6 Time-Tested Books That Help Children Develop Leadership Characteristics

Stephanie GrandestaffMile Markers

Books empower children to be more successful by teaching many important life skills, and regularly reading to your children is time spent nurturing and showing them affection. There is literally no downside to the time you spend with your children and books, and it’s never too early to start!

Gary Beckman, long-time first grade teacher and champion storyteller, joined us on the Good Dads Podcast to share six of his favorite books that help children develop leadership characteristics (check out that episode of the podcast here).

Many of these classic books are out of print, but you can still find copies at local used bookstores, or click through the links below to search on Amazon.

See if you recognize any from your own childhood. Bonus points if you still have the book and tag us in a photo on social media!

1. The Little Red Hen – by Bryon Barton
This book teaches about the importance of helping out and how you’re not entitled to something for which you yourself did not work.

After reading this book together, try asking your child, “Do you think that was fair?” Get your child to think about the topic and talk through some scenarios.

2. Pig Pig Grows Up – by David McPhail
This one may be particularly hard to find, but it’s a great book for reminding kids that they’re growing up and it’s time to take on more responsibility. 

3. Lost! – by David McPhail
This book helps kids learn concepts like taking initiative and being kind to others.

4. Thunder Cake – by Patricia Polacco
This book provides a great example of helping someone who is scared.  This is great to read with your own kids if they’re fearful of storms, and has a bonus extension activity of baking a cake together. (We’re huge fans of dads and kids spending time in the kitchen together!)

5. The Big Orange Splot – by D. Manus Pinkwater
A great book that celebrates creativity and individuality.

6. Swimmy – by Leo Lionni
Swimmy is a little fish who makes a big difference. Check out this book to teach your child how to be a leader even when you’re different than others around you.

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For more great insights and tips be sure to subscribe to the Good Dads Podcast, and check out this episode on Leadership Books.


In closing, if you click through to Amazon and buy these books to help teach your kids leadership traits you’ll not only be the best dad ever, but Good Dads will also earn from qualifying purchases (at no additional cost to you!), and that helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support – today and always!