Inside: Kids books about kindness are some of the best tools to cultivate compassion in kids. Here are fifty of our very favorites, by a diverse selection of authors and illustrators. Enjoy!
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The Best Kids Books About Kindness
There are days I sit back and watch my kids go about their afternoons, and I can’t help but smile. My six year old can always be found dribbling a ball around the patio, and my five year old is inevitably on his guitar, plucking the strings and singing a song from Moana or one of the catchy Shabbat tunes he sings in school.
I’m always intrigued by the fact that I have so little choice in what hobbies they enjoy and what activities really spark their interest. After all, I can’t play sports to save my life, and though I love music, I never had interest in playing an instrument.
I find it wildly fascinating then, that though I’ve no real influence when it comes to their interests, who they will become as men has so much to do with where they come from: with me, their dad, and all of their extended family.
What do I want my boys to be when they grow up? There’s a simple answer: kind and compassionate individuals.
While we may not be able to determine whether our kids will love practicing their jump shots or playing guitar before an enthusiastic audience, we have the ability to foster compassion in our children. The values we instill in them, the behavior we model, and the respect we show for others is integral to cultivating kindness in our sons, daughters and students.
I get that it’s not always easy. After all, being kind is undoubtedly a skill that must be mastered. But there are many simple ways we can encourage kindness in our kids. One of my favorites? To read kids books about kindness.
Kids books about kindness help children understand the importance of having kind hands, kind words, and kind hearts.
One way we shine a light on having kind words, kind hands and kind hearts in our house is by reading kids books about kindness.
There are so many phenomenal kids books about kindness today that you can easily find a story, or a whole library of stories, to share with your kids throughout your days and weeks. Whether it’s helping someone in the community, sharing with a classmate, or knitting a hat for a friend to keep warm during a blizzard, books showcase the magic that happens when we spread kindness through selfless, thoughtful gestures with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
Kids books about kindness give us easy ways to discuss kind and gracious gestures, which we can then recreate with our little ones after reading particular stories. They allow us to see how even the smallest actions can have ripple effects which bring positivity and light to our communities.
RELATED: We’ve got all of the best children’s books for you on Happily Ever Elephants, so make sure to check ’em out!
Kids books about kindness give us organic ways to spark significant conversations with our children – conversations about how easy it is to be nice and how important it is to be respectful of everyone, no matter what, no matter when.
These books are lifeboats, heart maps, and tools for valuable transformation.
Here are our very favorites.
WE’VE GOT ALL THE LOVE FOR STORIES ABOUT KINDNESS AND EMPATHY OVER HERE. IN FACT, WE DEDICATED A WHOLE WEEK TO THESE TRAITS IN PARADE! FAMILY BOOK CLUB, OUR 8-WEEK, SELF PACED PROGRAM DEVOTED TO NURTURING SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS IN YOUR KIDS. GET THE DETAILS HERE!
The Best Kids Books About Kindness to Help You Cultivate Compassion in Children
Lubna and Pebble, by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Egneus: Lubna’s best friend and confidante is a small pebble, found the night she landed in a World of Tents with her father. But when a little boy arrives to the World of Tents, lost and cold, Lubna introduces the boy to Pebble, and the two become friends in their new, uncertain world. When Lubna learns she and her father have found a real home and will be leaving the World of Tents, Lubna knows she has the most perfect gift to leave with the boy. Stunning, poignant, and moving, this has become an all time favorite book. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Lubna and Pebble, click here!
The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld: Something bad has happened to Taylor: she cannot get over her devastation when a tower she worked so hard to construct crashes to the ground. Her friends try to help. They offer suggestions and unsolicited advice, trying everything in the books to get her to calm down. But only when the rabbit sits and listens — just listens, quietly and calmly and with compassion — does she begin to feel better. How I love this one! This is a favorite picture book highlighting the ever important quality of listening and not trying to “fix” things. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Thank you, Omu!, by Oge Mora: In this beautiful debut, certain to become a classic, Omu makes a delicious red stew and its delectable scent travels all over the neighborhood. As one neighbor after another visits Omu to ask for a bowl of stew, Omu generously shares with all. But when she goes to make her own dinner, she realizes there is no stew left for her! Whatever will she do? This is a gorgeous story founded in Nigerian culture, highlighting generosity, selflessness and paying it forward. I am head over heels in love. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Thank You, Omu! click here!
