10 Books on Advocacy Skills for Elementary Students – 2024

Reading aloud children’s books to your elementary students is a great way to introduce and teach advocacy. Below is a list of our favorite picture books to teach this social emotional learning topic. They all lend themselves well to facilitating rich classroom discussions around advocacy. Click, Clack Moo Cows that Type, Wolfie the Bunny, Can I Be Your Dog? and The Day The Crayons Quit are part of our advocacy SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching advocacy. Learn all about these books on advocacy skills below and how you can use them to teach advocacy!

self advocacy read alouds

10 Books for Teaching Advocacy Skills

Below are 10 quality advocacy children’s books for elementary teachers to use as read alouds. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching self-advocacy, as well as many other concepts and skills.

1. Click, Clack Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

The cows on Farmer Brown’s farm are causing a problem for him. They found an old typewriter and have been typing all day! Animals go on strike until Farmer Brown compromises with the animals. Students can see the animals standing up for themselves and their needs. This book lends itself to teaching about the importance of advocacy and compromise. My Advocacy SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Click Clack Moo Cows that Type book cover Wolfie the Bunny book cover

2. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman 

A bunny family finds a baby wolf bundled on their doorstep. The parents take Wolfie in and raise him as their own child, but the baby bunny is skeptical. She keeps telling her parents and anyone that will listen that Wolfie is going to eat them all up. That is, until one day in the forest when they have a run-in with a bear! This story lends itself to teaching about advocacy as Dot the bunny shares her thoughts and feelings with her parents. My Advocacy SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

3. Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Arfy the dog is looking for a family to live with. He writes letters to families, butchers, the fire department, and even the scary house at the end of the road. Each time, he gets a letter back saying he cannot be their dog. By the end of the book, the mail carrier Mitzy happily takes Arfy home. Teaching about advocacy comes naturally in this story, as students will discuss the importance of having a home and family to belong to. My Advocacy SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Can I Be Your Dog? activities The Day the Crayons Quit book and activity

4. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Duncan’s crayons have decided to run away! They feel like Duncan has mistreated them, and are not going to take it anymore. At the end, Duncan hears the crayons’ concerns and creates a picture using all of them in better ways. Students will love this story told from the point of view of crayons in letter formats! They will also naturally discuss how and why the crayons needed to advocate for themselves. My Advocacy SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

5. Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor

The fifth book on this list of books on advocacy skills is Just Ask!. Just like each item in a garden is different, so are the children that tend to it. In this story, Sotomayor writes about students with a variety of differences, such as those with Autism and Down’s Syndrome to those who are blind and deaf. Students will learn to advocate for their questions and curiosities, ultimately teaching them that everyone is different and unique. Check out these Just Ask! activities!

Just Ask book cover We are Water Protectors book cover

6. We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

The narrator of this book grew up learning the importance of water. The people in her village consider themselves Water Protectors and Stewards of the Earth. It is their job to protect nature because everything on Earth is interconnected. The message of the book is to inspire readers to protect the Earth’s water from things like oil pipelines. Filled with figurative language, this book will teach students to advocate for their Earth. Check out these We are Water Protectors activities!

7. I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow 

When Alex decides that he wants an iguana, he goes to great lengths to prove to his mother that he can take care of it. Written in letter form, Alex writes convincingly to persuade his mom with great reasons. What’s left but to buy this iguana? Students will enjoy learning about Alex’s reasoning for wanting an iguana, as well as his advocacy for sharing what he wants. Check out these I Wanna Iguana activities!

I Wanna Iguana book cover I'm Not Just a Scribble activity

8. I’m Not Just a Scribble by Diane Alber

Scribble goes to different pictures and asks if he can play with them. The pictures say no and point out that Scribble looks different than them and is more messy and colorful. Scribble stays true to himself, and does not let them get him down. At the end of the story, the other pictures apologize to the Scribble and ask him to play with them. The pictures create a big, beautiful picture because they are all working together. This beautiful story shows Scribble advocating for himself as he stands up to the other pictures. Scribble knows his worth, and students will be reminded that they all are worthy, too! Check out these I’m Not Just a Scribble activities!

9. The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart 

Throughout the book, Penny is teaching readers how to become a purple person. She explains that purple people ask a lot of questions, laugh a lot, use their voice, work hard, and be themselves. Readers will learn that anyone can be a purple person, no matter what they look like. The book will inspire students to be the person that speaks up to help others and work hard to get things done. Check out these The World Needs More Purple People activities!

The World Needs More Purple People writing activity Ron's Big Mission

10. Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden

This story is based on Ron McNair’s life, a boy who will become a scientist and astronaut. Zooming into his childhood, this story shows Ron as a child, working to desegregate his library through peaceful protesting. Students will be reminded of past American history, while also seeing the power of one person through advocacy! Check out these Ron’s Big Mission activities!

Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities

Below are some integrated SEL and literacy resources for elementary teachers.

SEL Unit

Our Advocacy Unit, which is available individually or as part of a year-long SEL bundle, includes lessons for the first four books on this list. This unit is packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, games, and activities. Click an image below to either get this individual advocacy unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Advocacy SEL Unit Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle
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SEL Book Companions

As I mentioned earlier, I love teaching SEL skills using picture books. That’s why I created the Starts With a Story Collection. High quality children’s literature supports elementary teachers in delivering meaningful and accessible SEL lessons. All of the read alouds on this list are part of this book companion collection. Check out the book companions below!

Click Clack Moo Wolfie the Bunny Can I Be Your Dog? The Day the Crayons Quit Just Ask! book companion
We are Water Protectors book companion I Wanna Iguana I'm Not Just a Scribble The World Needs More Purple People Ron's Big Mission

In closing, we hope you found this list of books for teaching self advocacy skills helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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