Telling the truth doesn’t always come easily or naturally for children. Kids know they should tell the truth, but they also don’t like to get into trouble or disappoint adults. We need to teach children to be truthful with their words and actions. In addition to modeling this, I like to share picture books with this message. Here are some of my favorite children’s books about telling the truth.
You can click on any of the book covers in this post to learn more.
we are a participant in the amazon services llc associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Lying Up a Storm by Julia Cook
A storm is brewing… Whenever Levi doesn’t like the truth, he kinda, sorta makes up other stuff to say. One day his mother explains to him that telling lies will damage the trust of his friends and make him very sad.
Whenever you tell a lie, your inside sun goes away.
Then a lying cloud forms, and glooms up your day.
Each time you tell a lie, another cloud starts to form,
and before you can stop it from happening, your insides start to storm.
This book is a great resource to help children understand not only the consequences of telling a lie, but also how one lie can often lead to telling several more. It will help parents and teachers understand that lying can be a normal and sometimes healthy response for a child and offers tools to help guide children toward truthfulness.
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin
Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers.
Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?
The Empty Pot by Demi
A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom. The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he proclaimed, “shall succeed me to the throne!” Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Ping’s embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded.
A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money?
Eli’s Lie-O-Meter by Sandra Levins
Eli knows the difference between pretending and the real facts. Pretending is what he does when he orbits the earth with Duffy, and the real facts are what actually happen. Sometimes in REAL life, keeping to the facts is hard for Eli. Eli has a knack for telling fibs and an occasional whopper. But when Eli’s dog Duffy gets banished to the backyard, Eli learns at least one reason for telling the truth!
The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman
Little Wolf is getting tired of the same old Lamburgers and Sloppy Does every night. How he wishes his mother could serve a nice platter of his favorite dish – Boy! The only problem is that Boy is hard to come by these days. So what’s the best way for rascally Little Wolf to get his parents all stirred up and postpone his boring dinner? By yelling, “BOY! BOY!” on his way home from school – and sending his parents on a wild hunt all over the countryside. But what will happen to Little Wolf (and to dinner) when a real boy finally does come along?
Liar Liar Pants on Fire by Diane deGroat
When Mrs. Byrd tells Gilbert’s class that they’re going to be doing plays about famous people, Gilbert’s heart sinks. Plays make him nervous what if he forgets his lines? So when he lands the role of George Washington in a play about the cherry tree, he’s determined to do it without any mistakes. But when his most important prop goes missing right before the show, Gilbert loses his cool and looks to blame anyone but himself.
Tell the Truth B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra
Big Bad Wolf’s first visit to his local library was such a success that he returns to tell his version of “The Three Little Pigs.” His outrageous spin on the tale draws skeptical remarks from his audience: “Isn’t that wolf’s nose getting longer?” asks Pinocchio. “It’s a cooked-up, half-baked tale,” snaps the Gingerbread Boy. And “Tell the truth, B.B. Wolf!” squeal the Three Little Pigs. Caught in his own lie, B.B. explains that he is a reformed villain: “Now I’m begging on my knees, Little Pigs, forgive me, please!” How B.B. turns his bad old deed into a good new one provides a happy ending to this fun-to-read fractured fairytale.
Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back by Howard Binkow
It’s becoming easy for Howard to lie. When he lies to someone he really loves, he knows he has to fix it. Howard finds the burden of all the lies he has been telling to be too much.
Being Frank by Donna W. Earnhardt
Frank follows the motto, “Honesty is the best policy.” He tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Frank never lies to his schoolmates, he always tells the truth to adults, and he’s always honest with police officers. No one is quite as impressed with Frank’s honesty as he thinks they should be. He is sweet and straightforward, and, well, very frank, but with everyone annoyed at him, Frank is now honestly unhappy. He decides to visit his confidante and pal, Grandpa Ernest, who has a history of frankness himself. With a few lessons from Grandpa, Frank begins to understand that the truth is important, but so is not being hurtful. The balancing act of finding tact, that fine line between telling the truth and telling too much truth, is the main theme of this story.
The Honest to Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack
“Tell the truth and shame the devil,” Libby’s mama has told her. So whatever is Libby doing wrong? Ever since she started telling only the truth, the whole world seems to be mad at her. First it’s her best friend, Ruthie Mae, who gets upset when Libby tells all their friends that Ruthie Mae has a hole in her sock. Then Willie gives her an ugly look when she tells the teacher he hasn’t done his homework. It seems that telling the truth isn’t always so simple.
The Lying King by Alex Beard
Can warthogs fly? Do tigers eat broccoli? For answers, follow along as Warthog lies his way to the throne in this timeless, yet most timely, Tale from the Watering Hole. Will the Truth catch up with the king?
Princess K.I.M. and the Lie That Grew by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Kim wants the kids at her new school to like her, so she tells a teeny, tiny, bitty lie. She says her name is really “K.I.M.”–for “Katherine Isabella Marguerite”–and that she comes from a royal family! Pretty soon all the students know there is a princess in the school. Kim wears her golden tiara from dance class and a big fancy ring she won at the arcade. Her little lie grows and grows. When a classmate invites her to a birthday party, Kim says she can’t go because her grandmother is coming to visit. But she had told the kids her grandmother was a queen. Now they all want to meet the queen. Kim is in a real bind; her lie has grown too big and it’s about ready to explode!
Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berkeley Breathed
Fannie Fudwupper’s big brother, Edwurd, spends his time cooking up big fibs full of phooey and letting them rip. But one day, Edwurd tells such a whopping lie that the army, the air force, and the dogcatcher are called to reverse the damage.
The Berenstain Bears and the Truth by Stan & Jan Berenstain
When Mama goes to the market, Brother and Sister play soccer in the house . . . and end up breaking a lamp! When Mama asks them what happened, they tell her a series of whoppers that just get bigger and bigger. Will they ever tell her the truth?
It’s True by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter thinks that sometimes it’s easier to tell part of the truth instead of the whole truth. Little Critter learns quickly that lying has consequences and that telling the truth, no matter how hard, is always the right thing to do.
Franklin Fibs by Paulette Bourgeois
Bear can climb the highest tree, Hawk can fly over the berry patch without flapping his wings, and Beaver can chop down a tree with his teeth. “I can swallow 76 flies in the blink of an eye”, Franklin fibs. . . . Then Franklin’s friends ask him to prove it! Franklin tells a fib and finds himself in an embarrassing predicament.
Telling the Truth by Regina Burch
This book explores honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. It’s part of the Character Education Readers series.
Be Honest and Tell the Truth by Cheri J. Meiners, M.Ed.
It’s never too soon to learn the difference between what’s true and what isn’t. Words and pictures help young children discover that being honest in words and actions builds trust and self-confidence. They also learn that telling the truth sometimes takes courage and tact. Includes discussion questions, skits, scenarios, and games that reinforce the ideas being taught.
Honesty Counts (Character Counts) by Marie Bender
Defines honesty as a character trait and discusses how to be honest at home, with friends, at school, and in the community.
What are your favorite children’s books about lying and telling the truth? I’d love to check them out!
You can find more book lists by topic here.