Kindness Makes us Strong, by Sophie Beer: In this beautiful follow up to the fabulous Love Makes a Family, our youngest children celebrate all of the ways we can show kindness, both big and small. From sharing a friendly hello, to helping others, to treating, trading and sharing, kindness strengthens each and every one of us — and our communities, too. A perfect introduction to acts of kindness for your littlest kids! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet: A stunning, wordless exploration of the harmful act of bullying, and how one simple act of kindness by an upstander can be a change agent for the entire community. I absolutely love letting children ponder these pictures and tell their own stories. The “plots” they come up with are intriguing and insightful – and their words will give you such a significant glimpse into their minds and hearts. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
I Am Love: A Book of Compassion, by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds: In this stunning new edition to the wildly popular “I Am” series, readers are asked to look inward, to recognize that each and every one of us are love. We are compassionate, we can each act with kindness and tenderness, and we can let our hearts guide us to being good people working towards a better world. We can help others through stormy seas by asking ourselves how we may be able to let the light back in, and we can also listen to our own hearts to find our inner strength, courage and self worth. This book is a gem, and I can’t rave about it enough! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Lala’s Words, by Gracey Zhang: Sweet little Lala can be found carrying a pot of water around the corner from her home to a patch of dirt where tiny weeds sprout. “Hello, hello friends,” she says to the patch. She waters the plants and weeds every day, and she never stops whispering kind words to the them as well, making them nod and sway under her tender care. Though her mom tries to keep Lala from playing with weeds and dirt, Lala continues encouraging her plants, even whispering to them from her window when her mother makes her stay inside. Soon the plants go strong and tall, shading and nourisihing the neighborhood. We love the way Lala’s kind words nourish not just the plants, but her community as well. A beautiful and touching story that showcases the power of kindness through a lovely metaphor. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Every Little Kindness, by Marta Bartolj: I will forever champion beautiful stories that showcase how one act of kindness can begin a chain reaction, creating something bigger and brighter than ever anticipated. So it is with this lovely wordless picture book, celebrating how one good deed sparks a chain of generosity. As a young girl searches for her lost dog, she sees first hand how little acts of kindness turn strangers into community and somber moments into meaningful expressions of joy. With its intricate illustrations and color palette utilizing pops of red to highlight kind actions, this story will stick with you long after the final page, with art that settles into your heart and reminds you of the power of paying it forward. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Wolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell: This nearly wordless picture book is such a beauty, and I can’t get over the emotion that is conveyed in every one of Matthew Cordell’s stunning illustrations. When both a little girl and a wolf cub get lost in the snow, the child braves the elements to return the cub to its pack. Wolf in the Snow is the perfect hero’s journey for those of you new to wordless stories. It is easy to interpret yet so richly evocative — and captivatingly beautiful. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
What is Given from the Heart, by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison: James Otis and his Mama don’t have much, but they have their health and strength, so Mama says they are blessed. One Sunday, their reverend makes an announcement that a new family at their church has lost everything in a fire, and everyone will make a Love Box to help them in their time of need. James Otis wonders hard – what should he give that the family will like? He comes up with an idea from the heart, but will it be enough? Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of What is Given from the Heart, click here!
The Invisible Boy, by Trudi Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton: Brian is never seen or noticed by his classmates. He has no friends, and thus appears in the story devoid of color, making him invisible at school. Eventually a new child winds up in Brian’s class and Brian is the first to reach out to him. When a bond forms between the two boys and they are teamed up to work on a class project, Brian finds a way to step out of the shadows and flourish. Not only does he make a new friend, but Barton’s illustrations show how small acts of kindness fill Brian up with color until he is, quite literally, a vibrant force in his classroom. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of The Invisible Boy, click here!
Be Kind, by Pat Zeitlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill: Tanesha spills grape juice all over her new dress, and a classmate searches for just the right way to make her feel better. I love the way this sweet, simple story walks through actions any child can take to spread kindness throughout their classrooms and communities. Even small acts of kindness have big impacts and go a long way towards building friendships and connections. A stunning children’s picture book about friendship and kindness! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Be Kind, click here!
