Literature for discussion of the Attitudes listed in the Primary Years Programme 

This is a list of literature that we think could be used to spark stimulating discussion of the various ‘attitudes’ that the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate wants the students to develop. These attitudes are: Appreciation, Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation, Creativity, Curiosity, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Independence, Integrity, Respect, and Tolerance. 

In many of the books chosen, there is a strong element of irony and many of them are amusing. We hope that all the books will be enjoyable to read and will give students and teachers greater understanding of varying aspects of the positive attitudes that the PYP hopes students will develop towards people, the environment and learning. We are sure the list will be of value not just to teachers of the PYP but also to any teachers interested in a wide range of good literature for discussion. After each review we have listed some of the most obvious attitudes which could be discussed with each book. However many of the books are complex and we are sure students will suggest further attitudes which can also be found in the books. 

We have given an indication of reading levels to each of the titles. It is worth while noting that many of the picture books listed can also be used in discussions with older students. 

Recommended by Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke

Picture Books

Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen pb 9780143501312 $14.99
Grandpa and Thomas spend a delightful day at the beach enjoying each other’s company as they paddle, picnic and feed the screeching seagulls. Lots of familiar rhythmic repetition as the sea swooshes in the background. (4 – 6 years) KS

Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley & Derek Brazell (illus) pb 9780517883327 $13.00
Ling Sung decides he doesn’t like school but all his problems disappear when he discovers there is something he can do that others can’t – he can use chopsticks. (3 – 6 years) KS 
Confidence, Enthusiasm

Belonging by Jeannie Baker hb 9780744592276 $29.95 pb 9781406305487 $16.95 Big Book 9781406309416 $44.95
This textless picture book depicts an inner city suburb which is bleak in its drabness, ugly signs, graffiti and dilapidated houses and the way it changes over several generations. The street is gradually transformed as a little girl and her family begin to plant native trees and flowers. Gradually the whole community becomes involved and the ugly signs are removed, houses are painted, gardens are made and trees are planted in the street. The birds return to the area bringing life and splashes of colour. The community has gradually transformed their suburb into a pleasant, living place. (7 – 11 years) KS
Appreciation, Cooperation, Creativity, Respect

The Last King of Angkor Wat by Graeme Base hb 9780670077151 $26.99
Tiger, Gibbon, Water Buffalo and Gecko are lounging in the ruins of one of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. Inspired by the stone carvings of kings, each argues that he would have been a great ruler. An old statue of the Elephant King comes to life and sets them a challenge: they must journey to the temple on the top of the hill, proving along the way that they have strength, compassion, resilience and courage. Off they race but at the end the Elephant King points out that none of them has all of the qualities of a great king. They are humbled by their experience and strive for self-improvement. Gorgeous illustrations. (5/6 – 8 year olds) MC

A Nice Walk in the Jungle by Nan Bodsworth pb 9780140541274 $14.99
Miss Jellaby is such an enthusiastic teacher that as she walks and talks her way through the jungle she doesn't notice that her class is, one by one, being consumed by a hungry boa constrictor. But a boa constrictor is no match for Miss Jellaby. (5 – 6 years) KS
Curiosity, Enthusiasm

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi pb 9780440417996 $14.00 
A story about a young Korean girl who thinks she will choose an American name when she comes to live in America in order to fit in better. However in the end she decides that her name, Unhei meaning Grace, reflects herself and her culture. A lesson in cultural understanding in the classroom. (7 – 10 years) KS
Tolerance, Independence

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper pb 9780552545105 $19.99 
A delightful story about Cat, Squirrel and Duck and the problems caused when Duck decides he will stir the pumpkin soup instead of Squirrel. It takes a while but gradually everything is worked and cooperation reigns again. (4 – 6 years) KS
Cooperation, Empathy

Happy Birthday Jamela! by Niki Daly pb 9781845074227 $16.95
When Jamela is given new sensible shoes for school instead of the pretty dancing shoes she wanted she brightens up the sensible shoes with beads and glittery bits until they sparkle. And they sell like hot cakes at the market. (5 – 8 years)

The Empty Pot by Demi pb 9780805049008 $14.00
When the Emperor of China gives all the children seeds to grow, Ping is dismayed that his pot is the only empty pot. All the other children have grown beautiful flowers. However the emperor is delighted with Ping because Ping is the only one honest enough to admit that his seed didn’t grow.   (5 – 8 years) KS

Say Hello by Jack and Michael Foreman pb 9780763660871 $13.00
A simple book with a minimum of text and the simplest of illustrations. A lonely dog joins in with a group of children playing a game of football. When a young boy comes along, he is also lonely but is delighted when the dog bounds over and drops the ball at his feet in an invitation to join in! At the end of the book there are two pages of the words Hello! written in many different languages.  (4 – 7 years) KS
Empathy, Tolerance

