Manners

As a parent, there are lots of different important things that you want to make sure to teach to your child. For many parents, good manners and behavior come near the top of the list. This is understandable; being polite and knowing how to act in certain situations is a vital part of having a happy and successful life. For decades, many parents have supplemented hands-on training in how to behave properly with children’s books. Stories are a fantastic teaching tool, because they can make learning almost anything a lot of fun. As many parents know, when learning becomes fun, the chances increase that you’ll impart a life-long lesson, one your children will benefit from for years to come. To that end here are some of the most popular and endearing stories that teach children manners.

34 Books to Help Teach Your Children Good Manners.

Top 5 Children’s Books to Teach Manners

excuse me!: a little book of manners Excuse Me!: A Little Book of Manners: This Karen Katz story is a great example of how learning manners can start at a very young age. Designed with babies and young toddlers in mind, this tale provides simple manners lessons along with bright colorful pictures that are extremely kid-friendly. Each page poses a basic manners situation (like burping), and then asks kids the important question “What do you say?” Best of all, the answers (“thank you,” “excuse me,” etc.) are hidden under flaps that kids can lift, which really increases the fun factor. Many parents report that this story quickly became one of their child’s favorites. That means that you can not only start teaching manners at a very young age, but also work to foster a life-long love of reading at the same time.
manners can be fun Manners Can Be Fun: In some people’s minds, manners are an old fashioned affair, and in a way, this isn’t a bad thing. For those who enjoy looking back on a fonder time for behavioral inspiration, this classic by Leaf Munro might be exactly what you’ve been after. With timeless stick figure illustrations and funny, easy to understand stories, it’s easy to see how this has become a legend among children’s books, particularly among those dealing with being polite. Part of a larger series of “Can Be Fun” stories, the first version of this timeless tale was published in 1936. While times may have changed, most will agree that the age-old lesson about being considerate and thoughtful ring as true today as they ever have.
manners Manners: Many parents find that the most difficult part about instructing their children on behavior is keeping them interested. With so many other things to do and pay attention to, it gets hard to make many lessons stick. That’s why this wonderful title by Aliki is such a wonderful way to help parents make this particular kind of learning fun. With fun and colorful illustrations, kids will have plenty to be entertained by. Plus, instead of one long story line, kids get to read lots of different and innovative snippets, including role playing, fun cartoons, and more. This breaks up the pattern, and helps kids to enjoy themselves to the extent that they don’t realize they’re learning anything at all. Moreover, this story is fun for a wide range of children in terms of age. While younger children will enjoy having this tale read to them, it also makes a great reading tool for children all the way up to third grade and beyond.
what do you say, dear What Do You Say, Dear: While people say that laughter is the best medicine, humor is also a fantastic teaching tool. This children’s book is perfect proof. While all (or almost all) kid’s manuals for behavior involve hypothetical situations, no other story provides ‘what ifs’ that are so hilarious and perfectly suited to the way that kids think: “You are downtown, and there is a gentleman giving baby elephants to people. You want to take one home because you have always wanted a baby elephant, but first the gentleman introduces you to each other. What do you say, dear?” This not only can cause huge eruptions of laughter in kids (and parents), but also really drives home the message that when introduced to someone, you must remember to say the right thing. Joslin Sesyle’s delightful words are combined with the amusing drawings of powerhouse Maurice Sendak to create a children’s classic that teaches almost as much as it entertains.
how to behave and why How to Behave and Why: Truly, Munro Leaf is a giant in the world of stories that focus on kid’s etiquette, and this classic is a great example of why. While it was written more than fifty years ago, the basic lessons that this tale imparts are easy to understand, but valuable to people of all ages. The basic premise of the story—that you have to be honest, fair, strong, and wise—is an essential life strategy that’s told in a compelling and fun way. To back up this point, the author uses simple stick figure illustrations. While simple in composition, the drawings are endearing, fun, and to the point. Moreover, they reinforce the idea that learning how to behave is a very basic idea.

