Book Review: "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?After hearing so many good things about "bucket filling" books I had to try them out for myself.  I recently got "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" and "Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child"

About "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
The concept of "bucket filling" in "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" is quite simple.  Everyone has an invisible bucket with them at all times. When our bucket is full we feel happy, when our bucket is empty we feel pretty bad. "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" explains many specific ways to fill a bucket and many specific ways a bucket can be emptied. Our invisible bucket can be filled by kindness and caring or emptied by negativity and meanness.

One of the ways a bucket can be emptied is by "bucket dippers." "Bucket dippers" are bullies who try to empty other people's buckets in an attempt to fill their own. What "bucket dippers" do not understand is that you cannot fill your own bucket by emptying another person's bucket! When a bucket is dipped from, both the dipper and the dippee have empty buckets!  Luckily, buckets can be filled again after a "bucket dipping" situation by kindness and caring.

Why I like "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
As a middle school counselor, I am constantly trying to find books that discuss bullying in a kid-friendly language and with which students can connect.  "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" definitely meets my criteria! Although this book is aimed at children younger than middle school age, the concept of the book defies age.  I often read books geared toward younger elementary school students to middle school students. They enjoy being read to and if a book is written well and has a purposeful message even adults enjoy it.

I have also shared this book with my mother who is a 5th grade teacher. She thought the book was really cute and would be a great one to share with her class.

With the holidays coming up, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" would also make a great gift for a school counselor! ;)

How I will use "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
I plan to use "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" with students in individual, group, and classroom settings. Although "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" is geared toward early elementary, I will primarily use this book for 5th and 6th grade.

"Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" is a great conversation starter for students about bullying, how to stand up to bullying, and how to support the victim. When I facilitate classroom lessons, small groups, and even in sessions with individual students about the topic of bullying, I have students come up with ways to be a positive bystander. "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" will allow me to explain to students in a visual way about how doing nothing supports the "bucket dipper" and can empty your own bucket too!

I would also like to introduce this book to teachers and other school staff at a professional development session. I would like to incorporate the book into our School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support plan (SWPBIS).  The common language of "bucket filling" and "bucket dipping" would be great to use throughout the school!

Other resources
There is a new "bucket filling" book coming out November 15th geared toward older elementary students, "Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life."

If you are looking for a book geared toward younger elementary/early childhood, check out "Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child."

Also, check out Bucket Fillers for free resources and ideas to use with "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" "Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child," and "Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life." Bucket Fillers also has a free newsletter!

How will you use "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" at your school? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. If you dig bucket filling - you'll also want 'How Full is Your Bucket for Kids' by Tom Rath. IT IS EXCELLENT!

  2. Great pun! I requested "How Full is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath on Donor's Choose, so once my project gets funded I can't wait to use it. I read your review of it and it sounds great!

  3. Hi Danielle,
    We use the bucket filling philosophy at my school! I am a school counselor at a K-5 Elementary school in NC. At the beginning of the year each classroom reads one of the bucket filling books to thier class. We are always using the language of being a bucket filler not a bucket dipper. We have extended this to our staff as well and we have a way to fill out slips to give to one another in order to "Fill staff Buckets". Parents are aware of this philpsophy and use that same language at home with their children. It is amazing when you hear the students using this language of Bucket filler/Bucket dipper to work through peer issues. I think using this gives the children a real visual and helps them to understand what complements and put downs actually do to a person. My daily character tips on the morning news are always reminding students how to be a bucket filler. The teacher have really bought into the idea!! It is a great way for young students to understand the power of words and actions and the effect they have on others!!

  4. Arika,
    Thanks for sharing how you incorporate the bucket filling philosophy at your school! I love the idea of filling staff's buckets! That is awesome that that everyone in the school uses the same language! Your comment filled my bucket! ;)
    Happy bucket filling!


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