You and Me, Murrawee by Kerri Hashmi & Felicity Marshall (illus) pb 9780140564990 $14.99 
A beautifully illustrated picture book which shows a young white girl camping on the banks of the River Murray with her family and through her eyes the life of a young Aboriginal girl Murrawee two hundred of years earlier, before the white settlers came. (5 – 8 years) KS

Clancy the Courageous Cow by Lachie Hume pb 9781862915671 $15.99 
Written by Lachie when he was just 11 years, the book has a charm and unpredictability. Teachers love to use it with children when discussing the topic of racial differences and discrimination. Clancy belonged to a herd of Belted Galloways but he doesn’t have a belt, he is completely black. The other cows were mean to him because of this. On the other side of the fence was a herd of big bossy Herefords where a totally red Hereford called Helga was also picked on for being different from the other red and white Herefords. The illustrations are a delight. (4 – 7 years) KS
Empathy, Tolerance

Dear Greenpeace by Simon James pb 9781406308488 $16.95 
When a whale suddenly appears in the garden pond, the little girl decides to write to Greenpeace for advice. She shows great ingenuity in her letters. (4 – 6 years) KS
Confidence, Curiosity

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles & Rod Clement (illus) pb 9780207170515 $14.99 
Edward is the most expressive emu imaginable as he shows his boredom at being an emu and checks out the behaviour of the other animals in the zoo and then tries to imitate them. (3 – 6 years) KS

Masai and I by Virginia Kroll & Nancy Carpenter (illus) pb 9780689804540 $14.00
A young girl from the city imagines how different her life would be if she were a Masai living on the East African plains. On each double page spread of this picture book, the illustration blends and links the two ways of life. The fact that the girl and her family are black and that she is exploring her feelings of kinship with the Masai gives an extra dimension to the story. (6 - 10 years) KS

How to be a Baby by Me, the Big Sister by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap (illus) hb 9780375838439 $31.00 pb 9780375873881 $14.00
This is such fun. The illustrations are absolutely delightful and the text just begs to be read aloud. As she says, “When you’re a baby, it’s not good because you don’t have any hair. (I have long hair like a princess.) When you’re a baby, you don’t read books. You eat them.” She takes great delight in listing all the things a baby can’t do and all the things that she, the Big Sister can do extremely well. But she also shows her love and says that she will always be the big sister but one day he will be as big as she is! (4 – 7 years) KS
confidence, empathy, independence

The Last Dragon by Susan Miho Nunes & Chris K Soentpiet (illus) pb 9780395845172 $13.00
A young boy's determination and the help of the people in Chinatown bring to life the old dragon and the young Chinese boy discovers he has many friends in Chinatown. (5 – 7 years) KS

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie de Paola pb 9780698118362 $13.00 
These are the childhood memories of Tomie de Paola as he lovingly recreates a time when he was four years old and had a 94 year old grandmother who lived upstairs and a younger grandmother living downstairs and they all shared the same house. (5 – 7 years) KS
Appreciation, Respect

Tokyo Friends - Tokyo no Tomodachi by Betty Reynolds hb 9784805310755 $27.00
This is an excellent introduction to Japanese language and culture and also some of the differences between Japanese and western customs. When Katie meets her two Japanese friends in Tokyo, they show us some of the everyday things that they do and the Japanese and English words for them. The words are written in English, in Japanese phonetically and also in the Japanese script and are accompanied by lively illustrations. (6 - 12 years) KS
Curiosity, Tolerance

Gus & Me: The Story of My Grandad and My First Guitar by Keith Richards & Theodora Richards (illus) hardback + CD 9781444011760 $24.99
Keith Richards loved visiting his grandad, Gus, who gave him a magical time full of music. One day, Gus handed Keith the guitar that always sat on top of the piano, and told him that when he learnt how to play “Malaguena” he’d be able to play anything, so he practiced and practiced, taking the guitar everywhere with him, even sleeping with it! This is a gentle, loving reminiscence of the special bond between a young boy and the grandfather who inspired him, leading to a career as a musician, songwriter and founding member of the Rolling Stones. The lovely pen, coloured ink and collage illustrations are by Keith’s daughter, an artist, and the accompanying CD includes a brief excerpt of “Malaguena”. (6 – 10 years, and budding musicians generally!) MC
Commitment, creativity 

Salmon Forest by David Suzuki & Sarah Ellis illustrated by Sheena Lott pb 9781553651635 $12.99
A beautifully illustrated book in which Kate and her dad enthusiastically explore the forest and the river where the salmon live and spawn. Her father talks about the amazing relationship between the sea, the land, the river and all of life. (6 – 10 years) KS
Appreciation, Curiosity, Enthusiasm 

