Pants On Fire: 10 Books About Lying For Kids
Why do we need books about lying for kids? You might think it’s simple: tell the little ones “don’t lie!” and move along. The thing about lying is that it’s actually a very advanced psychological skill. When kids lie, they’re proving that they understand the reality of a situation, they understand what is likely to happen based on that reality, and they would like a different outcome. They might want to hide something that’s already happened, influence future events, or even protect someone’s feelings. Such a complex situation deserves a nuanced conversation. Besides, aren’t we past the “do as I say” model of raising young people?
Thank everything holy we’ve got books! There are so many amazing titles that help adults navigate social emotional topics with kids, and lying is no exception. Whether little ones are struggling with exaggeration, lying to fit in, covering mistakes, or even managing brutal honesty, there is a book to impart a lesson and spark a discussion. As a society, we are moving away from a “right and wrong” method of teaching morality. Kids are being explicitly taught to unpack their emotions and gently directed to consider other viewpoints. This is, frankly, a huge achievement. Below, I’ve gathered 10 books about lying for kids that can help you start these conversations with the little humans in your life.
Scout’s Honor: A Kid’s Book about Lying and Telling the Truth by Tiffany Obeng
Tapping into kids’ love for comics, Scout’s Honor uses vibrant cartoon images to draw readers in. Less a narrative and more a jumping off point, this book discusses reasons and consequences for lying.
Honesty is my Superpower: A Kid’s Book about Telling the Truth and Overcoming Lying by Alicia Ortego
Part of Ortego’s My Superpower series, this book uses a narrative story to bring up important concepts of honesty. Tommy and his beloved older brother, Nao, celebrate truthful words and actions.
Norman Didn’t Do It!: (Yes, He Did) by Ryan T. Higgins
Higgins is a read-aloud favorite for his silly characters and wonderful illustrations. This book uses a charming story to subtly bring in messages about jealousy and lying. Plus, it features a tree named Mildred.
The Fibbing Giraffe by David White, Kevin Phun, and Ronaldo Florendo
Our title character goes on a journey when his fibs begin to snowball and he faces uncomfortable consequences for his dishonesty. Readers will connect with the positive feeling of relief when he finally tells the truth!
I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids by Gabi Garcia and Charity Russell
We do our young people a disservice if we make them think that doing the morally correct thing is always easy. It’s not the truth. In this gorgeously illustrated book of affirmations, Garcia allows readers to grapple with various difficult situations and reminds them that they can achieve what they need to, even when it’s hard.
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack and Giselle Potter
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth is a delightful and necessary counterpoint to the “complete honesty always” narrative. Libby is confused when she follows her Mama’s directions about telling the whole truth. Suddenly, everyone is mad! This book is perfect for the discussion of truth vs. tact, laid out in a lovely story.
Princess K.I.M. and the Lie That Grew by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
The incredibly relatable Kim wants to fit in with her classmates at her new school. To make them like her, she tells a teeny lie — she’s royalty! She is the hit of the school, but can she keep the lie from exploding in her face?
Little Croc’s Purse by Lizzie Finlay
Another facet of the honesty conversation is the “finders keepers” clause. What do we do when we see something we really want, but it’s not ours? Little Croc struggles to make the choice between keeping the lost purse he finds, or seeking out the owner.
Tiddler by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Tiddler is a little fish who is always late for school. He’s also always quick to make up a story to excuse his lateness. But what happens when a net sweeps him up and pulls him far from school and home? How will he handle a true emergency?
The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! By Scott Magoon
The familiar Boy Who Cried Wolf fable is turned on its head in this story about a boy who cries cryptid! Heavy on the themes of establishing and maintaining trust and delivered with appealing rhyming text, this is sure to be a read aloud hit.
Hopefully you found some books about lying for kids that can help you start important discussions! Looking for more books to spark social emotional growth? Check out these books about bullying or this round up of children’s books about emotions.