Other Great Children’s Books About Manners

an awesome book of thanks! An Awesome Book of Thanks!: Part of good manners is being thankful for all that you have – and appreciating that you may have more than others do. This book shows kids just how beautiful their life is, and how to appreciate all the simple moments and little things in life – as well as the big things! This is a timeless story, full of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, and a host of other mystical creatures. It’s beautifully and whimsically illustrated, with a fantastical sense of wonder and joy. This book will not only show kids how to be thankful – it will give them one more thing to be thankful for.
should i share my ice cream? Should I Share My Ice Cream?: Piggie and Elephant are well known in the world of children’s books – and for good reason! Their funny, whimsical, and hilarious tales are ones that kids and parents alike can relate to. In this installment, Gerald has a scrumptious ice cream cone, but he just can’t decide – should he share it with his friend Piggie or eat it himself? He takes so much time to finally decide to share it, that by the time he tries to do so the ice cream has melted! Luckily, Piggie shows up just in time and offers a solution that allows the friends to share their ice cream – and the wonderful joy of real friendship.
my mouth is a volcano My Mouth is a Volcano: Louis has a lot of thoughts, and each one is very important to him. Indeed, they are so important that whenever one strikes him, he can’t help but spew it out, regardless of who’s talking or where he is. You see, his mouth is a volcano! This book takes a unique and humorous approach the bad manners of interrupting others. It teaches children a smart, sly, and witty technique to avoid this rude behavior, and draws clear lines on when it’s appropriate to express oneself and when it’s polite to keep quiet. Children will learn valuable lessons about respecting others.
the pigeon finds a hot dog! The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!: Fans of the original Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus will love this fast, funny and hilarious follow-up, though it’s certainly a stand alone book that’s great for those who are new to the series. It focuses on Pigeon, who discovers a scrumptious looking hot dog that he can’t wait to devour! But when a hungry duckling appears and wants a bite, readers are thrown for a loop. As the tension builds, you’re left to wonder, who will be the bird clever enough to get their bite? Written by a six-time Emmy award-winning writer and animator for Sesame Street, this is a book that will get kids giggling.
how do dinosaurs play with their friends? How Do Dinosaurs Play with their Friends?: A great book for kids who love dinosaurs, and especially for those who are fans of the acclaimed How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, this book teaches important lessons about how to play nice with friends. This is a book that utilizes many common items that kids of all ages will recognize. The text is simple enough for younger children to comprehend, but the vivacious illustrations and humorous text will keep the attention of older kids as well. Children will go along on a dinosaur-ridden journey about how to treat those we care about.
do unto otters: a book about manners Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners: A children’s book about etiquette couldn’t be more fun or accessible to kids than this book. It is a story of the “Golden Rule,” which encourages us to treat each other the way we’d like to be treated. It focuses on Mr. Rabbit and his new neighbors, the Otters. The lessons include such simple concepts as “Please,” and “Thank you,” as well as more complex manners as well. Illustrated and written by the beloved Laurie Keller, this is a book that kids will cherish while they learn about how to be good friends and good neighbors.
cookies: bite-size life lessonse Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons: Amy Krouse Rosenthal really hits one out of the park by combining two seemingly unrelated subjects: teaching children manners and cookies. In this story, the author distills lessons about behavior and respect into simple definitions of hard to define words, all of which focus around one of kids’ favorite treats. For example, the story explains that “trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie.” Adding to the fun of learning through baked goods, Jane Dyer includes a series of fantastic watercolors. These whimsical images picture a multicultural cast of children interacting with animals in silly, yet meaningful ways. For anyone looking to breach the discussion of behavior in a way that few kids could object to, this is a great story to choose.
clifford’s manners Clifford’s Manners: Sometimes, the best way to learn a lesson is to watch someone you look up to doing the same. This, of course, means that it’s important to set a good example, but also that kids may enjoy taking a few behavioral cues from some of their favorite characters. When it comes to being polite, it’s hard to imagine a more apt teacher than Clifford. Whose manners could be more important than a two story dog? By showing Clifford and Emily Elizabeth acting out all the most common social situations where manners come up, this tale provides a great springboard to discussions of etiquette with all children. Plus, this manual might be better for older children, because it includes situations that are often left out of other stories for younger audiences, such as being quiet in movie theaters, sending thank-you notes, and following the rules in sports.
