The suggested children's books about teamwork and cooperation cover collaboration in the classroom and outside. Picture books on teamwork illustrate the benefits of collaboration for your students rather than expecting everything on their terms.
The art of cooperation is an ongoing journey for children. Learning to cooperate is an important skill to master, helping them develop good relationships at home and school. Successful collaboration requires your students to be respectful, caring, honest, thoughtful, reflective and open-minded.
Why Read Children’s Books on Teamwork and Cooperation?
Children's books about teamwork promote the benefits of collaboration. You will read about cooperative characters benefiting from increased efficiency and productivity and improved teamwork and communication skills. You will read about characters who:
- Work together towards a common goal.
- Learn to trust others through successful teamwork and collaboration.
- Develop social skills and teamwork skills.
- Communicate their needs, and listen to the needs of others.
- Think about the perspectives of others, and show empathy.
- Work through conflict with others to achieve a successful resolution.
- Compromise, thinking about fairness and sharing.
- Share ideas and expertise.
- Understand different points of view.
These cooperative actions can be transferred to collaboration in the classroom.
Questions to Ask When Reading Children’s Books about Cooperation
- How do you cooperate with others?
- What characteristics make up a positive collaborative relationship?
- Why can cooperation and teamwork be difficult? What are the obstacles?
- Why is collaboration in the classroom important?
- What are the benefits of collaboration?
- How did the [character’s] behaviour affect the teamwork? Why?
- What characteristics made [character] a good team member?
- Why was it important that [character] cooperated with [character]? Could they have accomplished the task by themselves?
- How was [character] able to put aside their feelings towards [character] to work together? Why is it sometimes hard to cooperate?
- In what ways did [character] depend on others?
- How did collaboration help [characters] overcome a difficult situation?
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Children’s Books about Cooperation
111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh
Sundar Paliwal valued gender equality, but his village only celebrated the birth of boys. He resigned from his job and became the leader of Piplantri. Sundar persuaded the villagers to celebrate the birth of girls by planting 111 trees. Over time, these trees provided food, water and the opportunity for women to earn their own living.
Use to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, gender equality, social development, community, responsibility and cooperation.
Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni
A sheep wants to learn how to fly. When she shares this news with her friend, the wolf, he tells her it is impossible. Despite the wolf’s scepticism, they work together to make the sheep’s dreams come true. Their perseverance and trial and error lead to success, and the wolf admits anything is possible.
Promotes discussions on determination, growth mindset, teamwork, dreams, and creativity.
The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan
Strange animals kept in glass bell jars in a mysterious laboratory are failed attempts to make the perfect pets. Destined to be recycled, Barnabus, half mouse, half elephant, takes action to reach his goal of freedom. Through teamwork with his fellow captives, he does what it takes to reach the outside world.
Use to discuss self-acceptance, cooperation, courage, following your dreams, friendship and embracing imperfections.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker
This wordless book explores a growing community in Australia that plants grass and trees to rescue its environment from urban growth.
Promotes appreciation, community, cooperation and conservation.
A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Rosa, her mother and grandmother, are devastated when their home is destroyed by fire. The community helps them by donating items they will need.
Promotes community, generosity, responsible decision-making and perseverance.
Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman
A young girl bands together with a group of children to influence change in their community. They realise they have the power to change the world for the better, big and small, with their words and actions and inspire others to do the same.
This first-person narrative poetry book promotes conversations about a sense of community, change, unity, hope, cooperation, kindness, activism and a growth mindset.
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown’s cows type him a letter demanding electric blankets. They go on strike when he refuses their demands. Duck takes an ultimatum from Farmer Brown to the cows, and they agree to exchange the typewriter for the blankets. But, the next day, Farmer Brown gets a note from the ducks demanding a diving board for their pond!
Read to discuss communication, persuasion, activism, knowledge, problem & solution, fairness, and resourcefulness.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Liam’s curiosity leads him to explore an elevated train track. He discovers dying flowers and begins to nurture them. His dedication pays off when the flowers grow and spread over the city.
Promotes the environment, patience and a sense of community.
Elephant Island by Leo Timmers
Arnold, an elephant, is shipwrecked on a tiny island. Several animals come to the rescue, but Arnold creates wreckage when he steps on their boats. Instead of being discouraged, they use this material to make the island bigger, becoming a home for them all.
