Picture Books about Relationship Skills for the Classroom
Teaching social skills gives your students crucial lifelong strategies to use. These relationship skills picture books promote establishing and maintaining healthy and diverse relationships.
Why Read Picture Books about Relationship Skills?
Relationship skills involve establishing and maintaining healthy and diverse relationships. Not a simple task, and it takes time for children to learn and develop. Positive social characteristics exhibit in different ways depending on age and experiences.
These picture books about relationship skills illustrate characters who share, cooperate and accept different perspectives. They offer an opportunity for discussions on working towards positive and healthy relationships.
The picture books show characters who:
- Establish and maintain positive and diverse relationships.
- Communicate with and listen attentively to others.
- Recognise inappropriate social pressure and resist getting involved in negative behaviours.
- Cooperate with others in teamwork, including those who are not friends.
- Negotiate and resolve conflict constructively.
- Seek and offer help when needed.
Relationship Skills and Social and Emotional Learning
“Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.” CASEL
Relationship Skills and Social Skills
There are many reasons why children may struggle with their social skills. They may be loners, get caught up in dramas, struggle to compromise, or are immature or socially awkward.
On the other hand, children with good social skills understand how their behaviour and emotions affect their interactions. They use empathy to recognise the mood, helping them build strong, healthy relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
Benefits of Positive Relationship Skills
There are many reasons for promoting relationship skills in your classroom. Key benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Confidence to ask and offer help
- Making, keeping and dealing with friendships positively
- Increased positive interactions in the classroom and school environment
- Reduced conflicts in and out of school
- Improved interaction with adults
- Increased positive mood and behaviour
- Having strategies to deal with difficult situations
Questions to Use With Picture Books about Relationship Skills
- What characteristics did [character] have that made them a good friend?
- What characteristics was [character] looking for in a friend?
- Why was it important that [character] cooperated with [character]?
- Do you think [character] could accomplish their task by themselves?
- What was the relationship between [character] and [character]?
- 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 can positive relationships with others help us overcome difficult situations?
- What characteristics make up a good/healthy/positive relationship?
- What are the benefits of a good/healthy/positive relationship?
- How can your actions affect a relationship with others?
- How does (honesty, communication, empathy, etc.) affect relationships with others?
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Picture Books about Relationship Skills
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.
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
Over the course of three seasons, City Dog and Country Frog become friends. One Winter City Dog returns to the countryside to find Frog is no longer there. Dog finds a new friend for his visits to the country, but Frog will not be forgotten.
Promotes the passing of seasons, relationship skills and wellbeing.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
The Day You Begin considers the difficulty of entering a room where you don’t know anyone. In these situations, we are “an only” until we share our personal stories. Woodson reminds us that we are all outsiders and it takes courage to be ourselves.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina
Best friends, Evelyn and Daniela, have to say goodbye when Evelyn’s family has to move away. As her house is packed up, the two girls play with each other in their favourite places. They know they will always be best friends, no matter where they live.
The Girl Who Thought In Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca
No one expected Temple Grandin to be able to talk after being diagnosed with autism. But her ability as a visual thinker helped her connect with animals and invent groundbreaking improvements for the farming industry.
Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems
Today is Piggie’s favourite day and she can’t wait to tell Gerald it is HAPPY PIG DAY! When Piggie’s pig friends arrive Gerald leaves because he has a trunk, big ears and is grey. When Piggie and her friends realise Gerald doesn’t feel part of the celebration they explain “Happy Pig Day is for anyone who loves pigs!”
Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Musicians Herman and Rosie were both lonely. Herman hears Rosie singing from the street, and Rosie hears Herman playing the Oboe from the building next door. One day Rosie follows the music until they meet, and a new friendship begins.
I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon
After a yellow creature eats his friends, he sets off on a journey to find a new companion. At last, he comes across a monster who will be his friend. However, not all is well. The new monster is all alone on the last page, having just eaten his new friend.
Let Me Finish! by Minh Lê
Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz
An Iraqi family fleeing their home carries their cat, Kunkus. The frightened cat escapes on a boat to Greece, leaving the family brokenhearted. When aid workers in Greece find the cat, they put out a worldwide appeal to find its family. This true story has a happy ending.
Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival
The Raft by Jim LaMarche
Spending time with his grandmother is not how Nicky wants to spend his summer. She expects him to do boring chores, especially fishing. While trying to catch fish for dinner, a raft floats towards him. Adventures on the raft help Nicky become closer to his grandmother and appreciate his talent for art.
Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler
Everyone follows Johan's rules of the playground, all except Lennox. She wants to become the ruler of the playground. As playground politics and demanding behaviour increases, they lose all their friends. On reflection, they realise that they need to change their behaviour, and they come up with a plan to apologise.
The Silence Seeker by Ben Morley
Joe's mum tells him the new neighbours are asylum seekers, but he mishears this as ‘silence seekers'. In an act of kindness, Joe helps his new neighbour find a quiet place to be, and a new bond grows despite the language barrier.
Stina by Lani Yamamoto
Translated from Icelandic. Stína lives in Iceland but does not like the cold. She loves being at home and is inventive in her ways to keep warm. She curiously watches children playing in the snow and wonders how they deal with the coldness of the snow. Stina soon finds out and makes new friends in the process.
The Visitor by Antje Damm
One day a blue paper aeroplane flies through Elsie's window. This event leads to a knock at the door, which she opens to a boy who asks for his plane. An unexpected friendship develops and brings colour and light to Elsie’s lonely life.
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
A boy named Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next to an old people’s home. His favourite resident is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. When Wilfrid finds out she has lost her memory, Wilfrid goes on a journey to discover what memories are so he can help Miss Nancy find hers.
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Teaching relationship skills take time, but it is worth it. Harmonious friendships take practice, and conflicts are common occurrences among children. Child Mind Institute has information about ‘Friends and Socializing’, which you can pass on to parents.
What picture books about social skills do you use? Let me know how you support your student’s relationship skills in the comments below.