Inside: Children’s books about lying and truth-telling are vital tools to have on hand when teaching kids the value of honesty. Check out this awesome list below!
If You Don’t Have Children’s Books About Lying and Truth Telling on Your Shelves, Now’s the Time!
Children’s books about lying and truth-telling are incredibly valuable when it comes to conveying the significance of honest behavior. As both a mom and an educator, this is one of those character traits I find the hardest to teach but the most important to pursue.
Case in point:
My big one can sometimes be a bit — boisterous. And every so often a teacher will come tell me that he didn’t exhibit the best behavior in a class. The first couple of times this happened, he tried to fib his way out of it… but that doesn’t slide when mom works at your school and is good friends with all of your teachers!
I knew I needed to change this — and change it fast. The behavior was one thing. Too much talking/too little listening can be handled. But even more important to me was the fact that he believed he could lie his way out of it.
That was not going to fly with this mom. I’m the kind of person that can’t even tell you I went to Walgreens if I really went to CVS. I just don’t have it in me.
It took lots of work.
LOTS of reading. Lots of roleplaying. But now, if I even so much as ask how his behavior was in a class where I’ve heard there may have been a small hiccup, I get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. When it comes to making a poor choice and being honest with mom, my boys now know that truth telling, to me, is everything.
There’s a fine balance between being a staunch honesty advocate and being gentle on your kids when you do catch them in a lie. It’s all about giving them safe spaces to tell the truth about their behavior. And children’s books about lying help provide this space.
Children’s Books About Lying Develop Important Skills in Addition to Honesty
Stories that reward truth-telling after a particularly big or disastrous lie build so many important skills in our kids. They model how to be courageous by fessing up to poor choices. They show the importance of adopting a growth mindset by depicting children who learn from their mistakes and change their behaviors as they move forward. And they show that good choices are always applauded — even if poor choices were made first. This last part? This is everything.
Telling the truth is not easy. In fact, it can be downright hard. But when children know their honesty will be valued and their courage will be applauded, it helps to make them feel safe in an otherwise scary situation.
So what are you waiting for?
If you don’t want to hear “liar, liar pants on fire!” being directed at your kids, grab some of these books, and help your children learn that honesty is truly the best policy.
And guess what? There’s more! Because this is such a hot topic, I partnered with my friend Mary from Children’s Lit Love to bring you double the honesty booklists today. Be sure to check out her list here, and on Instagram here. You’ll see some overlap, but Mary has some new-to-me titles that I can’t wait to check out when the libraries open back up!
Our Favorite Children’s Books About Lying and Telling the Truth!
Three Bears in a Boat, by David Soman: In trying to reach a jar of honey, three young bears cause their mother’s beloved blue seashell to crash to the floor where it ends up in pieces. The bears are terrified of upsetting their mother, and so begins an epic boating quest to find a replacement shell —hopefully before mom realizes her favorite one is missing. Will they be successful? The combination of text and illustrations results in an expressive and emotive story, imparting to even the tiniest readers that though it may be intimidating, owning up to your actions and being honest with yourself and those around you is truly the best policy. Support local bookstores and get Three Bears in a Boat on Bookshop.org, here!
The Empty Pot, by Demi: Telling the truth can be downright scary — especially when you fear it will result in grave consequences. But this beautiful story masterfully illuminates how telling the truth can be the most courageous action one can possibly take — and it can result in great, great rewards. This is the story of Ping, a young boy hoping to grow the most beautiful flowers and become heir to the emperor. When the seeds given to him by the emperor fail to grow, he faces two tough options: exchange his failed plant for a beautiful new one and lie, or tell the emperor that despite his best efforts, his seeds did not bloom. So in love with this stellar story! Support local bookstores and get The Empty Pot on Bookshop.org, here!