Read Elephant Island to promote discussions on cooperation, belonging, and resourcefulness.
First Come the Zebra by Lynn Fulton
Two boys from rival Kenyan tribes realise they have more in common than they thought when they work together to save a baby.
Reinforces themes of self-awareness, relationship skills, and social awareness.
Flood by Alvaro F. Villa
A wordless book about surviving a natural disaster. A family rides out an oncoming storm but flees when it gets too bad. The returning family find their home in ruins, which they decide to rebuild.
Read Flooded to promote discussions on resilience, asking questions and cooperation.
Flooded by Mariajo Ilustrajo
A small animal appeals to the larger animals of the city not to ignore the flooding that started overnight. As the water rises, the larger animals go about their business, ignoring the issues the smaller animals face. When the flood becomes a problem for everyone, they all work together to save their city.
Promotes discussions on how problems get bigger if ignored, teamwork, taking action, problem and solution, and responsible decision-making.
Freedom, We Sing by Amyra León
Amnesty International endorse this book about freedom. The poetic text tells the reader about the freedom to live without violence, be who we are, not experience fear and be protected and safe.
Read Freedom, We Sing to discuss social justice, civil rights, human rights, hope, and empathy.
Goal! by Mina Javaherbin
In a South African township, a group of young boys trick a group of bullies into stopping them from stealing their new football. They resume their game, with one of their group acting as a lookout in case of more trouble.
Promotes relationship skills, open-mindedness, friendship and courage.
Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba
Watch as a group of neighbourhood children come together to create a community garden in the middle of the city. Promotes community and cooperation.
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery
Tony Hillery turned an abandoned space in Harlem into an inner-city garden with the community's help. Local children learn about sustainable eating, healthy living and collaboration. One man's inspiring vision now provides thousands of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to Harlem families.
Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community by Susan Verde
A creative boy decided an abandoned wall in his neighbourhood creates a barrier. He empowers the community to unite to transform the wall into a piece of art.
Promotes messages of peace, a sense of community, creativity and empowerment.
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson
In the 14th century, Hiawatha, chief of the Onondaga tribe, overcame many challenges to unite the five warring Iroquois nations. He translated the Peacemaker’s message of forgiveness, unity and peace. Through this process, he can forgive the tribe that killed his own wife and daughters.
How the Ladies Stopped the Wind by Bruce McMillan
The wind in Iceland is so strong a group of women decide to fix the problem. They plant trees to limit its effects and overcome problems through problem-solving, cooperation and persistence.
Journey of the Midnight Sun by Shazia Afzal
Different people come together to move the Midnight Sun Mosque to Inuvik in Canada's Arctic for a small, growing Muslim community. The mosque travels over 4,000 kilometres through narrow roads, bad weather and incomplete bridges. It only just makes the deadline to catch the last barge up the Mackenzie River before it freezes.
Read to promote discussions on community, cooperation, places of worship, kindness, and perseverance.
The Last Garden by Rachel Ip
Zara grows fruit and vegetables in her garden, the last one in the city. Community members take solace in her garden until war arrives and everyone is evacuated. Once the war was over, Zara returned to find her garden and a community ready to help her rebuild.
Read The Last Garden to discuss the effects of war, hope, community, and cooperation.
The Last Seaweed Pie by Wenda Shurety
The Sea-ple live in the ocean, and the Tree-ple live in the jungle. The Sea-ple are living with the consequences of the Tree-ple throwing their rubbish and waste into the sea. A young Tree-ple comes up with an idea, and the two communities work together to solve the problem.
Use to discuss ocean conservation, communities working together, consequences of our actions, and problem and solution.
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
When war comes to Iraq, librarian Alia Muhammad Baker worries about her library and its books. With the help of the community, she starts to move the books to her own home. Through Alia's courage and perseverance, much of the library collection is saved before the library burns down.
A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa by Andrea D'Aquino
As a child, Ruth Asawa was curious about the world around her. She used what she saw in nature to make shapes with dirt, paper and wire. She learned from other people and incorporated her new knowledge into her sculptures in museums worldwide.
Read A Life Made by Hand to promote discussions on collaboration, new experiences, discovery, inventiveness, ideas, curiosity, artists and asking questions.
Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa' Tarnowska
Two Syrian children use books to build a sense of community despite the war. They salvage books from bomb-out homes and create a library in the basement of a half-collapsed building. The library became a safe haven for many and a beacon of hope in the darkness of war.
Use to discuss the effects of conflict and how small actions can help people through adversity.
The Red Prince by Charlie Roscoe
When strangers invade the city of Avala, they capture a young prince. Imprisoned far from home, he escapes, but his red pyjamas against the snow make it easy for the jailers to see him. The prince finds great kindness from those living in his kingdom as they defeat the captors by wearing red to hide the prince.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
This is the first of two children's books about teamwork by Mac Barnett. Sam and Dave plan to dig up something spectacular, but they keep missing their prize. Their dog keeps digging until they all fall down into what seems to be their backyard. But is it?
Promote cooperation, enthusiasm, friendships, perseverance and inference.
The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright
Two greedy squirrels learn to share and cooperate when they chase after the last nut of the season. Promotes discussion on sharing, friendship, greed and cooperation.
A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
When Glashka discovers a pod of stranded beluga whales in Siberia she gathers the townspeople to help free them. Waiting for a Russian Icebreaker to arrive, the people break the ice so the whales can breathe.
This true story promotes teamwork, compassion and community.
That Fruit is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz
Five elephants discover a very tall fruit tree deep in the jungle. They compete with each other to see who can reach the exotic fruit first. Their focus on being the first means they overlook a team of mice working together to reach the fruit first. But they soon realise that teamwork and communication are better ways to reach their prize.
The Tree of Hope: The Miraculous Rescue of Puerto Rico’s Beloved Banyan by Anna Orenstein-Cardona
An ancient banyan tree grows on the island of Puerto Rico; the locals love it. The island was devastated during the devastating Hurricane Maria, and the banyan tree was uprooted. The local community came together to save the tree, jagüey blanco, for it to live another day.
Promotes discussions on community, cooperation, kindness, point of view, determination, overcoming adversity, never giving up, and hope.
The Tunnel by Anthony Browne
Two siblings discover a tunnel. The brother rushes in, dismissing his sister’s fears. When he doesn't return, she finds the courage to follow him.
Promotes themes of facing our fears, cooperation, curiosity, responsibility and being a risk-taker.
Up the Creek by Nicholas Oldland
When three friends go canoeing, they soon start quarrelling. They can't agree on anything. When they end up in a dangerous situation, they realise it is better to work as a team. Promotes relationship skills and cooperation.
The Wall by Jessie James
Tom loves to explore until he hears adults talking about the monsters living in the world. He becomes too scared to explore anymore, and the adults build a wall to keep out the monsters. Life soon becomes dreary. When a colourful message comes over the wall, Tom starts exploring again and persuades the adults there is nothing to be afraid of.
Use to discuss fears, risk-taking, curiosity, inclusion, and asking questions.
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
When a boy finds a mysterious aeroplane, he takes it for a ride, which doesn't go quite as planned. He flies upwards until he runs out of petrol and lands on the moon. He meets a marooned alien, and they work together to return to their homes.
Read to discuss being caring, cooperation, and creative thinking.
The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barnett
This is the second of two children's books about teamwork by Mac Barnett.
When a wolf swallows a mouse, he thinks his life is over, only to discover a duck who has made himself at home. When a hunter decides to kill the wolf, the pair have to cooperate and make a brave decision to save their lives.
Promotes themes of cooperation, courage, problem-solving and creative thinking.
Viva's Voice by Raquel Donoso
Viva loves going to work with her Papi, a bus driver. He takes Viva to the picket line when his union goes on strike. Papi is nervous about giving his speech, so Viva uses her voice to help her father find his.
Read Viva’s Voice to promote discussions on activism, defending rights, confidence, cooperation, courage and having a voice.
When the Storks Came Home by Isabella Tree
Beanie is fascinated with storks and learns her village was once famous for nesting stocks. She learns they have disappeared from Britain and takes action to help them return. Along with her community, Beanie does everything she can to bring wild storks back to nest on the house in the village.
Read this book based on actual events to promote discussions on activism, cooperation, conservation, natural habitats and determination.
Collaboration in the classroom is important, and reading these children’s books about teamwork, helps your students see it in action.
How do you inspire collaboration in your classroom? Do you have any favourite books to share in the comments?