Character Education Resources

Character Education Reading List for Educators
Prepared by the Boston University Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character

  • Allen, Sarah. The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997.
  • Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. (M. Oswald, Trans.) Indianapolis: Liberal Arts Press, 1962.
  • Arthur, James. Education with Character: The moral economy of schooling. London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003.
  • Bellah, Robert, et al. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985.
  • Bellah, Robert, et al. The Good Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
  • Bennett, William. The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
  • Bennett, William J. (Ed.) The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
  • Bennett, William J. (Ed.) The Moral Compass: Stories for a Life’s Journey. New York: Touchstone Books, 1996.
  • Benninga, Jacques. Moral, Character and Civic Education in the Elementary School. New York: Teachers College Press, 1991.
  • Brookhiser, Richard. Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. New York: The Free Press, 1996.
  • Carr, David and Steutel, Jan. Virtue Ethics and Moral Education. London: Routledge, 1999.
  • Carter, Stephen L. The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion. New York: Basic Books, 1993.
  • Cheng, Nien. Life and Death in Shanghai. New York: Viking Penguin, 1988.
  • Coles, Robert. The Moral Intelligence of Children: How to Raise an Moral Child. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1998.
  • Coles, Robert. The Call of Stories. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989.
  • Coles, Robert. The Moral Life of Children. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986.
  • Comte-Sponville, Andre. A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2001.
  • Damon, William. (ed.) New Directions for Child Development: Moral Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1978.
  • Damon, William. The Moral Child. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
  • Damon, William. Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in America’s Homes and Schools. New York, NY: The Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1995.
  • Damon, William. Bringing in a New Era of Character Education. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2002.
  • Delattre, Edwin J. Education and the Public Trust: The Imperative for Common Purposes. Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1988.
  • Delattre, Edwin J., and Russell, William E. (eds.) Journal of Education: Education and the Advancement of Ethics and Character. Vol. 175, No. 2, Boston: Boston University, 1993.
  • Denby, David. Great Books. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  • Durkheim, Emile. Moral Education: A Study in Theory and Application of the Sociology of Education. New York: Free Press, 1961.
  • Durst, Mose. Principled Education. Hayward: The Principled Academy, 1998.
  • Eberly, Don (Ed.). Content of America’s Character. Lantham: Madison Books, 1995.
  • Ellenwood, Stephan, et al. The Art of Loving Well: A Character Value-based Curriculum. Boston: Boston University, 1988.
  • Gauld, Joseph W. Character First: The Hyde School Difference. San Francisco: ICS Press, 1993.
  • Gibbon, Peter. A Call to Heroism: Renewing America’s Vision of Greatness. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.
  • Glendon, Mary Ann and Blankenhorn, David. Seedbeds of Virtue: Sources of Competence, Character and Citizenship in American Society. Lantham: Madison Books, 1995.
  • Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982.
  • Goodlad, John I., Soder, Roger, and Sirotnik, Kenneth A. (ed.) Places Where Teachers Are Taught. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990
  • Goodlad, J., Soder, R., and Strotnik, K. (Eds.) The Moral Dimensions of Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1990.
  • Guroian, Vigen. Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Heath, Douglas. Schools of Hope. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Publishers, 1994.
  • Heath, Douglas H. Morale, Culture, and Character: Assessing Schools of Hope. Bryn Mawr: Conrow Publishing House, 1999.
  • Hibbs, Thomas. Shows About Nothing. Spence Publishing, 1999.
  • Huffman, H. Developing a Character Education Program: One School District’s Experience. Washington, DC: CEP Clearinghouse, 1995.
  • Hunter, James. The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
  • Jackson, Philip W., Boostrom, Robert E., and Hansen, David. T. The Moral Life of Schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993.
  • Jenkins, Carol Brennan (Guest Editor). Journal of Education: Fulfilling the Promise of Character Education in the Classroom, Part II. Vol. 179, No. 2, 1997.
