Gossip/Rumors – Book Options Breakdown

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Book covers for 5 books for lessons on Gossip & Rumors

It is both a blessing and a curse that there are so many great books out there. Lots of options, hurray! Tricky decisions, boo! I was in this situation for my 4th grade gossip/rumors lesson and it got me to really delve into the options. I’m a lucky lady that I own all of these. Here’s a quick little guide of when to pick (and not pick!) each of these that will hopefully help you when you’re trying to find the right one for your kiddos.

Mr. Peabody's Apples book cover


The Lowdown: Old timey tale, all male characters. Main lessons are that things aren’t always as they seem and that it’s nearly impossible to ‘take back’ rumors once you’ve spread them. Boy sees coach take an apple without paying, tells everyone he’s a thief. Turns out, coach pays in advance! Coach tells boy to spread feathers from pillow everywhere then pick them up as an allegory for undoing the gossip.

Pick This One If:

  • You want a story on the longer side.
  • The seriousness/consequences of gossip/rumors is your focus.
Don’t pick this one if:
  • Your students need contemporary language and illustrations to be engaged in a story.
  • Your students need examples that more closely mirror they’re issue.


Trouble talk by Trudy Ludwig book cover

Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig

The Lowdown: All female characters, heavy on relational aggression. New girl makes mean comments, repeats friends’ secrets, and spreads malicious rumors.

Pick This One If:

  • You want the door opened for discussing reasons why kids spread rumors.
  • You’re looking for a more serious story.
Don’t pick this one if:
  • Your male students will tune out due to it being all girls.
  • Your focus is on what to do if you hear gossip/rumors (this story is more about the aggressor and victim side of things).


The Drama Llama book cover by Susan Bowman


The Drama Llama by Susan Bowman

The Lowdown: Rhyming story, super simple cartoon illustrations, about a llama who both repeats secrets and makes up rumors. Speaks directly to motivation behind spreading rumors and gossip.

Pick This One If:

  • Attention getting is the biggest issue you’re looking to tackle
  • You have a younger crowd or a small group
Don’t pick this one if:
  • Your students are over 8.
  • You need a long story.
Hen Hears Gossip by Megan McDonald book cover


Hen Hears Gossip by Megan McDonald

The Lowdown: Quick read about animals passing along a rumor and the message getting distorted. Best for 1st/2nd grade.



What James said by Liz Rosenberg book cover

What James Said by Liz Rosenberg

The Lowdown: Girl hears that friend said something mean about her, so she gives him the cold shoulder. Turns out he actually said something nice about her.

Pick This One If:

  • You’re looking for a quick read.
  • You want to focus on not believing something just because someone said it.
Don’t pick this one if:
  • You’re looking for a deep, rich text.
  • You want something super serious or long.

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