I love teaching students to think about different points of view! This is such an essential skill – not only academically, but also behaviorally. When students are able to look at things from different points of view, they become more empathetic and kind.
Books that offer multiple perspectives are a great way to expose 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students to this skill! The books listed below (that are affiliate links) are some of my favorite books that help teach point of view. You can also find more ideas for teaching point of view here!
Fiction Books That Have 2 or More Points of View
The fiction picture books below all tell a story from at least 2 different points of view. These books are all shorter in length and have an easier vocabulary then would normally be appropriate for 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students. However, each of the books models different points of view in a way that is still engaging to upper elementary students.
1. The Day the Crayons Quit
In this book, the owner of a crayon box gets a letter from each crayon, with each crayon writing from its own point of view. For example, the red crayon complains about being overworked and even having to work on holidays (like Valentine’s Day).
This is a great book to get kids thinking about how people in very similar situations can have very different points of view.
2. Voices in the Park
In this book, 4 different characters tell about their trip to the park from their own point of view. The characters interact with each other while at the park and shared how they viewed what happened.
Although this book does not have the most interesting plot, students will enjoy getting to hear how each character has their own unique perspective.
3. I Wanna Iguana
In this book, a boy tries to convince his mom to let him have an iguana. The boy and his mom write letters back and forth explaining their point of view. The boy tries to convince his mom that the iguana will be quiet, that he will take care of it, and that it will be good for him to have a friend. The mom counters each of his arguments from her point of view.
4. Hey, Little Ant
In this book, a boy and an ant talk to each other. The boy is going to squish the ant, and the ant tries to convince him not to. For example, the boy says that the ants steal food and crumbs from people, while the ant counters explaining that ants need to eat, and one little chip can feed his entire “town.”
As an added bonus, the entire book rhymes.
Familiar Fairy Tales Told From a Different Point of View
The fiction picture books below are all based on well known fairy tales. The books tell the same story as the original fairy tale, only from somebody else’s point of view.
Although most students will be familiar with the original fairy tale, some of your students might not be. It can be helpful to read the original story before reading the versions below.
My personal favorites are the stories told from the “bad guy’s” point of view. After reading these, students love to write their own fairy tales from a different point of view. You can find more ideas for integrating writing into your point of view lessons here.
1. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
This is the story of The 3 Little Pigs, as told by the wolf. If your students have not heard this story yet, they are missing out – this is a classic! The wolf explains his side of the story, trying to convince the reader that he was really just trying to borrow some sugar from the 3 little pigs, and the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding.
2. The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be
This book tells the story of The Princess and the Pea, as told by the pea! The pea explains the part it played in helping the prince find a princess.
In order to fully appreciate this story, students must be familiar with the original fairy tale. Since this story is not as common as other stories like The 3 Little Pigs and Cinderella, all of your students might benefit from reading the original version before reading the twist.
3. The Other Side of the Story Series
This is a set of 14 books that tell popular stories and fairy tales from a different character’s point of view. There is Cinderella as told by the Wicked Stepmother,The Three Little Pigs as told by the Wolf,Hansel and Gretel as told by the Witch,Jack and the Beanstalk as told by the Giant and more! You can find a complete list of books in the series here.
Books Told From an Interesting Point of View
The fiction books below all tell a story from an animal or an object’s perspective. Although we often read stories to our students that have animals as main characters, those animals take on human characteristics and we don’t always see their unique point of view as an animal. Asking some higher order thinking questions about point of view while reading these books can help get your students thinking even more critically!
1. Two Bad Ants
This story is told from the perspective of 2 ants. The ants journey to somebody’s house, climbing an unending “mountain” (up the side a house). They spend the night in a sugar jar, and in the morning are scooped up and fall into a “boiling brown lake” (coffee). The adventure continues until the ants eventually make it back home. Students will enjoy hearing about everyday items told from an ant’s point of view.
2. School’s First Day of School
This story tells about the school day from the point of view of the school building. The school building isn’t looking forward to having kids and teachers come. On the first day of school, kids got everywhere, and some of them hurt the school building’s feelings. Throughout the day, the school shares his perspective on the things that happen, including lunch, a fire drill, and what happened in a kindergarten classroom.
3. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School
This story is told from the perspective of a dog who is sent to obedience school. The dog writes letters home to his owner complaining about how terrible he is being treated, while the pictures show what is really going on.
When reading this book with students, it would also be good to discuss bias and exaggeration. This dog was clearly biased against going to obedience school, and his letters make that evident.
I’m always on the look out for books that help teach point of view, so I’ll be adding to this list as I find more! If you have any books that you use to help teach point of view, please let me know in the comments below!
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