dear miss perfect Dear Miss Perfect: A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior: Occasionally, kids learn the best when they think that they’re getting the chance to be just like grownups. Sandra Dutton’s adorable table works on this premise, by offering young children a chance to learn manners in a way that many adults do: through a newspaper advice column. Miss Perfect, a bird advice columnist, offers keen advice to animal children from all over. Each letter provides a subtle lesson that helps kids improve their behavior. Furthermore, the funny and entertaining text is accompanied by simple yet enjoyable watercolors that children will enjoy, especially as they depict such hilarious (yet instructive) moments, such as a Possum hanging from its tail during class.
madeline says merci Madeline Says Merci: While only a small girl, Madeline is a giant in the world of children’s books. That makes this red-headed dynamo a fantastic way to introduce kids to the basics of being good. Written by John Bemelmans Marciano, the grandson of Madeline’s creator, Ludwig Bemelmans, this story is a fun and enjoyable way to teach kids proper behavior. Each lesson is composed in rhyming verse, which makes the text a lot more fun for kids to read, while also making politeness lessons easier to remember. Best of all, like all Madeline tales, the familiar form of Madeline and her school chums will delight kids and parents alike in each of the colorful illustrations. For those looking for a lighthearted approach to learning life’s lessons, and especially for Madeline fans, this one is a must-have.
everyday graces: child’s book of good manners Everyday Graces: Child’s Book Of Good Manners: There’s truly something for almost everyone in this entertaining story. Instead of just one story, Karen Santorum has compiled a fantastic collection of great stories and poems dealing with the subject of good behavior by some of the greatest authors the world has ever known. Including works by such greats as Mark Twain and C. S. Lewis, this anthology truly offers a wealth of styles and opinions, all of which can be helpful in learning how to behave. As proof of how widespread this tome’s appeal can be, it’s been endorsed by both Senator Elizabeth Dole and Bono, of U2. With the added bonus of introducing kids to a wide swatch of literature, this is really a masterpiece in etiquette for kids.
the scallywags The Scallywags: What makes this story by David Melling so interesting is that it deals with a side of manners that many other tales neglect: being too mindful of other’s shortcomings. While most stories find room to deal with saying pleases and thank yous, not so many tales make the point that correcting everyone else’s behavior is often as bad as being rude yourself. Focusing around a family of unruly wolves, this tale shows what happens when people (or in this case animals) pay both too little and too much attention to the way that they and others act. The colorful and detailed illustrations make this one a real winner, and another story that could easily become your child’s favorite.
dude, that’s rude Dude, That’s Rude: Many parents might feel that one of the reasons that kids can’t connect with lessons about behavior is that it’s hard or difficult for them to connect with old fashioned ideas. While it’s true that most of the principles of proper behavior will really never go out of style, there’s also some truth to the concept that kids will learn better when concepts are presented in terms their familiar with. This great contemporary manual on behavior provides kids with the hows and whys of being good in a modern context. This not only makes it easy for kids to connect with classic lessons about table manners and saying ‘excuse me,’ but also deals with modern issues that older texts couldn’t have foreseen, such as cell phone manners, and online etiquette.
stoo hample’s book of bad manners Stoo Hample’s Book of Bad Manners: Teaching manners often means using a variety of different approaches. Author Stoo Hample gives parents and teachers an innovative tool in the battle of behavior by offering a clever collection of poems. Rather than teaching kids how to act, this collection offers kids detailed and hilarious examples of exactly what not to do. Amusingly gross poems are combined with crude silly drawings, both of which are sure to make kids of a certain age range howl with delight. But while it might seem like that gross out humor is all that’s going on, each funny poem also shows kids what is and isn’t socially acceptable. On top of that, introducing children to poetry is one more way to teach them to enjoy learning and literature.
monster manners Monster Manners: There are few things that inspire wonder and imagination in kids quite like monsters, which makes them a great pairing for lessons on politeness and proper behavior. The text of this tale, written by Bethany Roberts, is a fun look at what is and isn’t good behavior, set in fun rhymes. The text in and of itself is great, and does a lot to make learning about how to act properly fun. But what really sets this text apart are the great illustrations by Andrew Glass. The pictures here of three adorable monsters in absurd outfits bring the story to life, and will help younger children to really bond with the characters and the message of the story