A Bike Like Sergio’s, by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones: Finders keepers, right? When Ruben finds a hundred dollar bill that has fallen out of someone’s purse, he seems to have the answer to his prayers. After all, he is the only kid without a bike, and with one hundred dollars in his pocket, he can buy new wheels just like Sergios. But what about the groceries Ruben’s family needs? And, more importantly, what about the woman who lost the money? A thought-provoking book that places kids squarely in the middle of a dilemma and will have them debating what they would do if they were faced with the same situation. Support local bookstores and get A Bike Like Sergio’s on Bookshop.org, here!
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie, by Laura Rankin: Ruthie loves teeny tiny things, and when she spots a teeny tiny camera on the grass in the playground, she picks it up and immediately claims it as her own. But when Martin says it’s his camera and he got it for his birthday Ruthie refuses to give it up — and she even tells her teacher that she got it for her birthday. Ruthie knows she’s wrong, and her guilty conscience ruins the rest of her school day and her night at home. What can she do to make it right? Support local bookstores and get Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie on Bookshop.org, here!
Pig the Fibber, by Aaron Blabey: Pig the Pug isnt always honest. In fact, he tells lies to get exactly what he wants – even at the expense of his friends. When Pig comes up with a plan to get some hidden treats, he ends up getting Trevor the Sausage Dog in trouble. Will Pig ever learn his lesson? Support local bookstores and get Pig the Fibber on Bookshop.org, here!
Colette’s Lost Pet, by Isabelle Arsenault: Colette really wants to befriend her new neighbors, but she struggles to find something to talk about. Until, that is, she invents a pet! Colette tells the children she lost her pet parakeet, and before she knows it, her lie has spiraled totally out of control. What will happen when her new friends discover she’s been lying all along? We love the way this story showcases a child’s external struggle with her new surroundings and her internal struggle as her fib grows larger than life. Support local bookstores and get Colette’s Lost Pet on Bookshop.org, here!
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth, by Patricia McKissack and illustrated by Giselle Potter: When Mama catches Libby in her very first lie, she makes a promise to herself that from now on, she will only tell the truth. Soon, she’s telling everything about everyone! But even though she may be speaking the truth, some of these truths actually hurt — and everyone seems to be mad at her. Ruthie eventually gets a dose of her own medicine, and it’s then that she learns there is a right way — and a wrong way — to tell the truth! Support local bookstores and get The Honest-to-Goodness Truth on Bookshop.org, here!
The Lying King, by Alex Beard: What happens when a warthog lies his way to the throne and becomes king? Some animals in the jungle are scared to stand up to the king, and the results are devastating. The warthog doesn’t deserve to be in power, but his lies have turned all the animals against one another! Finally, warthog’s lies catch up to him and he is ensnared in a web of his own making. Both timely and timeless, this parable will not only entertain but convey vital lessons about becoming — and being — a leader. Support local bookstores and get The Lying King on Bookshop.org, here!
A Day’s Work, by Eve Bunting: In this tender story, Francisco helps his Mexican Abuelo find work as a day laborer. But when he lies to a man looking for help and tells the man Abuelo is an excellent gardener, he has no idea what a pickle he will get them into. The truth is that neither Francisco nor his grandfather know the first thing about plants, and they end up pulling healthy new plants out of the man’s field and leaving only the weeds! The man is angry, but when Abuelo realizes what happened, he insists that they get the job done correctly and refuses to take any money until they make good on their mistake. A tender story of honesty and integrity, this one is such a beauty! Support local bookstores and get A Day’s Work on Bookshop.org, here!
The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot, by Scott Magoon: In this fun fractured fairy tale, Bigfoot is the narrator, and he is pretty certain he has never come across Littlefoot before. Yet Littlefoot, a young boy, tells everyone he has seen Bigfoot — over and over again, until they become tired of his stories and failed sightings. So what happens when the boy actually does see Bigfoot — and Bigfoot steals the boy’s bike and dog? Will anyone believe him now? Or will he need cold hard proof? Such a fun twist on this classic tale! Support local bookstores and get The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot on Bookshop.org, here!