15 Children’s Books that Promote Kindness
In a world full of hatred, hostility, and selfishness, kindness must begin with us! It is true that our actions speak louder than words, but books can reach the heart of children and inspire many conversations and concepts. Please take a look at these 15 children’s books that promote kindness. A changed world can begin with your and your child!
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by “filling buckets.”
We All Sing With the Same Voice by Philip Miller and Shepperd M. Green
The familiar words to this joyful song combine with vibrant illustrations to celebrate the idea that no matter where children live, what they look like, or what they do, they’re all the same where it counts — at heart. “We All Sing with the Same Voice” was aired and continues to be seen on Sesame Street
The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Minna and her classmates have been asked by their teacher, Mrs. Bloom, to work on a Kindness Project. Mrs. Bloom wants them to do and draw and share an act of kindness. Minna and her family do lots of kind things, but Minna can’t decide which one is right for her project. Then she starts writing and drawing and cutting—and an idea for a paper quilt picturing many acts of kindness begins to take shape!
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she’s got a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach a new golden rule: KINDNESS IS COOL!
Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom! From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference.
Count along with Mrs. Ruler’s class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
Those Shoes by Meribeth Boelts
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Can one child’s good deed change the world?
It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others―one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage―one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people―including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries―and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.
It’s a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. This story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually, Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
This story will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down because of its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art.
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
Everyone’s favorite elephant returns in this timeless, moving, and comical classic in which we discover that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” Thanks to the irrepressible rhymes and eye-catching illustrations, young readers will learn kindness and perseverance (as well as the importance of a good “Yopp”) from the very determined—and very endearing—Horton the elephant.
The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Nikolai knows that he wants to be the best person he can be, but often he is unsure if he is doing the right thing. So he goes to ask Leo, the wise turtle. When he arrives, the turtle is struggling to dig in his garden, and Nikolai rushes to help him. As he finishes work, a violent storm rolls in. Nikolai runs for Leo’s cottage, but on his way, he hears cries for help from an injured panda. Nikolai brings her in from the cold, and then rushes back outside to rescue her baby too.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
It was the perfect summer. That is until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Who knew that cakes were so rude?! In this deliciously entertaining book, a not-so-sweet cake—who never says please or thank you or listens to its parents—gets its just desserts. Mixing hilarious text and pictures, Rowboat Watkins, a former Sendak fellow, has cooked up a laugh-out- loud story that can also be served up as a delectable discussion starter about manners or bullying, as it sweetly reminds us all that even the rudest cake can learn to change its ways.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
“Little one, / whoever you are, / wherever you are, / there are little ones / just like you / all over the world.” So begins the Australian author Mem Fox’s joyful picture book Whoever You Are, a celebration of the world’s diverse cultures, both our similarities and differences. Leslie Straub’s innovative, colorful, folk art–style oil paintings of children from all corners of the globe are bordered with photographs of hand-carved, bejeweled frames—and they all reflect Fox’s message that no matter where we come from, within our hearts “Joys are the same, / and love is the same. / Pain is the same, / and blood is the same.”