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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

11 Good Kid-Reads on Good Manners

By Jan Pierce

Raising polite and well-mannered children is a challenge. Good manners may be “caught” sometimes, but adults also have the responsibility to teach proper behaviors to kids. We need to be role models. 

Once children understand how they are expected to behave, it’s wise to skip the verbal reminders and fall back on outside sources to reinforce skills. In other words, children can tune out our reminders and admonitions, but they may respond positively to a story that encourages the behavior we want to cultivate. 

Here are some fine resources to use with children of various ages as we encourage proper behaviors and manners.

Table Manners

Manners at the Table by Carrie Finn and Chris Lensch (Picture Window Books, 2007). This book’s bright illustrations encourage children ages 4–8 to talk about the polite ways to eat a meal.

Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard! by Beth Brainard (Good Idea Kids, 2012). This chapter book is excellent for very young children as well as primary-aged kids. The Good Idea Kids and their dog, Vitamin, cover a wide range of manners.

You’ve Got Manners by Louise Elerding (Grandy Publications, 2004). Polly Politely and Milton Manners use the alphabet to walk children ages 7–9 through situations requiring good manners.

Speaking Politely

How to Speak Politely and Why by Munro Leaf (Universe, 2005). Not just for children, this updated classic teaches polite speech and correct grammar in a friendly, humorous way.

Every Kid’s Guide to Being a Communicator by Joy Berry (Children’s Press, 1987). For ages 6–12, this book is part of a series of 27 living skills books.

Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book by Richard Scarry (Random House, 1973). Kids of all ages love Richard Scarry’s busy books, which are full of illustrations and funny characters. 

Public Behavior

Everyday Graces by Karen Santorum (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2003). This anthology of stories and poems covers a wide variety of good behaviors for young children ages 3 and older.

Good Manners in Public by Ann Ingalls (Lightbox, 2017). Written by an elementary and special education teacher, this book helps kids ages 3–7 to focus on respect and consideration of others.

Manners at a Friend’s House by Amanda Doering Tourville (Picture Window Books, 2009). How should kids behave at a friend’s home? Do they remove their shoes? How do they know the rules in a different home? This book, for ages 4-8, answers these perplexing questions.

Good Sportsmanship

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship: Winning Isn’t Everything by Howard Binkow (Scholastic, 2011). Part of a series of ten books on sportsmanship, this book features tips to help parents discuss what it means to be a good sport with kids ages 4 and older.

The Berenstain Bears Play a Good Game by Jan and Mike Berenstain (Zonderkidz, 2009). This is a great book for ages 4–8. Papa Bear coaches the team, but the other coach just wants to win. Will the little bears learn sportsmanship?  

Jan Pierce, MEd, is a retired teacher and the author of Homegrown Readers and Homegrown Family Fun. Find her at