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis: Jacqueline Woodson is brilliant, and everything she writes turns to gold. This story packs a powerful punch and is especially fabulous for older elementary students. Chloe and her crew won’t play with the new girl in school, casting Maya aside every time she tries to make friends. One day, Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher speaks to the class about how even small acts of kindness can have powerful effects, Chloe is remorseful for her actions. This is a must have for every classroom and home, sending an anti-bullying message that is as compelling as it is critical. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Most People, by Michael Leannah and Jennifer E. Morris: The world can be big and scary, with some people that don’t make the best choices. But most people smile, and most people laugh… and most people are inherently good. I love the way this multicultural children’s picture book showcases all forms of goodness, from the big tattooed man helping an elderly woman cross the street, to a “goth” looking teenager returning a lost wallet to its owner. This is a gem, and one I love having on my shelves to turn to during tough times. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Pandora, by Victoria Turnbull: If you love quiet, gentle stories that will tug just a little at your heart strings and stay with you long after the final page is closed, you must check out Pandora. A meditative story on the power of connection to heal our loneliest days, Pandora is a story to treasure and pull out on days when your children need to be reminded of the power of love. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Kindness Grows, by Britta Teckentrup: In this beautiful peek-through picture book, an innovative visual design depicts just what happens when kindness is shown to those around us. It can heal angry words, calm disagreements, and create magic and beauty where none previously existed. Kindness heals, and this book is a perfect antidote to mean words and poor behaviors. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Grandmother Thorn, by Katey Howes and illustrated by Rebecca Hahn: Accepting imperfection is not an easy task for many adults, much less many children. Yet Grandmother Thorn powerfully conveys the message that beauty can be found where we least expect it– or want it– when we learn to let go of our stubborn ways. The story reads as if it’s a time-tested classic or an age-old folk tale, with rich characters, lush prose and not a word out of place, sparking important discussions on the meaning of perfection, friendship and embracing fear. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Good People Everywhere, by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristina Swarner: When the news is tough or a troubling situation occurs in your town, this is a powerful book to remind children that good people truly are everywhere. There are always people helping others during troubled times, there are always people willing to extend a hand, and there are always people who are kind and good. Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle story to remind children of this important message, and this book does just that! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Samson in the Snow, by Philip Stead: Samson, a giant woolly mammoth, shares his dandelions with a red bird who is looking to cheer up a sad friend. When the bird flies away, Samson is left wondering what it would be like to have a real friend of his own. Samson subsequently awakens from a deep sleep, only to find the world covered in snow. He immediately worries about the red bird, so he sets off to find her to ensure she’s warm. As Samson journeys through the snow, he finds that warmth can be found in more ways than one. A testament to compassion, kindness and friendship, we simply love this quiet, beautiful story! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka: If you love the idea of random acts of kindness, you will love this delightful book! On her way home from her ordinary school, ordinary Mary is on her way to her ordinary house and stumbles upon a bush of ordinary blueberries. Mary decides to pick them for her neighbor, and what results is a chain reaction of kindness that takes the world by storm! This one is so beautiful for the way it conveys that one good deed can truly be a catalyst for the most positive and important type of change. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Lion and the Bird, by Marianne Dubuc: When a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden, the lion gently takes him in and cares for him because the bird’s flock has flown away. The two animals become fast friends, so when the bird departs with his flock the following autumn, the lion is heartbroken. This is such a tender portrayal of friendship and loyalty, with stunning illustrations to boot. The combination of simple text and exquisite pictures make this story sing — and resonate deeply. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Jones: Jeremy wants nothing more than the same pair of shoes that the rest of the kids at school wear. But, according to his grandma, Jeremy’s “wants” are not nearly as important as his “needs.” This is such a special story, one I read to my students every year around Thanksgiving because it masterfully sparks a discussion about wants and needs, as well as the fulfillment that can be found in helping others. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Those Shoes, click here!
Be a Friend, by Salina Yoon: In this sweet story we are introduced to a young mime, who never uses words to convey his emotions. He goes through his days in solitude until he is befriended by a little girl who catches his make-believe ball. The beauty of this story lies in the fact that Dennis’s new friend never attempts to make Dennis speak. Instead, the readers see that their newfound friendship transcends words, and we can easily find ways to accept one another — both for our similarities and our differences. This is hands down one of our very favorite children’s picture books about friendship! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Be a Friend, click here!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead: Amos, a zookeeper, spends time everyday with all of the animas at the zoo. He delights in being a friend to each of them, and he is sensitive to their unique needs. When Amos wakes up one morning too sick to get to the zoo, Amos’s friends decide it may just be time they return the favor. This is single-handedly one of the best children’s picture books about friendship to teach little ones about empathy and compassion. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, click here!