Frog and the Stranger by Max Velthuijs pb 9781783441433 $16.99 
When a stranger arrives in their small community only Frog is welcoming. The others are suspicious and only accept him once he has saved one of the houses from burning down. Then he and his stories are much appreciated. This is a lesson not to prejudge. (4 – 7 years) KS

Yoko by Rosemary Wells pb 9781423119838 $13.00
Yoko is devastated when the children make fun of the sushi that she brings for her lunch. However a thoughtful teacher, a hungry friend and an International Food Day all help solve Yoko’s problems.  (5 – 6 years) KS


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit pb 9780747564171 $14.95
This story is a classic. Set back in 1880, ten year old Winnie Foster saw something she shouldn’t have and is captured by the Tuck family. Winnie gradually learns that the Tuck family has the secret of everlasting life but that this does not necessarily bring about happiness. It is an absorbing story with endearing characters. (9 – 12 years) KS
Empathy, Integrity

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks pb 9780007309955 $14.99
This is an enchanting fantasy where a toy Indian comes alive and Omri discovers that this is not just any toy Indian but a real life warrior with very particular needs and desires. (8 – 13 years) KS
Empathy, Respect, Tolerance

Millie and the Night Heron by Catherine Bateson pb 9780702235269 $16.95
Shifts and changes in life are not easy but can sometimes bring more friends and a different perspective on the world, as Millie discovers. This is a sensitive story about a girl who is not an extrovert but is determined to keep a strong sense of herself and who discovers a love of photography and bird life.  (9 - 12 years) KS
Independence, Cooperation, Creativity 

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman pb 9780547722177 $14.00
A homeless young girl is given food and shelter in return for helping the village midwife. However she shows such determination and perseverance that she is finally accepted as the midwife’s apprentice. (10 – 14 years) KS

Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine pb 9781405233187 $15.00
One morning Bill Simpson wakes up and finds out that he is a girl and has to go to school dresses in a pink frock. The day is like a nightmare for him but hilarious for the reader as Bill discovers that girls are often treated differently by teachers and other children. (7 – 11 years) KS

Moon Station by Rachel Flynn & Judy Watson (illus) pb 9780143304524 $12.95
William has to do a project on designing a moon station for Grade 5. Some enterprising kids outsource their projects to their parents since this is the modern way or “best practice.” William has a suspicion that this might be cheating. This is a very amusing story about the hazards of doing projects, and also about getting on with older sisters and also with kids at school. An Aussie Bite. (7 – 10 years) KS
Cooperation, Creativity, Independence, integrity

Someone Like Me by Elaine Forrestal pb 9780140380927 $16.95 
Tas shows a lot of determination and gets into a lot of trouble for an ordinary kid. Why do certain kids pick on him and why does he react so fiercely? When Enya and her mysterious Irish family shift in next door, his life takes on additional complications. (8 – 12 years) KS
Independence, Integrity, Tolerance 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke translated from the German by Anthea Bell pb 9781908435118 $19.99
Meggie loves books, she loves their mystery and the way they can magically open up other worlds and other worlds are opened up in this book. Meggie’s father is a book binder and he has passed on to Meggie his love and reverence of books but he never reads aloud to her, though he is a wonderful storyteller of stories that he has made up himself. It is just too dangerous and the reason why gradually becomes clear through the very strange appearance one night of a stranger. This is an exciting and intriguing story. The equally entrancing sequel is Inkspell pb 9781908435095 $19.99 and the latest Inkdeath pb 9781908435101 $19.99 (9 – 14 years) KS
Appreciation, Creativity, Integrity

Misery Guts by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330272315 $14.95 
Keith shows a lot of ingenuity in persuading his parents to shift from dismal dreary England to Australia but still finds there are problems in the land of his dreams and he has to continue to be inventive. (9 – 13 years) KS
Creativity, Cooperation, Independence. 

Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman pb 9780330426220 $14.99
This is one of Morris Gleitzman’s best novels in which he interweaves humour and tragedy as Colin seeks a cure from the Queen’s top doctors for his younger brother’s cancer. Also available as a play adapted by Mary Morris pb 9780868199320 $22.99 (9 – 13 years) KS
Commitment, Independence

Think Smart, Hazel Green by Odo Hirsch pb 9781741141108 $15.95
When Hazel Green’s favourite baker Mr Volio is told he has to leave his shop, it takes all of Hazel’s determination to keep his shop and his delicious pastries in their apartment block. Hazel and the Yak have to be extra smart to figure out a way of using the law to allow him to stay. (8 – 12 years) KS
Commitment, Confidence, Creativity, Independence, Integrity

Two Hands Together by Diana Kidd pb 9780141307480 $17.99
The growing friendship between Lily and Ella is marred by the disapproval of Lily’s father, much to Ella’s confusion. How could it be that her father doesn’t like this warm and friendly Aboriginal family? This is a well told sensitive story which is also a positive statement for reconciliation between two cultures. (7 – 10 years) KS
Respect, Tolerance

Hating Alison Ashley by Robyn Klein pb 9780140316728 $17.99
The very funny story of two girls who take an instant dislike to each other and the reasons why. It takes a while but they do learn from this experience. Also available as a play, pb 9780140327496 $19.95 (8 – 12 years) KS

The Giver by Lois Lowry pb 9780007263516 $14.99
This is a remarkable story about a futuristic time. Jonas is given enormous responsibility and comes to realise that the premises of the world in which he lives are based false memories and deceit. (9 – 13 years) KS
Empathy, Integrity 

The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race by Morris Lurie & Elizabeth Honey (illus) pb 9780140342970 $14.99 
Edward is a most determined competitor in the annual African hippo race. He has trained hard but needs the help of another competitor to stop the cheating ways of boastful Sebastian who is also in the race. Great fun to read aloud. (6 – 10 years) KS
Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation

Flytrap by Meme McDonald and Boori Pryor pb 9781865086088 $14.95
Nancy said she would bring a venus fly trap to school because she knew it would please her teacher but now she is very worried because she doesn’t actually have one. Each day she becomes more worried as she puts off telling her teacher the truth. Through the stories of her mother and Aboriginal stepfather, she gains the courage to tell the teacher the truth and to share a special story with her class. (7 – 10 years) KS

The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo pb 9780141304762 $16.99
This is a moving story about a young girl and her brother who are smuggled into Britain after their mother is killed by gunmen because of their journalist father’s outspoken newspaper articles against corruption in Nigeria. Beverley Naidoo describes the bureaucratic procedures involved in becoming considered for refugee status and we start to understand just how traumatic the whole procedure must be for the children and their father. (10 - 15 years) KS
Integrity, Respect, Tolerance

The Barrumbi Kids by Leonie Norrington pb 9781862914964 $17.99
Dale and Tomias are best mates. They both come from the same outback country but one boy is Aboriginal and the other is white. This book contains lots of adventure and exploration of the cultures of both boys and their love for their country. (9 - 13 years) KS
Respect, Tolerance

Keeper by Mal Peet pb 9781406338294 $19.95 
An absolutely absorbing story told by El Gato, world famous goalkeeper, about his life as the son of poor logger in a South American rainforest and how he rose to fame. This is a story of determination and courage which is also full of wonder for the rainforest. (10 – 16 years) KS
Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation, Integrity, Respect

Bob the Builder and the Elves by Emily Rodda pb 9780733314841 $12.95 
Bob is a builder who is appalled and embarrassed when his house is infested with elves who keep his house much too tidy and make him fairy bread and polish his boots. This is a very funny story. (7 – 10 years ) KS
Creativity, Empathy, Tolerance 

Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein pb 9781862919389 $15.99
Four friends are drawn ever further into a computer game which unknown to them thrives on hate. It is only when they realise that they have to overcome their anger and make a choice to cooperate that they are able to win their way out of the game. (9 – 13 years) KS

Storm Boy by Colin Thiele & Robert Ingpen (illus) pb 9781741101874 $14.99
The well known story of the friendship between a boy and a pelican Mr Percival set in the beautiful but desolate coastal area of southern South Australia. (6 – 12 years) KS
Appreciation, Empathy, Integrity

The Lion Drummer by Gabrielle Wang illustrated by Andrew McLean pb 9780143303138 $12.95
One of the popular Aussie Bites series. Lulu has a growing passion for playing the drum to accompany the lion dance. Through perseverance she succeeds in having lessons from a master drummer which is quite an achievement because this is normally reserved only for boys. Her enthusiasm and dedication are also rewarded when she is able to play in the Easter dragon parade. This is a lively and entertaining story and also tells us a lot about the traditions of the lion dance and the accompanying lion drumming. (7 - 10 years) KS
Commitment, Creativty, Enthusisam, Independence

Lizzie Zipmouth by Jacqueline Wilson pb 9780552557849 $12.99
When her mother moves in with Sam and his two sons, Lizzie decides not to talk as a silent protest. However she breaks her silence for Sam’s grandmother and when the grandmother has a stroke, it is Lizzie who helps her learn to speak again. (7 – 10 years) KS
Confidence, Empathy