Being Your Best: Character Building for Kids 7-10
Author: Barbara A. Lewis
Pages: 165
Publisher/Date: Free Spirit Publishing/2000
ISBN:1575420635 (pb)
Age Levels: 7-10

Note: This book has been updated and renamed What Do You Stand For? A Guide to Building Character. For more information, go here.

Book Review

We know that students learn best by doing. That also holds true with character education. If you are looking for an effective and efficient way to introduce this important subject to your students, Being Your Best is an excellent tool.

Written in a warm, conversational tone, the book introduces readers to ten positive character traits (each with their own chapter): caring, citizenship, cooperation, fairness, forgiveness, honesty, relationships with family and friends, respect, responsibility, and safety.

Each chapter begins with a true story of a child who exhibits the trait being discussed. (Some of the stories are deeply moving.) The chapter then goes on to explore in detail the trait or value. Each begins with a quote, gives an easy-to-understand definition, background information, and then describes projects, ideas, and activities for developing the trait.

We know that making the right choice is not always so obvious—even for adults. To that end, the author has thoughtfully included in each chapter a section titled, "What If?" that describes situations wherein the best choice may not be immediately discernable. Here the reader is encouraged to "think about, write about, talk about, or act out," a situation. For example, in the chapter on relationships, one question asks, "You have two friends who fight over you. They each want you to be their friend alone. You want to be friends with both. Is it possible to do that? What can you do or say to your friends?"

Sprinkled liberally throughout are lists of resources the reader may consult as well as tips and techniques for developing his or her "character muscles." A glossary and an exceptionally inclusive index are included.

The book can, of course, be read independently by individual students. It is so well done, however, you may want to consider purchasing a class set for group instruction. Also available from the publisher is A Leader's Guide to Being Your Best which includes lessons, reproducibles, resources, and more.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2004 Education Oasis®

About the Author

Barbara A. Lewis is a national, award-winning author and educator who teaches kids how to think and solve real problems. She lives and works in Park City, Utah.