Character Education


Early Years Parent Resources

The reading resources and activities below are aimed at children aged between 3 and 5 years old and are arranged according to which virtue or virtues they explore. 

Compassion means exhibiting care and concern for each other and gratitude reflects feeling and expressing thanks for kindnesses shown to you. Below is a collection of books that reflect compassion and/or kindness.

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom is a story about a witch and her Cat who fly around on the witch’s broom. On their travels they meet a dog, a bird and a frog who ask to join the witch and the cat on her broom. The witch shows compassion and acceptance to the animals by welcoming them on her broom (even when there is no room!) and the animals show gratitude to the witch for her kindness by protecting her against the dragon. 

Wanted! Ralphy Rabbit, Book Burglar

Wanted! Ralphy Rabbit, Book Burglar is a book about a rabbit who steals books. A little boy called Arthur notices his books are going missing and so catches Ralphy and hands him to the police. Arthur then realises Ralphy only steals books because he loves them so much and shows compassion and understanding of Ralphy, defending him to the police and introducing him to the library, where he can borrow books! 


Grrrrr! tells the story of Fred the bear who competes in a bear competition each year. A rival bear steals Fred’s ‘grrrrr’ and the animals of the wood come together to help him. When they find his ‘grrrrr’ Fred shows compassion to the rival bear, listening to his explanation and forgiving him for taking his ‘grrrrr’. Both the rival bear and Fred show gratitude to the animals of the wood for helping them. 

Once Upon a Cloud

For those readers who loved Frozen and Tangled, we can heartily recommend Once Upon a Cloud, by Claire Keane. Similar to her work on Frozen and Tangled, Keane has produced a visually stunning book. The topic of Once Upon a Cloud is that of gratitude and compassion. Celeste wants the perfect gift to celebrate her mother. Celeste finds a magical way to give thanks to her mother and show her how much she cares.

The Orange House

The Orange House by Nahid Kazemi is a book about kindness and compassion, in particular when others are in need. The orange house is an old house, surrounded by new modern-built houses. In the beginning, the newer houses are very self-congratulatory and point out the differences between themselves and the older orange house. When they realise that this kind of behaviour might have devastating consequence for the orange house, they start to understand the importance of kindness. Ultimately, the orange house, and its neighbours find a way of living together happily.

Courage means having the strength and will to know what you should do even though you may be afraid. Below is a collection of books that contain characters that have shown courage as well as stories which acknowledge how difficult it can be to show courage when something scares or frightens you. 

The Snail and the Whale

The Snail and the Whale is a story about an unlikely pair of friends who travel the world together. Snail wants to be adventurous but feels small compared to the big wide world and when he is faced with helping his friend whale (when he gets beached on the coast) he doesn’t think he will be able to. However, the little snail demonstrates huge courage and uses his skills to help the whale get rescued. This is a heart-warming story which uses detailed pictures and rhymes to show how courage can be shown in all shapes and sizes.

I am Rosa Parks 

I am Rosa Parks makes the story of Rosa Parks, best known for her influential role in the civil rights movement in America, accessible and understandable for younger children. The book shows how Rosa dared to stand up for herself in a society in which this was very difficult to do and provides a means to talk about inequality. The book is clear and easy to follow for younger readers with engaging illustrations and text presentation. As well as being able to talk about how Rosa showed courage in her actions and beliefs, the story lends itself to talking about respect and civility too.

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero tells the story of a young boy who by day seems quiet and unassuming, yet by night turns into a superhero. After midnight Eliot flies about saving people, is called on by the Queen to help catch a jewel thief and saves the Earth from a giant meteor! Readers will be engaged by Eliot’s adventures and any superhero fans will enjoy the comic style illustrations. Courage is evident throughout this story with Eliot risking his own life to saves others. While these are extraordinary acts of bravery, the book demonstrates how courage can be shown by all people and encourages readers to look beyond stereotypes and first impressions.

The Fox and the Star

The Fox and the Star is a touching story about a Fox and the loss of his friend star. Star gives fox courage to explore the deep dark forest and when she disappears Fox must find the strength to face the forest alone. When Fox does, he realises there is a whole new world out there with beauty and adventure. This book is impeccably illustrated, with each page beautifully designed to reflect foxes fears and feelings. This book explores love and loss and how courage can be the vehicle to hope and new beginnings. Younger children will love the pictures in this book which is why we have put it in the 0-7 years category, however, the book also uses wonderfully descriptive language which would make it suitable for an older reader too.

Lost and Found

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a lost penguin and a young boy. One day, a young boy finds a penguin on his doorstep and decides to help him return home. The boy shows great courage and resourcefulness on his quest to return the penguin to the South Pole, facing danger head-on in his rowing boat. However, although he succeeds on his mission, he discovers that both he and the penguin are sadder than ever. What they really needed all along was each other. The beautiful illustrations and limited text mean that this book is suitable for younger readers but could lead to rich discussions about both friendship and courage with older readers. 

Generosity is the virtue of being kind and generous. Below is a collection of books that contain characters that have shown generosity in different contexts.

The Elephant’s Umbrella

This picture book tells the story of a generous elephant who is happy to share his umbrella. However, when the umbrella gets blown away, it falls into the hands of some animals who are less willing to share. A lovely story for little ones about being generous with our possessions.

The Last Chip

This beautiful picture book tells the story of Percy, a very hungry pigeon, whose attempts to get something to eat are constantly thwarted by bigger pigeons. However, an act of kindness from an unexpected source warms his heart and fills his tummy. In addition to the heart-warming story about generosity, a donation from every book sale goes to The Trussell Trust, who run foodbanks across the UK. A great way to show generosity in action!

The Smartest Giant in Town

The dynamic duo of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler can be relied on to produce beautifully illustrated stories with a big heart. In The Smartest Giant in Town, a formerly scruffy giant has a bit of a make-over but, as he strolls through town, realises that there are lots of animals who could use some of his new clothes. A great story that could be used to talk about donating to others in need.

The Rainbow Fish

This popular, classic children’s book tells the story of a beautiful fish with shiny, silver scales who has to learn to share with those around her in order to be happy. You could use this book to talk about both the benefits and the costs of being generous.
Honesty means being truthful and sincere to those around you as well as to yourself. Below is a collection of books that reflect honesty in different contexts and situations.

Don’t Tell Lies Lucy! A Cautionary Tale

Telling the truth is important – lies lead to problems. This entertaining tale makes this clear and highlights how important it is for us to tell the truth, so that we can trust one another. Lucy loves telling lies and doesn’t take responsibility for her mistakes. Because of her behaviour, she doesn’t trust the word of others – a big mistake!