“In order to be effective, SEL must be equitable. In other words, it must be supportive, affirming, and beneficial for students of all cultures, backgrounds, and identities.”

Wallace Foundation

Each week we will explore inclusive books and lessons that align with specific competencies using the CASEL Five. Last week we explored books and lessons that focus on SELF-MANAGMENT. This week we look at books and activities that highlight: SELF-AWARENESS.

These engaging books and activities help students:

  • recognize how one’s actions can influence and impact others
  • develop social awareness
  • build resiliency by understanding that mistakes are a learning opportunity
  • reflect on their own skills and actions
Sincerely, Harriet
by Sarah Winifred Searle

Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.

One Plastic Bag
by Miranda Paul and
illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

In Najau, Gambia, discarded plastic bags littered the roads. The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Something had to change. Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.

by J.N. Monk and illustrated by Harry Bogosian

A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes. When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet’s core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet’s dangerous, unruly surface.

These free activities from Read for a Better World Student Action and Reflection Guides enrich learning and help students build self-awareness skills:

Help students discover their superpowers! Discover more activities and teacher resources on our Pinterest Page.
Help students discover how their action can create change and impact others. Discover more activities and teacher resources on our Pinterest Page.
Help students discover their strengths and skills. Discover more activities and teacher resources on our Pinterest Page.

Drive Social-Emotional Learning with Books from Lerner

Browse all SEL books or explore books by category at

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