Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Virtues Reading List

For the Love of Literature is all about teaching core subjects through fun and interesting literature. However, I would like to put forth that there are more important things to learn in this world than math, science, history, etc.

I'd like to talk about teaching virtues through literature. And I would like your input.

Here are the seven virtues:

Humility (modesty)
Kindness (admiration)
Forgiveness (composure)
Diligence (zeal/integrity/labor)
Charity (giving)
Temperance (self-restraint)
Chastity (purity)

What books would you recommend to go with one or more of these virtues? Let's get a list going for everyone in the family -- preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, and adult.

I'll take all of your suggestions and pull them together into one great list. I'll post it here and at my Catholic homeschooling website for free download.

27 comments:

Maureen Wittmann said...

If possible, to make life easier for readers, please use this format:
Book Title
Author
Virtue
Plot Synopsis and/or Why it teaches that virtue

Now, if you're too busy and can't give all that info, still leave a comment. I'd rather get just a title than nothing.

Thank you all in advance for your comments!

Anonymous said...

There is a whole book of this put out by the character people. It's a secular view, but about 2/3 of the book is how to use literature for "teaching" virtue and the remaining 1/3 includes lists divided up by the virtues.

Core Virtues: A literature-based program in character education
by Mary Beth Klee (founder of Crossroads Academy in New Hampshire)

Maybe you could find the book and see what she has listed for each virtue. I think most of them are picture books, or short books. She has an extra section in the back for chapter books.

MAB said...

The Book of Virtues
Bennett, William (editor)
All
Teaches ten virtues through stories culled from old school readers and the like. Not many pictures, though. Sometimes I use stories from here to search the library for companion picture books.

The Moral Compass
Bennett, William (editor)
All
Sequel to the above, arranged by stages of life.

Program for Achieving Character Education for Christian Schools and Homes
Speach, Monica
All
A curriculum based heavily on the above Bennett books, but with extensive supplemental library books for each virtue arranged by grade level for K through 6. Also includes Bible verses, discussion question and projects.

I will post more on specific books when I have a chance.

Shirley said...

Hi,
Here are a couple of my favorites… while none of these teaches any particular virtue, their storylines lend themselves to constructive dialog and you can build activities around them when illustrating and exploring the virtues…Note of caution – I might be a little contrarian in my approach, as a lot of times I take the opportunity to discuss the virtues when the characters/storyline lack a particular virtue… that way we can read the ‘great’ literature and provide multiple opportunities to have the ‘tough conversations’ that we might not otherwise have.

The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Humility, Forgiveness, Diligence, Charity, Temperance, Chastity (pick one or all!)
For the teens/adults. This novel shows the affects of not adhering to the virtues, and the affects when you do! Although Hester Prynne is initially scorned by the town because of her sin (lack of chastity, temperance), she ultimately wins their admiration due to her hard work and steadfast giving of self and possessions to the poor (humility, kindness, diligence). The other characters (Roger Chillingworth, Rev Dimmesdale and townsfolk) provide opportunities to discuss forgiveness and diligence – in both their positive and negative form.

Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak
Temperance, Forgiveness
For children, but all ages can play! When Max is a little “wild” one night (i.e., does not display temperance!) he is sent to his room. He goes to a far away place to rule the ‘wild things’, eventually becoming lonely and missing the good things at home. He comes home to find his mother has already forgiven him even before he asked for it.

The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein
Humility, Charity, Temperance, Kindness
For children ages 8 and up I think (it’s a little long for younger ones in many cases), into teens and adults. Although Boy shows no temperance whatsoever, the Giving Tree continues to give and admire him always, always with humility at how humble her offerings are.

Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
humility, kindness, forgiveness, diligence, charity, temperance
for children 10 and up and teens and adults - wow, so many opportunities with these girls and their mother! Jo in particular of course learns many lessons and reaps rewards when she exhibits virtue, and pays the dues when she doesn't (for example when she refuses to forgive Amy for ruining her journal, she nearly loses her!... or when she finally settles in to the hard work as governess she receives the greatest reward of all!)

Anonymous said...

In our house we use Ben Franklin's Thirteen Virtues

"TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."

"SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid
trifling conversation."

"ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your
business have its time."

"RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail
what you resolve."

"FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;
i.e., waste nothing."

"INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut
off all unnecessary actions."

"SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and,
if you speak, speak accordingly."

"JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that
are your duty."

"MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as
you think they deserve."

"CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or
habitation."

"TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or
unavoidable."

"CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to
dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or
reputation."

"HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

We also use George Washington's 110 virtues. You can do a search for
them online.

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel Books carries the Catholic version of the PACE program. I think it uses literature to flesh out the lessons.

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

I love the way Almanzo and Laura's virtuous courtship is described in The Happy Golden Years.

+JMJ+ said...

I second the vote for P.A.C.E. as it covers a virtue a month and with the references to not only The Moral Compass and The Book of Virtue, it relates saints who either struggled with or embodied the virtue. So, you could then read a vision book or Windeaat book on that saint.

I also recommend...

