How do we live with integrity?  How do we become real?  How should each of us confront the daily dilemmas of life?  These three tales offer timeless wisdom and can be read profitably by children of all ages.


The Velveteen Rabbit.  Margery Williams.  Illustrated by Genady Spirin.  (Marshall Cavendish, 2011.    


How do I become real?  A little velveteen rabbit, who one Christmas morning was “quite the best of all” presents, waits forgotten on a closet shelf.  He is befriended by a worn and bedraggled Skin Horse, who assures him that love and time will make him real. When sick and confined to bed, the boy owner comes to love the rabbit with all his heart, takes him to bed nightly, and enlists him in adventures.  The rabbit’s fur rubs off, his eyes are unbuttoned, his whiskers turn shabby, and eventually the Boy casts him aside.  But it does not matter.  For the Velveteen Rabbit has become “real” through the power of love and his own faithfulness in good times and bad.  Half a century in print, Williams’ text and Spirin’s llustrations, are still move the reader to tears and joy. 


Stone Soup.  Jon J. Muth.  Scholastic Press, 2003.


Watercolorist Jon Muth has transplanted this traditional European tale to China and made the protagonists three monks who help reclusive villagers learn how to be happy.  The townsfolk have grown suspicious of strangers, closing their doors to outsiders and even to each other.  But when resourceful monks from the mountains embark on the process of making stone soup in the village square, the villagers learn first-hand the value of sharing.  Striking watercolors of misty landscapes, village gates, and a town feast illuminated by fire red Chinese lanterns.





Heroism, Lives to Learn From, Wisdom


Each month on the Core Virtues website, we highlight heroes and heroines that particularly exemplify the virtue studied that month.  When children fall in love with human excellence (virtue) rather than human popularity (celebrity), they are on the path to fruitful lives. 


This month, as we wrap up the year with “Heroism” and “Lives to Learn From,” look back on any of the “Hero” entries you may have missed.  Below are a few more biographies of individuals worth knowing. 

June Recommendations

The following books are a small sampling of the books recommended in the resource guide.
(grade levels indicated in parentheses)


Lou GehrigLou Gehrig:  The Luckiest Man. David Adler. 
Illustrated by Terry Widener.  Sandpiper, 2001.  (K-3)

Courage, perseverance, and optimism are all exemplified in the life of this humble, gracious, and legendary first-baseman who lost his life to the rare disease that now bears his name.



Amelia EleanorAmelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride.  Pam Munoz Ryan.
Illustrated by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 1999. (K-3)

Determination, mettle, and true grit characterize both Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, who were good friends. One night the nation’s First Lady invited the First Lady of the Skies to dinner at the White House. This is the true story of their thrilling after-dinner getaway.


Michael Jordan

Salt in His Shoes.  Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream. 
Deloris Jordan. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (K-3)

The true story of a little boy, who fears he will never be tall enough to play his favorite game (basketball) well.  While waiting to grow, his parents advise him to  hone his actual skills through patience, hardwork, prayer, and determination.  The true grit of the young boy does indeed pay off.  



Kate ShelleyKate Shelley and the Midnight Express.   Margaret K. Wetterer.
First Avenue Editions, 1991. (2-5)

In 1881, Iowa farm girl, Kate Shelley, risked her own life one stormy night to warn of a washed out bridge and prevented a train wreck.  She was a fifteen year old real-life heroine.


Bully for you


Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt!  Jean Fritz. 
Puffin, 1997. (3-6)

An accurate and delightful chapter book portrayal of the energetic man who became the twenty-sixth American president.  Crime fighter, reformer, hunter, and environmentalist, Fritz chronicles TR’s boyish love of life and eagerness to advance the life of his nation.


Lizzie StantonYou Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?  Jean Fritz. 
Puffin, 1999. (3-6)

Another clear-eyed and playful biography from Fritz, accurately chronicling the life and times of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.   Stanton’s work for women’s rights and women’s suffrage put her at the (rather rough) cutting edge of change in the early twentieth century.  It will inspire young readers and educate all about women’s changing roles.


For an extensive bibliography of quality children's literature exemplifying these virtues, see the Core Virtues resource guide.

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