Positive Relationships – a book list to inspire conversations with your children

Reading books about positive relationhips, with Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough

This term the focus for the Kiwi Can programme is positive relationships – orKiwi Can theme, positive relationships

“working and playing in safe and thoughtful ways with others”.

Together with the librarians at the Marlborough libraries, we have created a list of just some of the books on themes of positive relationships, bullying, fair play and being a good sport, conflict resolution, role models and leadership.

Some of the books on the list are there because they highlight negative behaviours or relationships (like the disinterested parents in David McKee’s “Not now Bernard”, or the unkind George who learns a lesson in “This is our house” by Michael Rosen) – or Roald Dahl’s unpleasant characters like The Trunchbull and Matilda’s parents (in “Matilda”). Others are chosen because they underline the best aspects of positive relationships, leadership and role modelling – such as Dave, Bella and Dogger in Shirley Hughes’ “Dogger”, and many of the characters in J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series .

Both the good and bad examples and characters can make for great discussions!  We hope you will indeed find them useful for encouraging thinking and conversations about positive relationships – and reinforcing our children’s learning at home. Some of these books your children might like to read to themselves, and some you might like to read to them.

If we’ve missed your favourite off the list drop us a message on Facebook (@GraemeDingleFoundationMarlborough) to let us know!

Picture Books

  • Not now Bernard by David McKee *
  • Alfie and the Big Boys by Shirley Hughes *
  • My Best, Best Friend (A Charlie & Lola Book) by Lauren Child *
  • My Best Friend is a Goldfish by Mark Lee *
  • Space Alien at Planet Dad by Lucinda Gifford
  • Gorilla by Anthony Browne *
  • Rosie’s babies by Martin Waddell
  • Princess, Princess by Penny Dale *
  • Big Brother, Little Brother by Penny Dale
  • Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen
  • The toymaker by Pamela Allen *
  • I love you Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  • Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox *
  • No matter what by Deb Gliori
  • This is our house by Michael Rosen *
  • Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper *
  • Best friends for Frances by Russell Hoban
  • The way I love you by David Bedford
  • The squirrels who squabbled by Rachel Bright *
  • Amazing Mr Zooty by Emma Chichester Clark
  • Melrose and Croc: friends for life by Emma Chichester Clark *
  • I love you Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark *
  • Plenty of love to go round! by Emma Chichester Clark *
  • Cheetah learns to play nicely: a book about being a good sport by Sue Graves *
  • Tiger and badger by Emily Jenkins *
  • Dragon Island by Martin Baynton *
  • Thidwick the big-hearted moose by Dr Seuss *
  • Horton hears a whoby Dr Seuss *

Sophisticated Picture Books

(Books for ‘big’ kids who like pictures, and more mature themes)

  • Le Quesnoy: the Story of the Town New Zealand Saved by Glynn Harper *
  • When we Were Alone in the World by Ulf Nilsson *
  • The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland *
  • Dogger by Shirley Hughes *
  • Piggybook by Anthony Browne
  • Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne
  • Just the Way We Are by Jessica Shirvington
  • Dear Donald Trump by Sophie Siers *

Children’s Fiction

(For middle readers aged roughly 7+)

  • The Gerald & Piggie series by Mo Willems *
  • The Billy B. Brown Books (Particularly Billie B Brown and the Second Best Friend) by Sally Rippin *
  • The Dixie O’Day series by Shirley Hughes *
  • The Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows *
  • The Ella & Olivia series (Particularly Ella & Olivia and the Best Friend Showdown) by Yvette Poshlogian *
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate *
  • Charlotte’s web by E. B. White *
  • The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela
  • Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel *
  • Make friends, break friends by Julia Jarman *
  • The Lion and the bird by Marianne Dubuc *
  • Yours Troolie, Alice Toolie: Letters From my Enemy by Kate Temple *

For Older readers

(Roughly 10+)

  • Under the mountain by Maurice Gee *
  • The Champion by Maurice Gee *
  • Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech *
  • Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce *
  • Stay Where you are and Then Leave by John Boyne *
  • Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve *
  • Out by Angela May George
  • The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me by Michael Gerard Bauer
  • When Michael Met Mina by RandaAbedel-Fattah
  • The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality #1) by James Dashner *
  • Steel Pelicans by Des Hunt *
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk *
  • Give it hoops by David Hill *
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein *
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson *
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • War horse by Michael Morpugo *
  • A wrinkle in time by Madeleine L’Engle *
  • The witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare *
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien *
  • Dark secret by Lisa Vasil
  • Hi there, Supermouse by Jean Ure
  • Harriet the spy by Louise Fitzhugh *
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery *
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl *
  • Danny the champion of the world by Roald Dahl *
  • Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
  • The Ruby Redfort series by Lauren Child *
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs *
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin *
  • The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera *
  • The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling *
  • The A C B with Honora Lee by Kate de Goldi *
  • Wonder by R.J Palacio *
  • Paper Cranes Don’t Fly by Peter Vu


  • What is right and wrong? Who decides? Where do values come from? And other big questions by Michael Rosen *
  • Don’t play dirty, Gertie, be fair by Sarah Eason *
  • Owen and Mzee: the true story of a remarkable friendship by Isabella Hatkoff *
  • The good guys: 50 heroes who changed the world with kindness by Rob Kemp *
  • My friends by Grace Jones *
  • Stop picking on meby Pat Thomas *
  • My friends by Liz Lennon *
  • Making friendsby Cassie Mayer *
  • My secret bullyby Trudy Ludwig *
  • Relationships by Robyn Hardyman
  • The rainbow club by Annette Aubrey *
  • Say no to bullyingby Louise Spilsbury *
  • Being safe with peopleby Honor Head *
  • Step right up: how Doc and Jim Key taught the world about kindnessby Donna Janell Bowman *
  • Have you filled a bucket today? A guide to daily happiness for kidsby Carol McCloud *
  • Speak up and get along! Learn the mighty might, thought chop, and more tools to make friends, stop teasing, and feel good about yourself by Scott Cooper *

The * beside books in the list means it is (at the time of writing) available from Marlborough Libraries.

You should of course check the book to make sure it’s a good choice for your child. Your local librarians can help too – just ask them!

And from Monday 11th March (for the next couple of weeks) head in to the Blenheim library to choose from a display of great library books about positive relationships. Check it out…

Happy reading!

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