Books by Thomas Lickona


Book cover: SnG cover

Smart & Good High Schools: Integrating Excellence and Ethics
for Success in School, Work, and Beyond

Nearly 100 Promising Practices for Building 8 Strengths of Character That Help Youth Lead Productive, Ethical, and Fulfilling Lives

Throughout history, and in cultures all over the world, education rightly conceived has had two great goals: to help students become smart and to help them become good. They need character for both. Smart & Good High Schools, a 227-page "report to the nation" by Thomas Lickona and Matthew Davidson based on two years of research on American high schools, describes nearly 100 promising practices for developing adolescent character. These practices are organized around a vision aimed at encouraging a paradigm shift in character education: from focusing only on moral character to focusing on both performance character (needed for best work) and moral character (needed for ethical behavior). The report's research included visits to 24 diverse high schools, a comprehensive research review, and the input of a National Experts Panel and a National Student Leaders Panel.


Book cover: Character Matters

Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment,
Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues

Award-winning psychologist-educator Thomas Lickona offers more than 100 practical strategies that parents and schools have used to help kids build strong personal character as the foundation for a purposeful, productive, and fulfilling life. Lickona lays out a blueprint for developing the 10 essential virtues that make up good character—wisdom, justice, fortitude, self-control, love, a positive attitude, hard work, integrity, gratitude, and humility—through a partnership shared by families, schools, and communities. Chapters include: 14 strategies that help kids succeed academically while building character; more than a dozen character-building discipline strategies; 20 ways to prevent peer cruelty and promote kindness; 10 ways to talk to teens about sex, love, and character. The culmination of a lifetime’s work in character education, this landmark book equips parents, schools, and the entire community with the tools needed to raise respectful and responsible children, create safe and effective schools, and build the caring and decent society in which we all want to live.

Read chapters from Character Matters:


Book cover: Character Quotations

Character Quotations: Activities That Build Character and Community

In this ready-to-use character development program, Tom Lickona and Matt Davidson have developed a simple, yet powerful approach to building good character—through quotations. Using character quotations provide opportunities to develop moral awareness, perspective, and conscience and call us to moral action. They offer wisdom from important role models and provide meaningful entry points into literary, historical, and moral content. Character Quotations provides 180 character quotations (five for each of 36 weeks) that are a good developmental match for young people in grades 3 – 8.  Included are reproducible quote-of-the-day pages for making a transparency or posting on a bulletin board to share with students. Each week also includes a teacher’s guide for the virtue with a kid-friendly definition of the virtue, reflection questions for each quote, action assignments for the week, and a full-page, reproducible illustration of the virtue in action. Includes a special chapter on cooperative structures to promote interaction and discussion on the quotations, virtues, and the concept of character.


Book cover: Educating for Character

Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect
and Responsibility

In Educating for Character, called “the Bible of the character education movement,” Dr. Thomas Lickona reports on dozens of practical, successful programs that are teaching the values necessary for our children’s moral development and a decent, humane society. Lickona’s 12-point comprehensive approach to character education offers practical strategies designed to create a working coalition of parents, teachers, and communities. Strategies include the teacher as caregiver, model, and mentor; how to develop a caring classroom community; using character-based discipline, teaching conflict resolution; parents, schools and communities as partners in character development, and service-learning.  Valuable guidance is also offered for confronting the tough issues of drugs, alcohol and sex. Educating for Character received a Christopher Award “for affirming the highest values of the human spirit.”


Book cover: Sex, Love and You

Sex, Love & You: Making the Right Decision

As a teenager today, you are under enormous pressure today to be sexually active. Popular culture tells you that uncommitted responsible sex is possible. TV, movies, and the Internet, trying to depict “reality,” promote some very perverse sexual behaviors. Authors Tom and Judy Lickona and William Boudreau, M.D., give young people a clear understanding of the physical and psychological fallout of sexual behavior apart from marriage, and the rewards of waiting till marriage. Chapters include: Isn’t Everybody Doing it?; Why is Premarital Sex a Danger to My Physical Health?; Isn’t Sexual Intimacy Okay With the Person I’m Planning to Marry?; and How Can You Marry Somebody When You Don’t Know If You are Sexually Compatible? Strongly rooted in the Catholic Tradition, Sex, Love & You encourages you to enjoy the beauty of sex as God intended in a married relationship.


Book cover: Raising Good Children

Raising Good Children: How to Help your Child Develop a Lifelong Sense of Honesty, Decency, and Respect for Others

Raising decent, caring, and responsible children is the most complex and challenging job in every parent’s life—and an increasingly difficult one in today’s society. Based on research, this groundbreaking work by award-winning psychologist and educator Dr. Thomas Lickona describes the predictable stages of moral development from birth to adulthood with down-to-earth advice and guidance for each stage. Included are: seven caring ways to discipline “terrible twos;” why your preschooler “lies” and how to handle it; what to do about a 4-year-old’s back talk; how to handle your 7-year-old’s endless negotiations about what’s “fair;” how to help teens with peer pressure; how to talk to your kids about drugs, drinking, and sex; how to help kids of any age reason more clearly about what’s right and wrong; plus a list of more than 100 children’s books that teach good values.