She draws a mean picture of Mr Slinger but soon feels remorse and sets out to make amends.

Promotes self-management, forgiveness, integrity, relationship skills and reflection.

Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems

Piggie can’t wait to play her new trumpet for Gerald. After her performance, she proudly waits for Gerald’s opinion. He tells her the truth. She hadn’t played music, only a loud noise. Piggie tells him she wants to speak like an elephant to sound like Gerald. Touched, he teaches Piggie to use the trumpet to sound more like him.

Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry by Samantha Berger

Martha does not apologise, ever. She soon learns that if she wants others to cooperate with her, she must apologise for her behaviour.

Promotes themes of balance, cooperation, forgiveness, honesty, manners and reflection.

A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

Mako is thrilled when she gets a new pair of Geta, traditional Japanese shoes. They are shiny with red lacquer until she cracks them playing outside. She tries to fool her mother to get a new pair of Geta but soon realises honesty is the best way to go.

Promotes forgiveness, making connections, and honesty.

Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug tells lies to get what he wants and he always blames Trevor, the sausage dog. His next lie causes Trevor to get thrown out of the house. Will Pig learn his lesson and stop lying, and blaming Trevor for everything?

This rhyming book promotes honesty, sharing and kindness.

Princess K.I.M. and the Lie That Grew by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Kim tries to impress her new classmates with a lie. She finally realises she has to tell the truth but will it be too late to keep her new friends?

Reinforces themes of acceptance, forgiveness, honesty and identity.

The Promise by Nicola Davies

After carrying out a criminal act a nameless girl travels the world planting seeds and transforming bleak landscapes to make up for her misdemeanour. 

Reinforces themes of determination, open-mindedness and wellbeing.

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The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter

A sad little fact is locked in a prison with other facts, for telling the truth. Some fact finders help the imprisoned facts finally spread the truth. Not everyone believes the facts, but they are now out there for everyone to hear.

Promotes honesty, trust, politics, oppression and social awareness.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

A small fish wearing a hat admits “this is not my hat”. He stole it from a big fish. A fish who is soon on the hunt for his hat and the dishonest fish. The fish, sure it will get away with the crime, is unaware that the big fish is searching for his hat. The last we hear of the little fish is him swimming into the reeds with the big fish following behind.

Promotes honesty, integrity, conflict and responsible decision-making.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

The reader gets to decide who is telling the truth in this fractured fairy tale of The Three Little Pigs. The wolf insists he was just trying to borrow some sugar to make a birthday cake for his poor old granny.

Promotes different perspectives, persuasion and honesty.

The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race by James Thorp

Six animals race through their respective homes and deceive, trick and cheat. All except for the unicorn. A snail witnesses the cheating and the unicorn is rewarded for its integrity.

Promotes responsible decision-making, principled behaviour and sportsmanship.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema

An African folktale about how the actions of one mosquito causes the sun not to rise. As punishment, the mosquito buzzes in people's ears to ask if everyone is still angry. Promotes cause and effect and integrity.

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet Helen Recorvits

For her birthday, Yoon gets a book from her mother and her grandmother's jade bracelet. When a classmate borrows the jade bracelet she lies and says it is hers. Yoon uses the lessons she learnt from her birthday book to get this precious gift back.

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What Next?

What books do you use to promote honesty and trust in your classroom? Add them to the comments!

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Picture Books about Honesty and Trust

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