  • Jenkins, Carol Brennan (Guest Editor). Journal of Education: Fulfilling the Promise of Character Education in the Classroom, Part II. Vol. 179, No. 3, 1997.
  • Kilpatrick, William. Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
  • Kilpatrick, William, Wolfe, Gregory and Wolfe, Suzanne. Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Value Through Stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
  • Kurtines, William and Gewirtz, Jacob L., eds. Handbook of Moral Behavior and Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.
  • Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara. Respect: An Exploration. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 2000.
  • Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara. The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture. New York: Basic Books, 1983.
  • Lewis, Hunter. A Question of Values. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990.
  • Lickona, Thomas. Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility. New York: Bantam Books, 1991.
  • MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984.
  • Miller, William Lee. Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
  • Morley, Thomas. Discipline Through Virtue. Sugar City, ID: ThoMax, Inc. 1995.
  • Murphy, Madonna M. Character Education in America’s Blue Ribbon Schools: Best Practices for Meeting the Challenge. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2002.
  • Noblit, George W. and Dempsey, Van. O. The Social Construction of Virtue: The Moral Life of Schools. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.
  • Noddings, Nell. The Challenge to Care in Schools. New York: Teacher’s College Press, 1992.
  • Nord, Warren A. Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Nucci, Larry. Moral Development and Character Education: A Dialogue. Berkeley: McCutchan, 1986.
  • Palmer, Parker J. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.
  • Peters, R. S. The Moral and Spiritual Crisis in Education: A Curriculum for Justice and Compassion. Granby, MA: Bergin and Garvey, 1988.
  • Piaget, Jean. The Moral Judgment of the Child. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.
  • Pritchard, Ivor. Good Education: The Virtues of Learning. Norwalk, CT: Judd Publishing Group, 1998.
  • Purpel, David. The Moral and Spiritual Crisis in Education: A Curriculum for Justice and Compassion. Granby, MA: Bergin and Garvey, 1988.
  • Ryan, Kevin and Bohlin, Karen. Building Character in Schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999.
  • Ryan, Kevin and Lickona, Thomas. Character Development in Schools and Beyond [2nd Edition]. Washington DC: Council for Researching Values and Philosophy, 1992.
  • Shattuck, Roger. The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1980.
  • Sichel, Betty. Moral Education: Character, Community and Ideals. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.
  • Simon, Katherine G. Moral Questions in the Classroom: How to Get Kids to Think Deeply About Real Life and Their Schoolwork. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.
  • Sommers, Christina and Fred. Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989.
  • Taulbert, Clifton. Eight Habits of the Heart. New York: Penguin Books, 1997.
  • Tigner, Steven S. (Guest Editor). Journal of Education: Cultural Foundations and Educational Heritage, Part I. Vol. 178, No. 3, Boston: Boston University, 1996.
  • Tigner, Steven S. (Guest Editor). Journal of Education: Cultural Foundations and Educational Heritage, Part II. Vol. 179, No. 1, Boston: Boston University, 1996.
  • Tigner, Steven S. The Founding Documents. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing Group, 1995.
  • Urban, Hal. Twenty Things I Want My Kids to Know. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992.
  • Vessels, Gordon G. Character and Community Development: A School Planning and Teacher Training Handbook. Westport: Praeger, 1998.
  • Vincent, Philip Fitch. Promising Practices in Character Education: Nine Success Stories from Around the Country. Chapel Hill, NC: Character Development Group, 1996.
  • Vincent, Philip Fitch Developing Character in Students. Chapel Hill, NC: New View Publications, 1994.
  • Wattenberg, Ben J. Values Matter Most. New York, Free Press 1995.
  • Welty, Eudora and Sharp, Ronald A. (Eds.). The Norton Book of Friendship. New York: W. W. Norton, 1991.
  • Wiley, Lori Sandford. Comprehensive Character-Building Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers. DeBary, Longwood Communications, 1998.
  • Wilson, James Q. The Moral Sense. New York: The Free Press, 1993.
  • Wright, Robert. The Moral Animal. New York: Random House, 1994.
  • Wynne, Edward and Ryan, Kevin. Reclaiming Our Schools: A Handbook for Teaching Character, Academics and Discipline. Columbus: Charles Merrill, 1992. Updated November 2002

