The most recommended etiquette books

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to etiquette, and here are their favorite etiquette books.
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Book cover of The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners

Mike Amante Author Of The Puppy Who Lost His Woof

From my list on animals that teaches good morals and values.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Filipino illustrator who draws children’s books for both publishers and for private commissions. I also have been reading children’s books as part of my job. My go-to children's stories are often about animals and nature. I hope you'll like the books on this list as much as I do!

Mike's book list on animals that teaches good morals and values

Mike Amante Why did Mike love this book?

This is one of my favorite children’s books until today. It’s wonderfully illustrated and it teaches good manners in a fun way. I like how Brother Bear and Sister Bear pretended to observe good manners in compliance with Mama Bear’s Politeness Plan but as time passed, they eventually ended up practicing good manners out of habit. I also like that the book showed that not even the grown-ups (such as Papa Bear) are exempted from the house rules.

By Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

This classic Berenstain Bears story is a perfect way to teach children about the importance of good manners!

Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Mama has noticed that Papa, Brother, and Sister have not been using their good manners, so now it’s up to her to help get back on track. Includes over 50 bonus stickers!


Book cover of The Autobiography of a Tomboy

Renée Sentilles Author Of American Tomboys, 1850-1915

From my list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl, I thought I was a tomboy—or I wanted to be one, because the image of a “normal” girl was far too pink and frothy and shallow for my tastes. For me, being a tomboy was less about being boy-like than being unable to claim the markers of femininity. As a historian of women and girls, I wondered how young women saw their futures in this modernizing America, with its True Women and New Women and the opening of advanced education. Did tomboys grow into the rebels who changed the world? Or, like the tomboys in so many fictional stories, did they renounce their assertive sense of self upon marriage and motherhood?

Renée's book list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys

Renée Sentilles Why did Renée love this book?

Gilder’s memoir of growing up in the 1860s as a boyish girl will seem remarkably contemporary to those who equate nineteenth-century girls and women with corsets and overly important etiquette. Gilder writes about baseball, pranks, and various attempts to look like a boy, confirming an instinctual tomboy identity even at a time when females could not legally wear pants.

By Jeannette I. Gilder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Autobiography of a Tomboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of A Suitable Boy

Iris Mwanza Author Of The Lions' Den

From my list on immersed in another culture, country and time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Zambia, a small, landlocked country where travel was prohibitively expensive, but through books, I could travel to any place and across time without ever leaving my bedroom. Now, I’m fortunate that I get to travel for work and leisure and have been to over thirty countries and counting. Before I go to a new country, I try to read historical fiction as a fun way to educate myself and better understand that country’s history, culture, food, and family life. I hope you also enjoy traveling worldwide and across time through this selection.

Iris' book list on immersed in another culture, country and time

Iris Mwanza Why did Iris love this book?

I loved this story set in India soon after partition. It’s a long book with requires upfront commitment but Seth is a masterful storyteller who had me hooked from the first page.

So much so that I lost many nights of sleep and couldn’t put the book down until the very end. While I was immersed in this story and rooting for the protagonist, Lata, I was learning about Indian history, culture, food, and family life. 

By Vikram Seth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Suitable Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Surrender to this strange, beguiling world and be swept away on the wings of story. . . . It is difficult to imagine that many contemporary writers could give us a novel that provides so much deep satisfaction.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy tells the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love, ambition, humor, sadness, prejudice, reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette, and the most appalling violence.

Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata’s—and…


Book cover of Etiquette & Espionage

Johnny B. Truant Author Of The Dream Engine

From my list on YA books that do not insult our intelligence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a healthy dose of skepticism, having been a scientist before I was an author. I look for the con when something’s too good to be true, even in fiction…so don’t insult me by saying, “a magic amulet that makes everyone nice all the time.” If you want me to believe in pixie dust, tell me what’s in place to keep pixie dust smugglers from rigging the system. I raised smart, critical-minded kids, so I always pointed them to my own favorite young-audience books: those that felt real, even if they were fantastical, instead of ones with the more common “just trust me” attitude. 

Johnny's book list on YA books that do not insult our intelligence

Johnny B. Truant Why did Johnny love this book?

