Choose Civility

As a customer-owned cooperative, SMECO is proud to be a community partner for Choose Civility for Southern Maryland. The Diversity Institute at the College of Southern Maryland has launched Choose Civility in our community to promote respect, consideration, empathy, and tolerance.


Listen to civility advocate Dr. P.M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University discuss rude behavior.

Help Your Family Be Civil

Try these reading suggestions from the College of Southern Maryland and the Charles County Public Library.

Book List for Teens

  • Nothing But the Truth by Avi
  • The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
  • The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillstead Butler
  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  • Operation Yes by Sara Holmes
  • The Misfits by James Howe
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Pop by Gordon Korman
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
  • The Contender by Robert Lipsyte
  • True Legend by Mike Lupica
  • All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Bystander by James Preller
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblickh
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  • Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Story
  • Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  • Black and White by Paul Volponi
  • Who Moved My Cheese? For Teens: An Amazing Way to Change and Win! by Spencer Johnson
  • Soul Searching: A Girl’s Guide to Finding Herself by Alex J. Packer
  • Giving: How Each of Us can Change the World by Bill Clinton
  • Manners Made Easy for Teens: 10 Steps to a Life of Confidence, Poise and Respect by June Hines Moore
  • Teen Manners: From Malls to Meals to Messaging and Beyond by Cindy Post Senning
  • Just Don’t Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made It Down the Mountain by Josh Sundquist

Book List for Adults

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleaver
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
  • Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
  • Three Junes by Julia Glass
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
  • Just Too Good to be True by E. Lynn Harris
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
  • The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Book List for Children – Easy Picture Books

  • Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry by Samantha Berger
  • Will You Be My Friend? by Peter Brown
  • The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
  • Henry and the Bully by Nancy Carlson
  • The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool
  • Pinky and Rex and the Bully by Jame Howe
  • Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! By Grace Lin
  • Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • Boss of the World by Fran Manushkin
  • Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
  • My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
  • A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems
  • I Repeat, Don’t Cheat by Margery Cuyler
  • Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
  • Empty Pot by Demi
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • Boy Who Cried Wolf by B. G. Hennessy
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • Teacher! Sharing, Helping, Caring by Patricia Hubbell
  • Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael Kaplan
  • Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller
  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
  • Learning to Get Along series by Cheri Meiners
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • One by Kathryn Otoshi
  • It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
  • The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
  • Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos
  • The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • Cookies: Bite-size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein
  • The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens
  • The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope
  • Hands Off, Harry! by Rosemary Wells
  • How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen

Book List for Children – Fiction

  • Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • On My Honor by Marion Bauer
  • Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
  • Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Above Average by Andrew Clements
  • Jake by Audrey Couloumbis
  • Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
  • Nikki & Deja: Election Madness by Karen English
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean C. George
  • The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff
  • Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
  • Owen Foote, Super Spy by Stephanie Greene
  • Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash by Jacqueline Jules
  • Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and other Scary Things series by Lenore Look
  • Rules by Cynthia Lord
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Mathis
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Marvin Redpost: Alone in His Teacher’s House by Louis Sachar
  • EllRay Jakes is Not a Chicken! by Sally Warner
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Read More

Dr. Forni co-founded the Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins to boost the significance of civility, manners, and politeness in contemporary society. His books are available below.

Why Choose Civility?

“When we treat others with kindness and consideration, we show them that we value them as persons. This motivates them to remain in our lives, and as a result we continue to enjoy the rewards of connecting. Until three or four generations ago, a large amount of the support we needed came from our extended families. Today, as we often turn to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers for support and care, being likable can be a substantial advantage. An elementary but powerful truth to always keep in mind is that social skills strengthen social bonds. Social skills are thus an invaluable quality-of-life asset—in fact, they are nothing less than determinants of destiny.”

P.M. Forni, “The Other Side of Civility”