mind your manners, b.b. wolf Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf: In many cases, the best ways to learn things are through stories you already know. This hilarious tale proves that point fantastically by remixing fairy tales into a modern take on how to behave in public. The Big Bad Wolf, long since retired, has been invited to tea by the local librarian. While the lure of free cookies is more than enough to grab B.B.’s attention, his crocodile friend is quick to point out that minding his manners will be a must. What follows is a fantastic list of advice on how to be good and hilarious references to great childhood stories like Red Riding Hood. This is a must not only for those interested in teaching etiquette, but also for anyone who really loves fairy tales.
whoopi’s big book of manners Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners: In many cases, parents are left out of the equation of stories about behaving all together. While kids are certainly the focus, it’s worth pointing out that parents are the ones who end up reading these tales (often aloud) most often. That’s why this story is such a pleasant change of pace. Whoopi Goldberg combines a solid foundation in how to act in public with the same great humor that won her the Mark Twain Prize. Parents will also like that the story deals with modern etiquette situations like elevators, and cell phone use at public events. All in all, anyone who likes to laugh and learn might want to pick this title up.
the berenstain bears forget their manners The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners: For more than forty years, the Berenstain bears have been a mainstay in children’s books. Thus, who better to teach manners than Mama, Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear? In this memorable episode, the Bear Family’s bad behavior prompts Mama to implement a new system that helps the cubs (and Papa) learn how to mind themselves. Not only does this story teach kids a lot of great lessons, but it also gives a practical system on how to deal with misbehavior that kids might want to try out.
the thingumajig book of manners The Thingumajig Book of Manners: Most people agree that being silly is one of the things that really makes children who they are. While most parents consider this a good thing, silliness is not normally believed to be conducive to good behavior. Normally, silliness and manners aren’t considered to go hand in hand, but this fantastic story proves that manners for children can indeed be a fun goofy time. The title characters, the Thingumajigs, are depicted as absurd, silly, and gross—perfect examples of exactly how not to act. Every bad example is paired with a good one, which helps kids to harness their silly side to help them master the very serious aspects of being polite.
a little book of manners: courtesy & kindness for young ladies A Little Book of Manners: Courtesy & Kindness for Young Ladies: What many parents find difficult about inculcating their children with good manners is getting beyond the simple repetition of please and thank you. In most cases, the true behaviors that one wants to instill go much deeper than simply saying a few tired words. To really understand how to behave properly, kids need to know not only what to do, but why they’re being asked to do it. To that end, this manual is a perfect solution. By stressing a loving attitude, the story of young Emilie can help young ladies learn why acting properly is important, which is a great way to make sure they act properly more often.
a little book of manners for boys A Little Book of Manners for Boys: The old adage that boys will be boys still holds true today. That means that many parents of little boys find that they have trouble interesting their sons in etiquette because they feel that this is just “girl stuff.” This fun story is the perfect answer to any such complaints. By giving little boys their own story of manners for children, authors Bob Barnes and Emilie Barnes give young men a way to learn the right way to behave without having to feel like they’re not doing anything “girly.” This fun tale has illustrations by Michal Sparks, and features sections about sportsmanship, table manners, appropriate language, and more.
this little piggy’s book of manners This Little Piggy’s Book of Manners: Sometimes, the simple approach is the best, and this fun story is a great example. The simple “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme is here expanded by author Kathryn Madeline Allen into a funny yet instructive list of good and bad behaviors. The juxtaposition of the different behaviors allows children to see the difference between poor and proper etiquette, and also see that acting properly has positive consequences every time. To back this point up, Nancy Wolff provides hilarious illustrations, which bring the little piggies to live in vibrant colors that are sure to catch kids’ eye. The fun illustrations make this a great choice for story time, and a sure favorite for the preschool crowd.