I think the main reason I like this book so much—other than its super-cool steampunk aesthetic—is that it flips a tired convention entirely on its head. It takes something questionable and makes it something awesome.

In modern day, the idea of a finishing school for girls is a bit much: an institution meant to train young women to be “proper enough” for polite society. Instead, the school is a training ground for strong and smart spies: the exact opposite of the "docile and obedient” it seems to train. 

I love it when old tropes are subverted to make something newer and better and when opposites (like light/dark and sweet/sinister) are combined. Dangerous Spies armed with manners and the utmost civility? What’s cooler than that?

By Gail Carriger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Etiquette & Espionage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners-and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might…


Book cover of French or Foe?: Getting the Most Out of Visiting, Living and Working in France

Julie Barlow Author Of The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed

From my list on understanding the French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books about France and the French for two decades. The adventure began when I moved to Quebec in my early 20s and married a Quebecker. He became my life partner and co-author. I learned his language, immersed myself in Canada’s French-language culture and began writing articles in French. In 1999 we moved to France for three years to study the French. Three books later, we returned to Paris with our daughters to try to demystify French conversation. The result is The Bonjour Effect. I am grateful to the authors on my list for helping me refine my understanding of France, the French and their language. 

Julie's book list on understanding the French

Julie Barlow Why did Julie love this book?

Polly Platt was the first author to write about the frustrating features of French in a way that would help foreigners deal with them. In this classic, first published in 1994, she delves into their intense relationship to food, explains how to handle rudeness in stores, how to deal with the French bureaucracy, how their idea of time can drive foreigners crazy and much more. Platt’s observations were eye-opening for me when I first moved to France and are still relevant 25 years later. 

By Polly Platt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked French or Foe? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Designed primarily for people who will be living or working in France for extended periods, offers lessons on French manners, attitudes, and culture.


Book cover of Slovenia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

From my list on books about Slovenia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Why did Sam love this book?

Though I'd seen this book advertised, it took a recommendation from a Slovenian to make me read it. And I'm glad I did. Blake, a Canadian author who's lived in Slovenia for many years, has done an excellent job documenting what makes Slovenians–Slovene. 

It's an informative and frequently funny look at the country and its people. I found myself chuckling at many of the behaviors Blake notes that I had personally experienced myself.

With its undercurrent of dry humor and its overview of the people, this is a must-have book for anyone interested in understanding Slovenians.

By Jason Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slovenia - Culture Smart! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Culture Smart guides help travellers have a more meaningful and successful time abroad through a better understanding of the local culture. Chapters on values, attitudes, customs, and daily life will help you make the most of your visit, while tips on etiquette and communication will help you navigate unfamiliar situations and avoid faux pas.


Book cover of Lester's Dreadful Sweaters

Tatyana Feeney Author Of Little Owl's Orange Scarf

From my list on for those who love yarn and knitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved making things with paper, fabric, or through drawing. I was taught needlepoint and crochet by my grandmother when I was young. Unfortunately, I didn’t practice this much and don’t really know how anymore. As I got older, I wanted to learn how to knit and do a bit more than basic sewing by hand. I am still learning, and I love seeing how people create using fabric and yarn. This has crept into books I write and illustrate and also the books I like reading!

Tatyana's book list on for those who love yarn and knitting

Tatyana Feeney Why did Tatyana love this book?

What happens when an unknown and unexpected relative comes to visit? 

Lester is a unique character who is visited by his equally unique Cousin Clara. Cousin Clara seems perfectly fine until Lester discovers how good she is at knitting dreadful sweaters.

After a series of unfortunate events befall the itchy creations, Lester and Clara discover there is a place for everyone (and every dreadful sweater).

I enjoyed the story, which I am sure many can relate to, and the illustrations (also by KG Campbell) are hilarious. A great story about dealing with unwanted gifts!

By K.G. Campbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lester's Dreadful Sweaters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fastidious fellow, Lester likes everything just so. So when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.


Book cover of The Sour Grape

Mary Angus Author Of Max's Fuzzy Feelers

From my list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an illustrator who has been captivated by the whimsy of children’s books since I was a child myself. The wonder and enchantment with the world of narrative illustrative has never worn off and I still love getting lost in a beautiful picture book. I hope my illustrations are able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. 