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: A Selected Bibliography for Parents Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character Bennett, William J. The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

  • Bennett, William J., Finn Jr., Chester E., and Cribb, Jr., John T.E. The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide from Preschool Through Eighth Grade. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
  • Brazelton, T. Berry and Greenspan, Stanley I. The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish. Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2000.
  • Coles, Robert. The Moral Intelligence of Children: How to Raise a Moral Child. New York: Random House, 1997.
  • Covey, Sean. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  • Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. Golden Books Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Damon, William. Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in Our Homes and Schools. New York: Free Press, 1995.
  • Delattre, Edwin J. and Alice B. Helping Your Child Learn Responsible Behavior. US Department of Education, 1993.
  • DeMarco, Donald. The Heart of Virtue: Lessons from Life and Literature Illustrating the Beauty and Value of Moral Character. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.
  • Dorsett, Lyle W. and Mead, Marjorie Lamp (eds.) C.S. Lewis Letters to Children. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
  • Elkind, David. The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon. Reading: Perseus Press,1989.
  • Greer, Colin and Kohl, Herbert (eds.) A Call to Character: A Family Treasury of Stories, Poems, Plays, Proverbs, and Fables to Guide the Development of Values for You and Your Children. New York: HarperPerennial, 1995.
  • Gurian, Michael. From Boys to Men: All About Adolescence and You. New York: Price Stern Sloan Publishers, 1999.
  • Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996.
  • Isaacs, David. Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Four Courts Press, 1993.
  • Kilpatrick, William. Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong: And What We Can Do About It. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
  • Kilpatrick, William, Wolfe, Gregory, and Wolfe, Suzanne. Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
  • Lickona, Thomas. Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility. New York: Bantam Books, 1991.
  • Lickona, Thomas. Raising Good Children: From Birth to the Teenage Years. New York: Bantam Books, 1983.
  • Medved, Michael and Medved, Diane. Saving Childhood: How to Protect Your Children from the National Assault on Innocence. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.
  • Paterson, Katherine. A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children. New York: Plume Publishers, 1995.
  • Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.
  • Pollack, William S. Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood. Random House, 1999.
  • Ryan, Kevin and Bohlin, Karen. Building Character in Schools: Practical Ways to Bring Moral Instruction to Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.
  • Snow, Misti. Take Time to Play Checkers: Wise Words from Kids on Their Parents, Friends, Worries, Hopes, and Growing Up. New York: Viking, 1992.
  • Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character¬† 2002

High School Booklist

  • Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character, 2002

CITIZENSHIP

  • Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.
  • Nelson, Marilyn. Carver: A Life in Poems.

COMPASSION

  • Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights.
  • Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Sedgwick, Catharine Maria. Hope Leslie.

COURAGE

  • Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.
  • Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl.
  • Krisher, Trudy. Spite Fences.
  • Philip, Neil. The Tale of Sir Gawain.
  • Sender, Ruth Minsky. The Cage.
  • Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Tolkein, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings (series).
  • Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

RESPECT

  • Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.Thomas, Rob. Slave Day.

DILIGENCE

  • Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Gibson, William. The Miracle Worker.
  • Hemingway, Earnest. The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.

RESPONSIBILITY

  • Eliot, George. Silas Marner.
  • O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.

SELF-MASTERY

  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment.
  • Frankl, Victor. Man’s Search for Meaning.
  • Homer. The Odessey.
  • Knowles, John. A Separate Peace.

JUSTICE

  • Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don’t Cry.
  • Bell, William. Forbidden City.
  • Cox, Clinton. Fiery Vision: The Life and Death of John Brown.
  • Miller, Arthur. The Crucible.

Seventh and Eighth Grade Booklist

  • Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character, 2002

CITIZENSHIP

  • Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain.
  • Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie.

COMPASSION

  • Conly, Jane Leslie. Crazy Lady!
  • Burnett, Frances H. The Secret Garden.
  • Freedman, Russell. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery.
  • Greene, Bette. Summer of My German Soldier.
  • Hesse, Karen. Phoenix Rising.

COURAGE

  • Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
  • Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl.
  • Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet.
  • Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  • Tolkein, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings (series).
  • White, Ryan. Ryan White: My Own Story

RESPECT

  • Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon.
  • Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Zindel, Paul. The Pigman.

DILIGENCE/PERSEVERANCE

  • Adams, Richard. Watership Down.
  • Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bud, Not Buddy.
  • Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust.
  • London, Jack. Call of the Wild.
  • Watkins, Yoko Kawishima. So Far From the Bamboo Grove.
  • Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery.

RESPONSIBILITY

  • Cleaver, Bill & Vera. Where the Lilies Bloom.
  • Fine, Anne. Flour Babies.
  • Gipson, Frank. Old Yeller
  • Steinbeck, John. The Red Pony.

SELF-MASTERY

  • Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women.
  • Hayes, Daniel. The Trouble with Lemons.
  • Keller, Helen. The Story of my Life.
  • Montgomery, Lucy Maud. Anne of Green Gables (series).
  • Spinelli, Jerry. Wringer.

JUSTICE

  • Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders.
  • Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki. Farewell to Manzanar.
  • Neufield, John. Edgar Allen.
  • Rabe, Bernice. Hiding Mr. McMulty.
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