Book Review: How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids

Authors: Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
Illustrated by Maurie J. Manning
Interest Level: Ages 4-10

From the Book Jacket: Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it's empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don't realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day.

In How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids, Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. Felix then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.

Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers, and family members. Before the day is over, you'll see how Felix learns to be a great bucket filler, and in the process, discovers that filling someone else's bucket also fills his own.

Why It's On My Book Shelf: I cannot even begin to describe the healing power of bucket filling in my own school. It's the #1 way I usually deal with kids when it comes to oh....EVERYTHING. I've taught this metaphor for years and it is built into our thinking and language. The kids use it for problem solving, bullying, friendship issues, home problems, helping others, expressing a need, describing their feelings, talking about a hurt and much more. Relationships are strengthened when students choose to live their lives by this philosophy.

I originally found out about bucket filling through author Carol McCloud's book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?. It's a neat picture book explaining just what is the business of "Bucket Filling." If you've been using this story (or even if you haven't) to explain this wonderful metaphor, then you ABSOLUTELY need How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by authors Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.

What makes this book so special is the focus is on a boy, Felix, and what happens to his bucket throughout his day. He wakes up in the morning with a pretty full bucket. But he spills the cereal and his mom scolds him. Ouch, hurt feelings. DRIP. I loved watching the students' reaction to that word. They hadn't heard bucket filling described that way. Felix gets to school and has a series of negative encounters with kids. DRIP. DRIP. All those positive feelings he started with start going away until his bucket is almost empty. 

Unkind behavior = Drips.

But then something happens to stop the DRIPS. Felix's teacher gives him a compliment. DROP. The class is supportive of him and praises his effort. DROP! He starts receiving compliments and acts of kindness from others as the school day continues. DROP! His bucket starts to fill back up with positive feelings. 

Acts of Kindness = Drops.

Here comes my favorite part.  Once his bucket is filled back up he looks around the playground and notices everyone else has one too....and a lot of them need filling. He now has a real understanding of how it works. And so will your kids! So Felix gets right to it by being kind and helpful. DROP! DROP! This time there are two drops. When he fills another person's bucket, he fills his own too.

Each person receives a DROP during kindness.

The students were SO excited when they saw the cover. I've been reading it the first couple weeks of school so kids can remember to start filling others' buckets immediately. I plan on reading it again throughout the school year. This is one of those stories they like to hear over and over again. It is very well written, the illustrations are perfect, and it speaks to kids. They completely relate to Felix and the ups and downs of his day. Using the "drips" and "drops" as a way to describe positive and negative interactions was easily understood by the students. We've started putting our new discovered language to use! Bucket filling is a way of life in my school. I hope you do the same in your school and home.

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

1 comment

  1. Hi, I'd love to send you a book for consideration. It's an adventure story for kids 8-15.

    Thank you!