dora’s book of manners Dora’s Book of Manners: It’s no secret that using kids’ favorite characters is a great way to make almost anything more fun, and this includes learning proper behavior. Dora the Explorer is a perfect example, and is ideally suited for teaching manners because kids are already used to learning from her and her lovable cast of cohorts. In this fun story, a Troll needs Dora and Boots’ help to find and apologize to his friend Mouse. Kids get to learn all the basics of being polite while also working on reading skills and learning Spanish. In fact, for parents interested in increasing the bilingual experience, this story is also available in Spanish, which makes learning both etiquette and a second language easier and more fun.
richard scarry’s please and thank you book Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book: When it comes to children’s literature of any variety, it’s difficult to not to mention Richard Scarry. His take on teaching children manners is another classic. While the title might seem to suggest that this series of stories focuses on only a single aspect of good behavior, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Lessons about right and wrong, going to school, staying safe, and much more, fill each page and story. Unquestionably one of the best parts about this title is that it can introduce children to the Richard Scarry universe, where characters such as Huckle and Lowly can teach kids not only good behavior, but also lots of other important things, not the least of which is a life-long love of reading.
don’t do that Don’t Do That: Of all the stories that make teaching etiquette their focus, this story might be one of the most humorous and the most unique. While many stories rely on bad examples to teach good ones, this story takes bad examples to the next level, and essentially gives a guide to bad behavior. With sections entitled things like “How to Play with your Food,” it’s easy to see how this one is a real favorite with the target audience. It’s also, however, a huge hit with parents. While some might be surprised, most find that the silly examples of bad behavior encourage kids to do the right thing. By offering silly reasons to do the right thing, this manual helps make being good a whole lot more fun.
lady lupin’s book of etiquette Lady Lupin’s Book of Etiquette: Many people would simply be satisfied if the children could grasp even the most basic of principles regarding good behavior. Yet in many situations, acting properly goes far and above saying please and thank you. The problem is how to introduce children to the larger world of etiquette while holding their attention and not being confusing. This title does a great job of just that by associating a high society etiquette lesson with a lovable pack of Scottish Deerhounds. The end effect is a lovable story that combines basic advice like talking(or in this case barking) with one’s mouth full, while also touching on the next level of acting properly(dealing with formal place settings). All in all, this is a fun way to make learning how to be good more fun.
the golden rule The Golden Rule: While not the most explicit of manuals about good manners, this story does serve as one of the most complete and compelling studies of how to be good. Instead of focusing on rules of etiquette and pleases and thank yous, this story aims specifically at the driving force behind these conventions: the simple admonition to “do unto others as you would have done.” By highlighting the universality of this theme through its existence in many different cultures, this story truly asks children and their parents to consider how they could be kinder. The open ended conclusion of the tale combined with the striking illustrations make this a great examination not of just how to act good, but how to be good.
mary louise loses her manners Mary Louise Loses Her Manners: This story takes a hilarious spin on the idea of minding one’s manners. Far from minding them, poor Mary Louise actually manages to misplace hers in this wacky adventure. Without her manners, Mary Louise makes mistake after mistake, prompting a search around town that eventually ends in a happy reunion. Each time Mary Louise slips up, kids get a laugh, but also a lesson. Plus, kids who often feel overwhelmed with behavior standards will certainly commiserate with Mary Louise and her trying journey. Fun modern style illustrations really set off the story, and make this a great pick, especially for kids who like to laugh while they learn.
rules of the wild: an unruly book of manners Rules of the Wild: An Unruly Book of Manners: It’s not uncommon for authors to use animals in the course of illustrating the importance of good behavior, but Bridget Levin can be said to take this concept to the next level. Levin puts kids in a head to head comparison of behavior with various animals. This illustrates key etiquette points while also giving kids something to laugh at (i. e. a camel spits, but kids should not). Each hilarious example of what not to do helps reinforce a key concept of proper behavior. The vivid and fun illustrations by Amanda Shepherd add detail to the pictures. Parents will like the clear chart at the end, which explains clearly which behaviors are okay for animals, and which are okay for kids. Altogether this is a fun story about being good that makes a great story time selection.

2 Responses to “Manners”

  1. [...] Childrens Books Guide offers a comprehensive listing of books available for children on manners: Childrens Books Guide – Manners, and I found a wonderful article at About.com titled Gasp, Giggle, Think, and Learn: 10 Best Books [...]

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