A Call to Character
Colin Greer & Herbert Kohl, editors
in this book, virtues are identified by chapter and many excerpts of fine literature are used to show the virtue. We have used this in conjunction with Pace, although PACE does not reference it, but the virtues are easy to find. The stories included have often grabbed my sons attention the most!

Finally,
Our Sunday Visitor's Treasury of Catholic Stories
Gerald Costello
These stories about Saints are categorized by how they represent The Cardinal Virtues, The Gifts of The Holy Spirit, The Corporal Works of Mercy, & The Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Anonymous said...

To add a distinctively Catholic touch, why not arrange the list in terms of the theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity) and the cardinal (moral) virtues (prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice).

Maria said...

I'm assuming that you are not interested in OOP titles? In a way I like including OOP titles because they can be found and I sort of hope that interest might help bring titles back?

I have one title that is a wonderful read. It's Harold's Tail by Bemelmans. It would include humility, charity, and forgiveness. Delightful book!
http://www.amazon.com/Harolds-Tail-John-Bemelmans-Marciano/dp/0670036609/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204118558&sr=1-1

Maureen Wittmann said...

I think out of print titles will be okay for this particular list. Let's just put a notation next to the title (OOP).

Also, I think I forgot to mention in the first comment that it would be good to know a book's reading level if possible.

Stef said...

That's an exciting project!! Here are my suggestions for starters:

on Kindness:

Clown by Quentin Blake
The Golden Goose by Leslie Brooke
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk
Angelo by David Macaulay
Ruth and Naomi by Jean Marzollo
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde and Lisbeth Zwerger

Anonymous said...

I reviewed/tried Core Virtues (A Literature-based program in character development K-6) by Mary Beth Klee years ago, but don't remember it that well. I was a little disappointed in some of the
selections.

Christine said...

William Bennett has a collection of stories, illustrated by Michael Hague (who I love). It is called "The Children's Treasury of Virtues." My DD loves it, and
although it's a compilation and many of the stories are versions of other stories, I think it would fit nicely into what you are trying to do.

The Amazon link is here:
http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Treasury-Virtues-William-Bennett/dp/0743211367/r\
ef=pd_bbs_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204071650&sr=8-6

It's a heavy book, since it is the three children's volumes all in one (The Children's Book of Virtures, The Children's Book of Heroes, and the Children's Book of America.) If you wanted to include just the Children's Book of Virtues by Bennett in your collection, that would work as well.

ScienceMom said...

Some of the titles we like and have used are:
Devotional Stories for Little Folks and
Devotional Stories for Little Folks, Too by Nancy Nicholson
Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls and
More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls by Caryll Houselander (Sophia Inst Press)
Rare Catholic Stories and Poems and
More Rare Catholic Stories and Poems from CHC
God's Little Angels by Mary T. Waggaman
Little Apostle on Crutches by Helen Delamare
King of the Golden City by Mother Mary Loyola

I think all these titles are available from CHC. My boys have especially loved the first 4, but they have liked all of these quite a bit. It looks like the "Rare Catholic Stories" and "More ..." have been replaced by a single, expanded "Rare Catholic Stories" volume.

Anonymous said...

Book Series: Three Cousins Detective Club

Author: Elspeth Campbell Murphy

Virtue: Each book has a specific theme. I'll list the series # and the theme for the ones we have and you can see which are specific virtues that you need and which might fall into your categories.
1-Love
2-Joy
3-Peace
5-Kindness
6-Goodness
8-Gentleness
9-Self-control
17-Proverbs 3:29
18-Proverbs 20:12
27-Isaiah 11:6-9
29-Psalm 102:18
30-Proverbs 16:16

Plot: Three cousins that solve mysteries in each book. It says "First Chapter Books (ages 7-10" but mine liked them even older than that. I *think* they are 2nd or 3rd grade reading levels but it doesn't say. I don't ever remember anything anti-Catholic or contrary to Catholic teachings in these Christian chapter books.

Gwen said...

What a great idea. There are several books by Tiki and Ronde Barber that would be great for diligence/perseverance. I haven't read them lately but one of the brothers was a star offensive player and received most of the glory and the other a defensive player who worked hard but didn't get noticed. One of the books has been featured on Reading Rainbow and my boys always mention the story whenever it's on. It's called By My Brother's Side.

There's also Ferdinand, by Munroe Leaf which would be great for humility I think. I've been thinking of this topic in my unclear sort of way, lol...so if I can recall any of my other choices I'll let you know. We may have covered this topic on the 4real board at one time...you might try a search.

Hope you're having a blessed Lent!

Anonymous said...

Here are some books on humility. I'd say theu are appropriate for grades 3-5. Thanks for compiling these.

Armstrong - Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat
Bartone Peppe - THE Lamplighter
Cassidy - Gummytoes
Chaucer - Chanticleer and the Fox
Cheripko - Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove
Contempre - Tower of Babel
Ernst - Zinnia and Dot
Fleming - Hatmaker's Sign
Garfield - King Nimrod's Tower
LaFontaine - North Wind and Sun
MacDonald - The Girl Who Wore Too Much
Martin - The Race of the Golden Apples
Radunsky - One Smile
Sasso - God Said Amen
Thayer - Popcorn Dragon
Thayer - Casey at the Bat
Ward - Rooster and the Fox

Anonymous said...

