The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack

Don’t you worry, we’re still reading all the best honesty books over here for our Family Focus trait of honesty for May! Though we don’t really have formal trait-building activities to go with honesty month as we have in the past, we are still reading our honesty picture books and adding to our honesty chart. And this week, we read an absolute gem — The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Giselle Potter.

Let me start by saying that Patricia McKissack is one of my all-time favorite picture book authors. From Flossie and the Fox and Mirandy and Brother Wind published back in the 1980s, to her numerous picture book biographies, to her more recent Goin’ Someplace Special (published in 2000) and What is Given From the Heart from last year, McKissack’s books have been go-tos of mine from my classroom days to my parenting days. So, if you don’t know Patricia McKissack, make sure to get your hands on some of her books when your libraries open back up!

And now for today’s book, The Honest-to-Goodness Truth. Teaching children about honesty is extremely difficult when you think about it. I mean, on the one hand, we want to raise children who have the integrity and courage to tell the truth, no matter what the cost. But, we also aim to instill and kindness and respect for others that helps our children hold their tongues when their opinion of others (or even the facts…) might be hurtful when said in front of others, for the wrong reasons, or at the wrong time. What a fine line to wrap our minds around ourselves, much less explain to children so that they understand!

McKissack’s The Honest-to-Goodness Truth may be just the book you need if you’re struggling with this nuance in your family. The book opens with Libby lying to her mama about feeding the horse, which results in Libby vowing to only tell the truth from then on. But, she quickly finds that the truth sometimes upsets her friends and neighbors, such as when a friend tells Libby she’s mean after Libby points out a hole in her sock, or when Libby tells the teacher that a classmate didn’t do his homework.

Libby struggles to understand why people are getting so upset with her, especially since she is keeping her promise to her mama to tell the truth “no matter how much it hurt.” Fortunately, Mama is understanding, wise, and able to clarify that sometimes, the truth is told for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time, or in the wrong way. When that is the case, the truth is hurtful… When a neighbor tells hurtful truth to Libby, she finally comprehends exactly what Mama means and is able to make amends with her friends and neighbors. The last neighbor leaves us with one more important lesson, but you’ll need to read it yourself to find out!

If you liked the sound of The Honest-to-Goodness Truth, you can use the affiliate links below to purchase, or track it down from your local library (if they’re open…).

And for more books like this, be sure to check out the rest of our favorite picture books about honesty!

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