Being responsible means that others can count on you.

This is a list of children’s picture books that are about responsibility. I’ve included these books because, in addition to a positive message, they are fun to read. Some are funny, or have great illustrations, and all of them held my attention and the attention of my kids. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Here is an idea to help jump-start a discussion about this virtue with kids:

Try the VirtueGame! It teaches 10 virtues in a fun, engaging way.



Picture Books

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

This is a great, classic book. A lazy mother bird asks Horton the elephant to sit on her egg while she goes on vacation. She doesn’t come back until the egg finally hatches and Horton has done all the work.

The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann

This is a really cute, rhyming book with a rhythm that makes it fun to read out loud. The illustrations look like detailed shadows, cut from black paper and placed against a colored background. At the town picnic, all the babies crawl away and one little boy chases them. He catches and cares for them and brings them back safely.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

This is a classic book. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are responsible for their ducklings.

Trashy Town by A. Zimmerman

A short, simple book. Little by little, Mr. Gillie the trash man cleans up his town.

The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park Published 2004

This is a serious, sweet book with watercolor illustrations. A Korean boy takes on his family’s responsibility to light a signal fire for the king.

Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown

The Responsibility message is right out in front in this book, but it is still fun. Arthur wants a dog of his own, but has to prove that he is responsible before he can have one.

Beatrice doesn’t want to by Laura Numeroff

Henry needs to go to the library to work on a project for school, but Beatice doesn’t want to go!

Picture Books

Sign of the Beaver by E. Speare

This is a kid's novel. It starts with a boy and his father heading out to the wilderness to homestead their claim. In the woods of Maine, they build a cabin, plant corn and pumpkins, and get everything ready for their family. Then the father leaves to get his wife and younger children and the boy stays behind to take care of the crops and cabin. The father is delayed, and the boy is alone for months. He learns to take care of himself with help from local Indians.