At Colorado Academy, we strive, through interpersonal relationships, curriculum, and modeling, to teach students the Six C’s of 21st Century Skills. What are the Six C’s? The Six C’s are made up of Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Cultural Competence, and Character Development. Why are they important? We believe that the 6 C’s will help our students build a strong character and allow them to be better prepared to participate in and adapt to any environment, whether it’s personal or professional. By encouraging the development of these qualities, we hope our students will be inspired to become more engaged members in their communities.

Like so many life skills, a great way to introduce these educational priorities is through children’s literature. Below, we’ve recommended books for you to share with your children to illustrate each C. Visit the Lower School Library and check them out:

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers: Henry loves books so much that he begins to eat them, really eat them. At first this is great, because he absorbs the information inside the books that he eats. Then he eats so many that all his facts become very mixed up. What will Oliver do?

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser: The Vanderbeekers have always lived in a brownstone on 141st Street in Harlem. When their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, refuses to renew their lease, the five children are horrified. Wild, crazy, and out-of-the-box problem-solving strategies ensue, with lots of failures.  Will they succeed in convincing Mr. Biederman to let them stay?


Hello! Hello! by Matthew Cordell: A young girl looks for ways to communicate with her device-obsessed family, without using a device.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar: Ruthie’s family recently moved to America from Cuba, and she is finally starting to feel at home in her new country. That changes when Ruthie’s family is in a car accident. Ruthie is seriously injured, then sent to bed in a body cast, for several months. Her lifeline to the world during this difficult time? The many visitors that come to read, create art, play games, and just talk—all which help her feel less alone than she has in a long time.  


Tinyville Town Gets to Work by Brian Briggs: When there is a traffic jam on Tinyville’s one bridge, community members work together to build a new bridge.

The Creativity Project by Colby Sharp: An experiment in collaboration. Forty-four creators respond in writing or with art (or both) to a creative prompt provided by a co-contributor. Read short stories, poems, cartoons and be amazed by the work of each collaborative team.


Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy: Based on the true story of the San Diego Urban Art Trail, learn how Mira and her neighbors transform their neighborhood with color.

The First Rule of Punk by Célia C. Perez: Malú is a self-proclaimed punk rocking girl who is developing her own style, creating Zines (“self published booklets, like homemade magazines”), and trying to fit in at her new middle school in Chicago.  When Malú gets sent out of class for a dress code violation, things take a surprising turn for the good. She forms a punk rock band!

Cultural Competence

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien: Three immigrant students from three different countries have trouble adjusting at the beginning of the school year. With the help of their teachers and classmates, they become more confident at school and comfortable in their new community.

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynold Naylor: Ivy June’s family’s house is so crowded that she has to live with her grandparents in the poorest part of Kentucky. Catherine’s family lives in Lexington in a big, beautiful home with space for everyone and guests. When the two girls are paired on an exchange program, they find that they have very little in common, yet over time, they find that on the inside, they are more alike than they ever thought.

Character Development

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall: Jabari knows how to swim and he knows how to jump, but jumping off the diving board seems insurmountable. Maybe he just needs to squeeze Dad’s hand, figure out the right jump, and do a few stretches. Then maybe, he’ll be ready to jump.

Restart by Gordon Korman: Chase falls off a roof and loses his memory. As he heals and his memories slowly return, he learns that before his fall he was the biggest bully in his middle school. Who will he choose to be now?

Reading these books can be a fun and engaging way to teach and encourage the qualities that we all want to develop in our young learners. We work with students in every division, in a variety of ways, to establish and expand on these critical skills that will better prepare our students for life and success after CA.