Explore our favorite teaching tools.
Like our service projects, this list is continuously evolving. If you don't see your favorite books or websites, we welcome your suggestions in the comment section below.
Books - Preschool and Early Elementary
All Around Town: Exploring Your Community Through Craft Fun by Judy Press, illustrated by Karen Weiss (Williamson Publishing Co., 2002). Find activities, information and resources to learn about community sites such as the animal shelter, theater, airport and senior citizen’s center.
City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan (Morrow Junior Books, 1994). Ages 4-8. The story of how a community garden brings light and hope into a neighborhood and even changes the outlook of irritable Old Man Hammer.
Communities in My World by Ella Cane (Pebble Books, 2013). Ages 4-8. Learn about how communities vary across the world in this book filled with beautiful photographs and interesting facts.
Franklin’s Neighborhood by Paulette Bourgeois, illustrated by Brenda Clark (Scholastic, Inc., 1999). Ages 4 and up. Franklin learns that the best thing about his neighborhood is the neighbors.
Grandpa’s Corner Store by DyAnne Disalvo-Ryan (HarperCollins, 2000). Ages 4-8. Lucy organizes the community to keep her grandfather’s small grocery store from being put out of business by an incoming supermarket. A true celebration of community spirit.
The Green Truck Garden Giveaway: A Neighborhood Story and Almanac by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Alec Gillman (Simon and Schuster, 1997). Ages 6 and up. A couple of gardeners in a green truck convert some bored and grumpy neighbors into a community by creating gardens and passing out almanacs. The book includes related tips and anecdotes on everything from the history of pumpkins to plans for a butterfly garden.
Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen, illustrated by Kristina Swarner. Ages 3 and up. A beautifully inspiring book filled with examples and activities that encourage children to live with kindness and gratitude as they look for the good in all people.
The Name Jar written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Dragonfly Books, 2003). Ages 3-7. When no one at her school can pronounce her name, new girl Unhei wonders if she should choose another one in order to fit in with her peers.
Books & Websites - Late Elementary
Know Your Hometown History: Projects and Activities by Abigail Jungreis (Franklin Watts, 1992) Here are projects that will give kids the tools to get to know their community’s past.
Neighborhood Odes by Gary Soto, illustrated by David Diaz (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992). Ages 8-12. A series of odes to a Hispanic neighborhood in which sprinklers, piñatas, grandparents and the library are celebrated.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (HarperTeen, 2004). Ages 9-12. The story of a garden planted by a young girl in an abandoned lot and how it brings together a troubled neighborhood.
Some Good News by Cynthia Rylant (Simon and Schuster Children’s Books, 2001). Ages 7-10. Three nine-year-old cousins start a newspaper about the activities and personalities on Cobble Street, where they are living with their Aunt Lucy.
Kids and Community
Kids can learn about city planning and find activities.
Learning Adventures in Citizenship
Would your child like to design a park, solve a community problem or write poetry in honor of his or her hometown? Kids will find lots of ideas for helping their communities at this PBS Web site celebrating community.
Books - Young Adult
Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values That Build Strong Families and Communities by Clifton L. Taulbert (Penguin Group, 1997). Taulbert, who’s written well-known memoirs of growing up in the segregated south, presents the wisdom of the people who raised him and explains how their values built a strong community.
145th Street: Short Stories by Walter Dean Myers (Delacorte Press, 2000). Ages 12 and up. Ten stories originating from Harlem residents allow you to learn about community.
Books & Websites - Adult
The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012). What resources already exist within your community that can be used to strengthen it? McKnight and Block tell readers how looking internally can connect citizens and create community pride and prosperity.
How to Start a Community Garden: Our Journey by Anthony Lane (Anthony J. Lane, 2013). A how-to guide for starting a community garden.
Social Problems: Community, Policy and Social Action by Anne-Leon Guerrero (SAGE Publications, Inc., 2013). Learn how to recognize and strategically handle community problems.
American Community Gardening Association
Find or start a co
Support local farmers by shopping at a farmers’ market in your area.
Community Supported Agriculture
Participate in the joys and struggles of farming by purchasing shares of a local farmer’s produce.
Local Harvest is a national directory of organic and local farms, CSAs, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and restaurants.
Still Looking? Browse our projects.
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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.