Must Haves – Books – The Julia Cook Edition

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This is Part 2 in my must have book series. You can read Part 1 here!
School counselors bibliotherapy: Julia Cook Books you need and short reviews
Part 2: The Julia Cook Collection

Look, I’m a school counselor so of course I love Julia Cook. That said, not every one of her books has been a hit for me (in fact some I don’t care for at all) and some I don’t consider “must haves”. That said, she’s got some rock star books that are absolutely necessary for our school counseling program. There’s a couple good ones I haven’t mentioned here – I tried to limit it to the cream of the crop since I know many counselors reading these types of books are operating on a tight budget.

School counselor review A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue

I’m not sure if there is any school counselor left that has not heard of this book, but in case there is, this is a fun book about tattling vs. reporting/telling. I’ve read all of them and while none are perfect (or…I’m too picky), this is my favorite. I recommend it for 1st grade and up as it’s a bit lengthy.


School counselor review My mouth is a Volcano and lesson plan link

Does this book cure kids of blurting? Nope. But it’s a great opener for a discussion on the topic, provides a strategy, and gives some phrases/vocabulary for the class to use as they grow to learn to keep things to themselves. We use this just as much as a loaner book to teachers to read to classes as we use it for anything else. I wrote here how we used this for a 2nd grade lesson.


School Counselor review of the book But It's Not My Fault! and links to lesson plans

Accepting responsibility for actions is always a hot topic (see also: making good choices, thinking about the consequences of actions, etc.). While there’s a couple other books out there that are good, this one is the best. I also feel like the examples in this book are both 1) applicable to my students and 2) not all encompassing which allows me to discuss additional scenarios in our activities. I wrote about my 3rd grade lesson plan here and have the sorting cards + exit ticket on my store here.


School counselor review of the book "I can't Believe You Said that!" image and Amazon Link as well as link to lesson plans

We’ve been incorporating a lot of work about using a social filter these last couple years and this book is so fantastic for this that we’re using it in two different grade levels (2nd and 4th) in Life Skills this year – and we never reuse books! The book has some laughs which the kiddos always appreciate, but it also gets the point across beautifully. Here is how I’ve been using the book and here are the activity cards.


School counselor review of the book "The Kid Trapper" and amazon link.

I wrote previously about this book here. It truly is such a great book about safety for the “big kids”. An updated version that includes some internet safety would be awesome, but I think this story is great.


School counselor book review of "Baditude!" and amazon link and lesson plan activites

For the negative nancy’s, for the crankensteins, for the grumps – we have this book. It’s theme is a bit on choosing gratitude over negativity/whining, but it can also be an opener for discussing helpful vs. unhelpful thoughts (one of my favorite topics). Here is how I used it in a classroom lesson and here and here are the activities that are part of it.


School counselor review of the book "Teamwork Isn't My Thing" and amazon link

Teamwork (or more specifically, working successfully on groupwork at school) is crucial and is also something our kiddos struggle with in a major way. The plot of this book has some giggles and it’s relatable. While the strategies suggested may not always be a fit for a room, the book is a great opener to any discussion on this.


School Counselor review of the book "Ricky Sticky Fingers" and a mini lesson plan as well as amazon link

We don’t generally do classroom lessons on stealing (we don’t do general character trait lessons either), but for the last few years we’ve had classrooms experiencing issues of thievery (sometimes by multiple students). This book is great to do little mini-lessons with and has definitely met a need that we had. Here’s a mini-lesson I made about using self-talk to avoid the temptation of stealing as a companion to this book.

School counselor review of "Soda Pop Head" and amazon link

It’s hard to find strong books about anger that include 1) a plot, 2) a description of how anger feels in the body, and 3) recommendations of coping skills. This is more something I use whole class if there are several students with dysregulation issues as opposed to small group, but I have used it successfully there too.

***The activity books: Some people love these. They are not really a fit for my style (small group and classroom) and they can be a bit pricey given you may only like one of the activities inside.***

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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
I get to serve in a different way now
– by helping fellow counselors and

I value quality over quantity,
effective practices and resources,
and meeting the unique needs of all
our diverse learners.


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