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4 Picture Books to Teach Perspective at the Elementary Level in 2023

One of my favorite teaching strategies is using picture books to teach SEL skills. Picture books are powerful tools that make social emotional learning topics fun and meaningful. They are also very accessible. Even if you don’t have a robust collection of high quality children’s literature in your classroom library, you likely have access to books through your school library, public library, or on the internet. The best part is that students love listening to and discussing stories about relatable characters and storylines. They learn so much from them!

In this post, I share my favorite picture books to teach perspective. Many of the books are part of my Starts With a Story collection. Dear Mrs. Larue: Letters from Obedience School, Hey, Little Ant, True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Big Red Lollipop are also part of our perspective taking SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching perspective-taking. Check out the list of children’s books below!

4 Picture Books to Teach Perspective

Below are 4 quality picture books to teach perspective. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching perspective-taking, as well as many other concepts and skills.

1. Dear Mrs. Larue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague

Mrs. Larue’s dog, Ike, was a very spoiled dog. Frustrated with his behavior, she made the decision to send Ike to the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy.  Once at school, Ike started writing letters to Mrs. LaRue and expressed his dislike for the boarding school. Soon, he decided to escape. Good thing he did, because right as he was walking, Mrs. LaRue got hurt in the street! LaRue was so happy to have Ike home and was grateful he had saved her. This story shows the importance of taking perspective because we get to see inside Ike’s thoughts and feelings. We are able to then empathize with him!  My Perspective Taking SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Dear Mrs. LaRue book cover

2. Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose

In this story, there is a boy who finds an ant and wants to squish it, and an ant who doesn’t want to be squished. The story goes back and forth between the perspective of the ant and the perspective of the boy. The boy gives the ant reasons why he should squish the ant. The ant gives the boy reasons why he should not squish him. At the end of this story readers have to decide whether or not the boy should squish the ant. This story has readers explore what it is like to take the perspective of someone else when making choices. My Perspective Taking SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

3. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

A wolf sets out to tell his version of what really happened the day he blew all the houses down. The wolf claims that he is completely misunderstood! This silly story is sure to have students thinking about perspective as the wolf retells this fractured fairy tale from his point of view. Students will enjoy learning his reasoning and will gain empathy towards the previously evil character. My Perspective Taking SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs book and activityBig Red Lollipop book cover and activities

4. The Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

This story revolves around Rubina and how she has to bring her annoying sister to a birthday party. The experience was mortifying and Rubina became frustrated with her family. Eventually, the sister was invited to a party. Their mother said that the youngest must go with her. Rubina is able to break the pattern and explain to her family that sisters do not have to go together. This story allows students to understand the cultural aspects within the story, as well as empathize with both sisters as they navigate different social situations! My Perspective Taking SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities

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

SEL Unit

Our Perspective 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 perspective unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Perspective SEL Unit
Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle

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!

Dear Mrs. LarueHey Little AntThe True Story of the Three Little PigsBig Red Lollipop

We hope you found this list of picture books to teach perspective helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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