Mary's book list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one

Mary Angus Why did Mary love this book?

If you are a parent on the search for children’s books, I’m sure you have already come across Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s Food Group Series. I can’t help but to include The Sour Grape, the newest edition to the series, in this list. Their entire series has been so well written and illustrated, turning common colloquialisms into clever characters and illustrations. The Sour Grape is a beautiful message on empathy and compassion, and why it is important to see things from other people’s perspectives. If you have a little one that's always holding a grudge or thinks the world is out to get them, then this one is a must-have!

By Jory John, Pete Oswald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sour Grape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?


The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Don't miss the sixth picture book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Food Group series that's ripe with humor from Jory John and Pete Oswald!

The Sour Grape holds grudges for every reason under the sun. Lime never returned a scarf they borrowed Grudge! Orange never called back Grudge! But when a friend holds a grudge against the Sour Grape without listening to an explanation, the Sour Grape realizes how unfair grudges can be. Could a bunch of forgiveness and compassion be enough to turn a sour grape sweet

Jory John and…


Book cover of Culture Shock! France: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

Janet Hulstrand Author Of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You

From my list on understanding and appreciating the French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with France and the French as a child, and over the past 40 years I have spent as much time as I can here. I’ve been fortunate to be able to combine my dual passions—for France and for literature—in creating a series of classes for CUNY study abroad programs and for the Politics & Prose bookstore. Through this work, over the past 20+ years I have spent much of my time reading and teaching works of literature that explore France and the French people in depth. I now live in France, and I continue to find the French endlessly fascinating. I think I always will. 

Janet's book list on understanding and appreciating the French

Janet Hulstrand Why did Janet love this book?

This is one of the best books I know for covering a huge amount of material in a compact, reader-friendly, yet very thorough form. The author provides insightful perspective on French history, psychology, culture, cuisine, language, and habits, and offers particularly helpful advice about how to recover from the inevitable moments of cultural awkwardness. Although some of the practical information is outdated, the general insights into and analysis of French people and their culture will never go out of date. I think it’s well worth reading for anyone who has an interest in France and the French that goes beyond the surface; anyone who has a genuine interest in understanding this fascinating people and culture. 

By Sally Adamson Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Culture Shock! France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CultureShock! France peels away the layers of the French and their country to reveal the heart of the Gallic temperament. The book navigates through essential topics such as learning the French language, how best to work with the French, observing their body language and even how to choose wine in a restaurant. Glean practical advice on finding a home, getting the utilities running and putting the children into school. Find out more about the French, a complex people who maintain a cool composure on the outside yet are inwardly passionate about art, romance, cuisine and wine. Discover how easily the…


Book cover of Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners

Constance Lombardo Author Of Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork

From my list on hysterically funny picture books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked with kids in preschools and elementary schools, (plus I’m a mom!) and to me, nothing is better than hearing kids laugh. I also just adore picture books and treasure my personal library, with its focus on (you guessed it!) humor. Sassy cats, bears who want to have kids for pets, chickens who interrupt, alphabets overrun by frustrated Zebras, picture books bravely go where other books might only tiptoe in a cowardly fashion—into the world of wild imagination and anthropomorphized everything. With amazing artwork!! Let’s be honest, I’ll choose funny picture books over War and Peace every time.

Constance's book list on hysterically funny picture books

Constance Lombardo Why did Constance love this book?

New neighbors have moved into the forest—they’re otters, and this news has thrown rabbit into a tizzy. But Owl volunteers to help by going over some basic manners! With lines like “It simply means treat otters the same way you’d like otters to treat you,” this book is certifiably hysterical. Keller has a way of making every moment a source of humor- with diagrams, speech bubbles, and lively illustrations that have a wonderfully retro feel. Extra points for lots of puns (one of the Otters is reading Harry Otter!) Plus it turns out Otter can say please in five languages! Looks like everything’s gonna be okay. 

By Laurie Keller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do Unto Otters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."—Socrates (the Greek philosopher), circa 470-399 B.C.

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about Otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises wise Mr. Owl. And so begins Mr. Rabbit's reflection on good manners.

In her smart, quirky style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor—just follow the Golden Rule! This title has Common Core connections.

A Junior Library Guild Selection…