Teaching our learners about digital citizenship isn’t exactly the most exiting topic to engage conversation, but as we all know, the right hook can make all of the difference. As well, picture books, regardless of age, are always a hit. Below are some great books to consider.
Chicken Clicking (Jeanne Willis)
This book, complete with beautiful pictures, covers the topic of digital privacy, and leads to discussion in more than one area.
In the beginning, the book prompts discussion about the importance of passwords, auto-saving sensitive information (credit cards) and signing out of accounts. It also allows for conversation about ensuring you have permission before making purchases online.
Next, this book provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the sharing of personal information with strangers and appropriate contexts for meeting people in person from the online world. Do not miss this chance to talk about what is safe, such as meeting in a public space with friends or how to purchase items off of an online Marketplace. Be prepared, though, as you may be surprised as who knows the term “catphishing”.
If You Give a Mouse an iPhone (Ann Droyd)
This book is excellent for having a discussion about screen time, both for parents and students. It also great for effects, if you read with inflection and excitement. It also can help discuss what is healthy or appropriate screen time/use, reminding students that screen time at school counts and the use of devices to
set limits while also being internally responsible for time limits.
This reading could also be more impactful to read to learners prior to a school break or before going on a school trip, reminding students the importance of unplugging, even during the travel so as to not miss out on moments on the journey, not just the destination.
Don’t forget, when reading, point out how much the mouse’s eyes bulge while using the device!
Nerdy Birdy Tweets (Aaron Reynolds and Matt Davies)
Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends.
One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.
On the Internet: Our First Talk About Online Safety (Jillian Roberts and Jane Heinrichs)
This book takes readers through several scenarios around parental supervision, online bullying and anonymity. It also includes examples of people who use the Internet to make the world a better place. The story addresses common safety concerns with easy-to-understand rationales as to why it’s important to maintain boundaries online just as in real life.
Goodnight iPad (Ann Droyd)
An excellent and relatable story about the need to unplug from our devices before bed. Beginning by illustrating a home well-equipped with technology, it walks us through a myriad of distractions that can lead us to remain on our phone much later than we should. While meant to be a parody, the story does an excellent job at depicting just how much we are surrounded by technology in our homes.
Blackout (John Rocco)
This book serves a dual-purpose. First, it provides an entry point to discuss what a blackout is and to help our young learners understand what a blackout is. Second, it provides a reminder about the balance we require in our life regarding technology. Specifically, it emphasizes the importance of family and community time.
The Technology Tail (Julia Cook)
In this book, we are introduced to the character “Screen”. Screen helps explains what happens to things that are posted online, and the consequences of those actions. This book lends itself nicely to not only a person’s online image, but cyberbullying as well.
Goodnight Selfie (Scott Menchin)
This book is great for engaging students in a conversation around “the selfie” and “the elsie-selfie”. It lends itself to talking about what is worth taking a selfie of – and sharing with others – and what is not. Further, there is a page in the book where the character takes a selfie with roller skating, swinging high and getting hurt, which allows for a good entry point to talking about mobile devices and being distracted – I mentioned distracted driving, distracted rolling, and the need to be stopped and aware of your surroundings (hazards) before taking photos. I also made this sheet to accompany the book for primary grades (please click here).
Dot (Randy Zuckerberg)
This is an excellent book to spark dialogue over healthy use of digital devices. Dot, the main character, knows a lot about digital devices and how to use them, but this tends to consume her time… until she embarks on a real-world adventure.
Bad Kitty Does Not Like Video Games (Nick Bruel)
This book provides a great entry point to discuss healthy balances between technology and other forms of entertainment. It directly addresses how much time spent playing video games, lending nicely to discuss what limitations exist for your learners. In this book, the story begins with Bad Kitty glued to the bunny and carrot video game. Then, Bad Kitty is told to play outside, draw and read before being allowed to play more video games. Outside, Bad Kitty acts out the video game through imaginative play. Then, Bad Kitty draws scenes from the video game. After this, Bad Kitty’s creativity turns everything into monsters in the drawing. Last, Bad Kitty reads a book with connections to the video game (sounds similar to The Tale of Peter Rabbit). In the end, Bad Kitty goes outside to read and draw, rather than play more video games.
Tek: The Modern Cave Boy (Patrick McDonnell)
This book is creatively designed to emulate an iPad, which makes it difficult to keep in circulation at our library. Overall, the story line follows a cave boy so addicted to his technology that his abilities digress, as he misses out on life. He misses the Ice Age and never learns about dinosaurs, and has very little ability to communicate and interact with others. That is, until the volcano erupts and his technology crashes. After this, Tek rediscovers the world around him.
This book has excellent details in its design. Each page has connectivity and battery power icons that change throughout the story, and bolds difficult words, which could lead to a vocabulary/creative writing activity. Kids absolutely love having this book read to them.