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Stronger Together: Children's Books About Teamwork and Cooperation

Children’s books about teamwork and cooperation cover collaboration in the classroom and outside. Picture books on teamwork illustrate the benefits of collaboration rather than expecting everything on their own terms. This post will explore how picture books can teach cooperation and highlight its benefits.

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Children's Books to Teach Cooperation in the Classroom

Cooperation is a fundamental skill everyone needs to navigate life successfully. It’s especially important for children to learn this skill early, as it helps them develop empathy, improves their ability to work in teams, and enhances their social interactions. 

Successful collaboration in the classroom requires your students to be respectful, caring, honest, thoughtful, reflective, and open-minded.

The Importance of Teaching Cooperation

  • Develops Social Skills: Learning to cooperate helps children understand the value of working together and the positive outcomes that can come from it.
  • Encourages Empathy: Through cooperation, children learn to see things from others’ perspectives, fostering a sense of empathy and understanding.
  • Builds Problem-Solving Skills: Cooperation teaches children to combine their efforts and ideas to solve problems more effectively.
A group of four young children from children's books about teamwork stacking hands in a show of unity and smiling joyfully at the camera.

Why Read Children’s Books About Teamwork and Cooperation?

  • Visual Learning: Children are naturally drawn to images, making picture books an ideal way to capture their attention and convey complex ideas in an understandable way.
  • Emotional Engagement: The combination of storytelling and artwork in picture books can evoke emotions, helping children connect with the characters and the lessons they learn.
  • Encourages Discussion: Children’s books about teamwork often present relatable scenarios that prompt discussions about teamwork and empathy.
Children’s books about teamwork promote the benefits of collaboration. You will read about cooperative characters who:
  • Work together towards a common goal; sharing ideas and expertise
  • Learn to trust others through 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.

How to Use Picture Books to Teach Cooperation

  • Choose the Right Books: Select books that explicitly focus on themes of cooperation and teamwork. Look for stories where characters work together to overcome obstacles or achieve a common goal. Scroll down for picture book ideas.
  • Interactive Reading Sessions: While reading children’s books about teamwork, pause to ask questions about the character’s actions and what your students might do in similar situations, encouraging them to think critically about cooperation.
  • Post-Reading Activities: To reinforce the lessons learned, engage children in activities that reflect the book’s themes, such as group projects or cooperative games.
  • Create a Cooperative Environment: Use picture books as a springboard to establish a culture of collaboration in the classroom, highlighting the importance of working together and supporting one another.
A diverse group of children engaged in animated discussion around a table with papers, colorful sticky notes, and children's books about teamwork.

Questions to Ask When Reading Children’s Books about Teamwork

  • What is cooperation? Why is collaboration in the classroom important?
  • Why can cooperation and teamwork be difficult? What are the obstacles?
  • Describe a time when you had to cooperate with someone. How do you feel when you work in a team?
  • What can happen if people don’t cooperate?
  • How does cooperation help solve problems?
  • What would you have done differently than the characters in the story?
  • What did the story teach you about teamwork?
  • Why do you think the author focused on cooperation in this story?
  • How can we overcome challenges in teamwork?
  • What are the benefits of collaboration in the classroom?
  • 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 could [character] 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?

Children’s Books about Cooperation and Teamwork

Collaboration in the classroom is important; reading these children’s books about teamwork helps your students see it in action.

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh

In Piplantri village, Sundar Paliwal encouraged gender equality by asking villagers to plant 111 trees every time a girl was born. These trees provided food, water, and jobs for women.

Paliwal wanted to show that everyone can work together to help the environment, empower women, and build a stronger community.

The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan

Strange animals in glass jars are failed attempts to create perfect pets. Barnabus, half mouse and half elephant, teams up with fellow captives to escape and reach the outside world.

The Barnabus Project sparks discussion about self-acceptance, cooperation, courage, following your dreams, and embracing imperfections.

The Can Caravan by Richard O'Neill

Janie is on a mission to help her neighbour, Mrs. Tolen, find a new home when she breaks her hip. With the support of a Traveller community, they transform Mrs. Tolen’s old caravan into a safe and secure dwelling.

The Can Caravan highlights resilience, adaptability, loyalty, independence, and the importance of recycling and teamwork.

A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

A Chair for My Mother illuminates the power of love, family, and community even in the most challenging times. Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother lose their home to a devastating fire.

The book gives us a glimpse into poverty, the importance of saving money, the impact of community kindness and generosity, and the power of perseverance, even in the face of adversity.

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman

Change Sings tells the inspiring story of a young girl and her group of friends who work together to bring about positive change in their community.

The book teaches your students that age is no barrier to making a difference and that their unique voices can bring about positive changes in the world.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

When Farmer Brown’s cows stumble upon a typewriter, they type letters demanding electric blankets. Things escalate as the cows strike, and Duck is the mediator. But the peace doesn’t last long when the ducks have their own demands!

Click, Clack, Moo story promotes dialogue about fair negotiations, communication’s power, and compromise.

Cloud Chaser by Anne-Fleur Drillon

Emery and Leon collaborate to create a flying machine. After initial failures, Emery achieves flight and Leon embarks on an ocean journey, inspiring Emery to continue dreaming and creating.

Cloud Chaser, translated from French, weaves a story of the creative process, scientific discovery, mentorship, support and a shared journey of invention.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam stumbles upon a wilting garden on an abandoned train track. With time, care, and patience, Liam nurtures the garden back to life which spreads throughout the city.

The Curious Garden sparks discussions on sustainability, adaptability, perseverance, cooperation, and the impact one person can have.

Elephant Island by Leo Timmers

Arnold, an elephant, finds himself stranded on a tiny island after a storm washes him away from his home. He uses his ingenuity and resourcefulness to transform the island into a makeshift vessel to sail back home.

Elephant Island sparks discussions about perseverance in overcoming obstacles, resilience, resourcefulness and adaptability, and community support.

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa

A flood hits a city, and its inhabitants ignore it until it’s too late. A small animal pleads for help, but the larger animals ignore it. When the flood affects everyone, they unite to solve the problem by pulling out the plug.

Flooded explores environmental awareness, community action, teamwork, problem-solving, and the consequences of ignoring problems.

Flooded by Mariajo Ilustrajo

A flood hits a city, and its inhabitants ignore it until it’s too late. A small animal pleads for help, but the larger animals ignore it. When the flood affects everyone, they unite to solve the problem by pulling out the plug.

Flooded explores environmental awareness, community action, teamwork, problem-solving, and the consequences of ignoring problems.

The Fog by Kyo Maclear

Warble notices a thick fog on Icyland Island that only he and a Red-hooded Spectacled Female can see. They decide to fight the fog together and eventually find others who can see it too, leading to the mist lifting.

Reading The Fog explores climate change, cooperation, patience, perseverance, and working together makes change possible.