For older children, I'd like to recommend a wonderful book as a
family read-aloud or a for teen personal reading. (Great for parents
too.)

Victory from Defeat
by Andrew Mason

This book is a study in virtues exemplified by well known figures who
have come back from hardship through determination. Anyone who has
had a setback should read this book!

Also, I second the vote for P.A.C.E. as it covers a virtue a month
and with the references to not only The Moral Compass and The Book of
Virtue, it relates saints who either struggled with or embodied the
virtue. So, you could then read a vision book or Windeaat book on
that saint.

I also recommend...

A Call to Character
Colin Greer & Herbert Kohl, editors
in this book, virtues are identified by chapter and many excerpts of
fine literature are used to show the virtue. We have used this in
conjunction with Pace, although PACE does not reference it, but the
virtues are easy to find. The stories included have often grabbed my
sons attention the most!

Finally,
Our Sunday Visitor's Treasury of Catholic Stories
Gerald Costello
These stories about Saints are categorized by how they represent The
Cardinal Virtues, The Gifts of The Holy Spirit, The Corporal Works of
Mercy, & The Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Anonymous said...

For Children: Any of the Frances series, ie "Bedtime for Frances" are wonderful. The author escapes me at the moment.

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Anna Karenina by L. Tolstoy

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Anonymous said...

So many good books, so little time!

Children:

The Squire and the Scroll
The Princess and the Kiss
by Bishop
(humility/modesty)
The Wind in the Willows by Grahame
(all virtues)

Older child & teen:
Ann of Green Gables (series) by Montgomery
(all virtues)
Girl of the Limberlost by Stratton
(all)
St. Athanasius by Forbes (all )



Parent/adult:
Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by David Isaacs (all virtues)
The Catholic Book of Character and Success by Fr. Garesche (all)
The Privilege of Being a Woman by Hildebrand (all)
The Virtue Driven Life by Fr. Groeschel (all)
Siddhartha by Hesse (Eastern religion; demonstrates diligence, temperance, kindness)

Homeschool specific for parents:

Implementation of Ignatian Education in the Home - Francis Crotty (from Kolbe Academy) ... helps the parent in diligence & temperence required when utilizing eclectic curriculum with Catholic-Christian focus

Jennifer said...

I know I am late on this - I have been holding on to it for a while to see
if I can add any others. I like this idea of using books - and there are so
many. This is much different from the short stories and snippets of some
that William Bennett and others have done in their books to teach virtue .
Luckily, I pre-read many of the books I give to my kids, so hopefully I can
come up with some good ones. Can I also suggest Faith as a category? This
is what I have thought of so far.

Humility (modesty)

The Whipping Boy (3 - 7)

Amos Fortune, Free Man (4 -8) This is one of those that would fit under
several other categories - kindness, temperance, charity, diligence, etc.

Kindness (admiration)

Number the Stars - I hope this would belong here as it is about a family
that helps a Jewish family escape Denmark under Nazi occupation (possible to
be under charity, too.) (4 - 8)

One Hundred Dresses - (K-4) Girls who learn the meaning of kindness.

Forgiveness (composure)

Diligence (zeal/integrity/labor)

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie - a true story about Abbie Burgess, a girl
who keeps the lights of a lighthouse burning during a fierce winter storm
that lasted for four weeks. (K-4 - possibly older)

Across Five Aprils (4-9) - another one that would also fit under
temperance, forgiveness and kindness.

Charity (giving)

Downright Dency (4-8) - This story is about a Quaker girl who helps a poor
boy learn to read - there are actually many lessons here, such as kindness,
humility, temperance, etc.

Temperance (self-restraint)

Chastity (purity)

The Princess and the Kiss (K-4)

The Squire and the Scroll (K-4)

Maureen Wittmann said...

Don't worry about coming in late -- it's going to be a while before I can get this list all put together in a cohesive manner. If anyone else has great ideas to add to this list, please don't hesitate to post them here. You're never too late with good book suggestions!!!

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Jeniffer's comment made me think of Booker T Washington-- wow-- an unforgettable book and example of humility among many other virtues!

Carol Ann said...

Joy-- Pollyana (who can forget her signature gratitude game?)

Faith--The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Courage--The Boy Who Dared by Susan Bartoletti (for upper grades only, as it is very intense) or the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Prudence--Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Hope--Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex (the stories she wrote, not her diary)

Temperance--10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightening-by Mary Hershey

Respect-- Touching Spirit Bear and the sequel The Ghost of Spirit Bear by Mikaelson

Kindness--Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Love--Mandy by Julie Edwards

Patience--Where the Red Fern Grows

Justice--Swordbird and Swordquest by Nancy Yi Fan---though she is only 13 years old, her second book contains an analysis of the nature of good and evil that puts many adults to shame....

Caroline said...

What is the name of the program by Emmanuel Books? Web Address?

Also, what is the Web Address of some where that sells the PACE Program?

Thanks!

Maureen said...

Try emmanualbooks.com