Brilliant IB PYP Books

Books for Teaching the IB PYP Learner Profile

There are so many wonderful books for helping to teach children about the character traits of the IB Learner Profile. Over the years however, I keep returning to a few that I feel reinforce those profile traits really well. I’ve used these books with 3rd grade up to 6th grade equally successfully, even though they may seem to be a wee bit young for those age groups. They work well as quick read alouds and can be utilised to reinforce many reading skills and strategies too.- inferring, questioning, synthesising, figurative language and more. This page is a list of my favourite books for pulling together the Learner Profile traits. I like to use some of them within our units of inquiry or simply as a stand alone when the opportunity presents itself in my class to look more thoroughly at a particular profile trait.

I have grouped them according to each Learner Profile trait. Each picture is linked to Amazon so that you can click on any one and find out more about the book, customer reviews and so on.

Open Minded

Developing open-mindedness in children isn’t really that difficult since they are actually pretty loving and accepting of others around the world. Opening their minds to the myriad differences surrounding them is tantamount to developing an even greater sense of global awareness and international mindedness in a young person who is going to become our future. Keeping an open mind can also tie in with being a risk taker and trying new experiences. These books help to promote the attitude of acceptance and tolerance as well as inspiring a need for change in certain areas.

This book looks at the diversity within our global population, comparing it to a village. It opens our minds to the enormous differences and inequality there is within the world. Great for Sharing the Planet, Who We Are and any other units looking at human rights around the world.

How different cultures are around the world and what it means to move from one culture to another.


Risk Taker/Courageous
Both of these books look at how the character faces fears and steps out of their comfort zone.

Journey is a beautiful tale of a girl who travels within her imagination.

Swimmy tells the story of a fish afraid to step out of his comfort zone and, once he does, discovers a whole world of learning and excitement as well as finding his confidence and strength from within.
Emmanuel’s Dream is such an inspirational true story of a boy who only has one leg and yet, despite all of the challenges that he faces daily, still had the courage to face each and every one as he pursued his dream. I love to use this book for this profile trait! Especially since its true!


More Parts– I’ve used this book as a funny introduction to our unit about the human body. It was used as part of a lesson that looked into the importance of questioning within communication and of asking the right questions. My fifth graders LOVE it! It also offers a great opportunity to review idioms and other figurative language.

Absolutely hilarious book about a boy who asks questions about his body based upon the weird and wonderful ways of figurative language.

If……A beautiful book that inspires questions as we delve into some mighty big numbers that exist all around us. It is a great tool for reinforcing the reading skill of questioning. Provide each child with a sticky note or two and, as you read it together, have them note down the questions that pop into their minds as they discover the massive numbers within.  I’ve also used it as we explored the key concept of FORM within maths  for place value and as inspiration for writing using hyperbole.


Ah both of these books are amazing, feel good books. They are all about how human beings can be so incredibly caring to one another and the difference that caring makes to both the receiver and the giver.


Parts is one of my favourites for laugh out loud hilarity. It explores the human body and I have used it as a fun formative assessment about the body systems, as we read through the book, thus tapping into the knowledge of my fifth graders. It appeals to their lavatorial sense of humour at this age range, even though the book is for younger readers.

Hippos Can’t Swim is a non fiction book full of facts about animals and nature. It is a good book to demonstrate the trait of being knowledgeable since there are many facts that the older kids will know already and equally many that they may not yet know. Its fun.


Being a thinker involves using our knowledge to solve problems, thinking things through and even trying out different ways, making mistakes and recognising when we have made a breakthrough. These books look at rial and error as the characters evolve throughout their problems and move towards learning and solutions.

One Hen is set in a village in Africa and explores how one boy learns how to become self-sufficient and help his family to become independent and thrive, escaping hunger and poverty. He works with what he has to begin with and builds upon his previous ideas.

What Do You Do With A Problem? looks into the form and function of a problem and offers suggestions as to how best deal with such things. It’s a great book for reinforcing growth mindset too, especially with the IB Attitudes of independence and tolerance.


Two books that could be initially thought of as too young for upper elementary kids but really, the myriad of ways that they both focus on the trait of being principled is amazing.

Good Dog Carl is one of my all time favourites, not least because I have Rottweiles myself. The illustrations are beautiful, as Carl looks after the baby who seems intent on creating all kinds of mischief. Carl struggles to keep the baby on the right track between right from wrong and safe from danger. He’s such a good boy and so patient too! 🙂

A is for Activist is has an alphabetical list of different ways to promote rights, identify wrongs and how to take action. I have used this book, believe it or not, as a prerequisite to my 5th grade IB Exhibition. It was a great resource for looking at action. It’s a great book for review within Who We Are, How We Express Ourselves and other units of inquiry that inquire into human rights, revolutionaries and taking action for change.


Learning to prioritize in our lives is shown within this story as a young girl thinks of ways to save money towards her goal.


These are fantastic books for looking at the ways we communicate.

Voices in the Park explores perspective as the same story is told in different ways throughout the book. I have used this to reinforce the key concept, Perspective and also within developing our communication skills.

My Mouth is A Volcano is so funny! As we develop our communication skills, we have to learn when to talk and when to be a listener. It covers the attitudes of Respect and Tolerance too.


Both books allow us to reflect upon how the characters changed. Each character goes through a lesson which helps them to develop an awareness of themselves, how they can help themselves to grow and improve and move onwards and upwards.

The Girl Who Never Made A  Mistake is great at illustration how perfectionism can be debilitating and that we absolutely can use mistakes positively for our own learning.

Ish is a study of how we can harness our creativity and blossom without having to have everything exactly perfect. It actually questions, what is perfect anyway. I love it!

I hope you find this useful and find something that you can use. Happy clicking!

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