As part of their grant spending, PS 33 Chelsea Prep, one of our Riley's Way partner schools, piloted the Riley's Way Book Club. This book series is a great way to engage students in discussions about various positive character traits. As we create more activities to go along with the books, we will include them here.

We invite you to bring these books and activities to your family, friends, schools, and communities.

Riley's Way Book Club 2016-2017

September | Respect

Do Unto Otters, Laurie Keller +

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl. In her smart, playful style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor―simply follow the Golden Rule!




October | Caring

Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Peña +

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Peña’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.




November | Friendship

The Invisible Boy, Tracy Ludwig +

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.




December | Giving

The Spiffiest Giant in Town, Julia Donaldson +

When George the giant spies a shop full of wonderful clothes, he decides to treat himself to a new outfit. He puts on his new shirt, pants, shoes, and tie, and is immediately transformed from the scruffiest giant in town to the spiffiest giant in town. But on his way home, George runs into various animals who need his help. And little by little, George finds himself giving away all his new purchases. From the creators of Room on the Broom, this is a lively tale that reminds readers that sometimes it's what's inside a person-or a giant-that matters most.




January | Confidence

The Eeensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big Time!), Troy Cummings +

The Eensy Weensy Spider climbed up the waterspout . . . and everyone knows what happens next! By the time the sun comes out to dry up all the rain, the Eensy Weensy Spider has freaked out over her washout, big-time! "There's no way I'm climbing back up that gutter!" she says. Eensy has lost her climbing courage, but with the help of her best ladybug friend, Polly, she begins to take on bigger and bigger climbing challenges until she's rewarded with the most spectacular view of outer space that any bug has ever seen! Hilarious text and a retro, graphic art style take this popular nursery rhyme to new heights.




February | Fairness

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song, Debbie Levy +

IIt only takes a few words to create change. It only takes a few people to believe that change is possible. And when those people sing out, they can change the world. “We Shall Overcome” is one of their songs. This book tells the story of this anthem of the civil rights movement. The story begins with the song’s roots in America’s era of slavery, moves through Emancipation and the Jim Crow period, reaches a crescendo in the civil rights era, and continues to the present day. But the story of “We Shall Overcome” isn’t only about a song that has come to represent the struggle for equality, freedom, peace, and justice around the world. It’s also about how the act of singing and the process of sharing songs are part of what defines us as human beings.




March | Integrity

Big Fat Enormous Lie, Marjorie Weinman Sharmat +

A boy's little lie comes alive in the form of a monster who grows and grows until he finds the only way to make it go away--by telling the truth!




Aprl | Responsibility

But It's Not My Fault, Julia Cook +

Follow Noodle through a very rough day at school. It just isn’t his fault that his brother’s game ran late and he didn’t finish his homework. Or that his mom forgot to remind him to turn in his library book. Or that Mary Gold got in his airspace and hit his arm with her head…. Join Noodle on his journey as he learns not to blame others or try to find fault; but instead practices accepting responsibility, and turns his very rough day into a very good NEW day!




May | Citizenship

A is for Activist, Innosanto Nagara +

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books. The illustrations are also multi-layered. Your child will find something they can learn to recognize on each page. There are new things to discover over multiple readings. There are references for grownups to “get”, and maybe even be a conversation starter. Oh, and there’s always a cat.




June | Gratitude

Gratitude Soup, Olivia Rosewood +

Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for, putting them in an imaginary soup pot. She is able to shrink her pot of soup with her imagination, and she keeps the gratitude warm and flowing in her heart all day and all night. Perfect for teaching your children about gratitude with fun and play, this rhyming, colorful 8x10 picture book combines collage and watercolors as Violet the Purple Fairy tells her own story of cooking with gratitude. Your children might even be inspired to make their own Gratitude Soup! Look for the "Create Your Own" version of this book, an arts and crafts version of this story that allows your child to make their own gratitude soup. There is scientific evidence showing that gratitude dramatically changes brain chemistry, leading to a peaceful mind and healthy body. Although gratitude has been a staple of human faith and philosophy for thousands of years, the formal scientific exploration of gratitude only began in the year 2000, and it has been fervently studied ever since. In one study performed at UC Davis, published in the Journal of School Psychology, those who had a daily gratitude activity had more positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy. Gratitude can lead to fewer physical ailments, as well as an enhanced feeling of well being. Children who practiced gratitude showed more positive attitudes toward their school and their families. They are less likely to judge others, and also less jealous. They are more likely to share and to want to help. Without a doubt, gratitude is a powerful life tool.




Summer Reading | Kindness

We're All Wonders, R. J. Palacio +

Over 5 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.