The Farmer and the Clown, by Marla Frazee: The story begins when the Farmer, working in his fields, is startled by something catapulted out of a passing train. The Farmer is even more startled when he discovers this “something” is a child – all alone – dressed in full clown costume complete with a happy, made-up face. What follows is a spellbinding tale of the Farmer’s rescue of the clown and an unexpected friendship between these two superbly drawn characters; it is a remarkable exploration of loneliness and companionship. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Maybe Tomorrow?, by Charlotte Agell and illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez: Elba, a pink hippo, has been dragging around a great big block for a long time, and it greatly limits her potential. Norris, on the other hand, doesn’t drag but instead happily dances wherever he goes, surrounded by a cloud of butterflies. Norris tries to convince Elba to join him on his adventures, but the block often gets in Elba’s way. Norris never gives up though, patiently and compassionately cajoling Elba to join him, all the while following her lead and helping her manage her block. Eventually, Elba’s block becomes smaller. This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful books about grief and kindness I have ever read! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Maybe Tomorrow?, click here!
A Home for Bird by Philip Stead: The story begins with an important illustration that clues the reader in to much about the title character’s journey: Bird is pictured being catapulted out of a cuckoo clock that is packed into the back of an overloaded truck. Bird is quickly found by Vernon, a curious toad, who comes to realize that the quiet Bird must miss his home. Thus begins Vernon’s journey to find the place Bird calls home; Vernon believes Bird will only speak up when they get there, and he does everything in his power, without expecting anything in return, to get Bird to that place where he belongs. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
My Two Blankets, by Irena Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood: In this gorgeous story, a girl called Cartwheel moves to a new country with her auntie, and in her new surroundings, everything is strange. Only a metaphorical blanket brings her comfort, until the day that she meets a new girl and the two embark on a friendship that begins with a smile. This story not only sheds a much-needed light on the refugee experience, but it reminds us that fear of “others” can dissipate so quickly by simply opening our hearts and minds. It can start with a smile, or even just a simple hello. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of My Two Blankets, click here!
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, by Michelle Edwards and illustrated by G. Brian Karas: Mrs. Goldman knits hats for everyone in their neighborhood to help them stay warm during the harsh winter. But what happens when Sophia realizes that Mrs. Goldman is so busy knitting for everyone else and she has no hat of her own to wear? Sophia takes it upon herself to make Mrs. Goldman the perfect hat, and this simple act makes this a Happily Ever Elephants favorite picture book about friendship! I absolutely love this story of selflessness! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson: As a boy and his grandmother ride the bus one afternoon, the boy continually asks his grandma about various luxuries he sees others enjoying that he and his family do not have. His grandmother opens the boy’s eyes to all of the ways in which they are rich, even though they may not have the particular possessions the boy so admires. When their bus ride ends, the reader learns grandmother and grandchild are going to volunteer at a soup kitchen. We love how this story shows that no matter where you fit in your neighborhood, we can each find meaningful ways to give back. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
My Friend is Sad, by Mo Willems: Each book in the Elephant and Piggie series is just fantastic, and we especially love how this one shows Piggie doing everything he can to cheer up his friend Gerald… but in disguise. What does Gerald truly need? Even though Piggie’s antics were pretty perfect, all Gerald wanted was his best friend’s company so the two could share the laughs together. So sweet, and so humorous! I especially love how this book distills a more complicated concept into bite size chunks even toddlers can understand. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Hooray for Hat!, by Brian Won: This is a darling friendship story for your littlest readers! The story begins as an elephant wakes up and feels awfully grumpy. Alas, a present outside his door reveals a fun new hat, and it brightens elephant’s mood considerably. What follows is an intro to several more grumpy animals, each in turn made happier when elephant and the others share the hat. This book perfectly illustrates the concept of paying it forward, teaching even the youngest readers that their simple actions can brighten the world around them. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Hooray for Hat! click here!
Maybe Something Beautiful, by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell: This delightful book tells the story of young Mira, a girl who believes that just a little splash of color can make a big, big difference in her otherwise dreary community. Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, Mira shows us how even kids can accomplish great things – including transformation. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
I am Human, by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter Reynolds: This is the most beautiful book to remind us that we are all human, all works in progress. Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we even hurt others — but we can always improve and better ourselves through good choices, thoughtfulness and kind actions. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Bagel King, by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Sandy Nichols: Who else thinks bagels are the best thing about Sunday mornings? Every Sunday morning, Eli could count on his Zaida bringing bagels from Merv’s bakery. But one Sunday, Zaida didn’t come. He had a big fall! When Zaida is told he must stay in bed for two weeks, Eli discovers there may be something he can do to keep the weekly bagel tradition alive! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
A Chair for My Mother, by Vera M. Williams: After their home is a destroyed by a fire, Rosa and her family save coins in a big jar. What are they saving up for? A big, comfortable chair so the family can relax after their respective long days. This story is poignant and so beautifully conveys one spirited family’s will to persevere after a tragedy as well as the gratitude they display to those around them, even when their own losses were devastating. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Maddi’s Fridge, by Lois Brandt and illustrated by Vin Vogel: This sweet story provides an important look at childhood hunger in a manner so readily understandable for young kids. I always read this with my elementary students, and it prompts great discussions not just about how important it is to help others in need, but also how to handle a situation when a friend makes you promise to keep a secret that causes you to worry about his or her well-being. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse, by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken: Adrian Simcox tells his classmates he has a horse – the best and most beautiful horse in all the world. But Chloe knows Adrian is lying. After all, Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house and has holes in his shoes, so there’s no way he has a horse in his backyard. The more Adrian talks about this beautiful horse, the angrier Chloe gets… and the more she wants to prove him wrong. Will vindication give Chloe the satisfaction she so desires? This is one of our very favorite children’s books about empathy! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse, click here!
Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo: A little boy and his pet elephant are banned from the local Pet Club Day meeting via a crude sign hanging on the door: Strictly No Elephants. When the boy meets another child who has also been turned away from the club with her pet skunk, the two decide to make a club of their own. They go to the park, draw up a sign, and open their gathering to all, inviting everyone — no matter what kind of animals they choose as pets — via the most beautiful sign. What does it say? Three simple words: “All are welcome.” Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here! For our full review of Strictly No Elephants, click here!
How to Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham: In a busy, bustling world, only one little boy notices a small, injured bird lying on the ground. The boy does what no one else stopped to do — he wraps up the hurt animal and brings it back home to tend to its broken wing. With simple text and evocative pictures, this is the most gentle story showcasing one boy’s mission to save an animal that no one else thought to help. His kindness shines through on every page, and as the boy nurses the bird back to health, readers fall in love with the child’s dedication and compassionate nature. A beauty! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Summer, by Cao Wenxuan and illustrated by Yu Rong: “Come here, little mouse, and rest in my shade.” And so it is that one act of kindness and generosity is a starting point for more — and more and more. We absolutely love the way this lyrical book conveys that disagreements are sure to happen, but when we work together and act with kind hearts and gestures, the whole of us will be better than when we started. With themes of sharing, kindness and selflessness, this book is destined to become a classic! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Digger and the Flower, by Joseph Kuefler: Sometimes tenderness shows up in the most unexpected places, and this is just one of the many reasons we love this sweet book about a digger that does all it can to protect a lone flower. Though this story has important environmental themes, it also brilliantly conveys that a seemingly destructive piece of equipment can act with compassion to protect something smaller and more fragile than itself. Even the toughest among us have hearts of gold — and have no shame in displaying their tenderness! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Plant a Kiss, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter Reynolds: One day, Little Miss plants a kiss. What happens next? If you guessed that this kiss grew bigger and bigger, you guessed correctly. One tiny act can bloom into something dazzling, and this book beautifully conveys that performing selfless acts of love and kindness on our personal journeys can affect the world in ways we least expected, with people impacted by that generous gesture across the waters and around the globe. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam, by Fawzia Gilani-Williams and illustrated by Chiara Fedele: Two women, one Jewish and one Muslim, have been best friends and neighbors despite tensions in their community. Each manages their own date grove, and they share food and cheer. But then times get tough, and what they don’t realize is that each worries tremendously about the others’ welfare and secretly shares food with the other. A beautiful story conveying that true, beautiful friendship can be found even with those we think are the most different from ourselves. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Superbuns! Kindness is her Superpower, by Diane Kredensor: One young bunny wants nothing more than to become a superhero. And what is Superbuns special super power? Kindness, of course. Superbuns’ big sister, Blossom, tries to convince Superbuns that kindness is hardly considered a superpower. But when Superbuns just so happens to save the day with her generosity and compassion, she may prove her sister wrong. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
When Charley Met Emma, by Amy Webb and illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard: Charley heads to the playground and there he meets Emma, a girl in a wheelchair with limb differences. At first, he doesn’t know how to respond to Emma and her physical challenges. But after they begin to talk, he realizes that different isn’t bad, different is just different! And celebrating our differences is pretty great. We love the way this book illuminates kindness and highlights our commonalities, even in the face of what kids see as extreme differences. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Boy and the Giant, by David Litchfield: Did you hear about the secret giant in Gableview? He’s got legs the size of drain pipes and feet the size of rowboats, and everyone in town is terrified of him. But is the giant really real? And if he is real, is he truly as horrible as everyone makes him out to be? When Billy happens upon the giant, he runs away in fear — and ends up hurting the poor giants feelings! Maybe the the giant isn’t really as scary as the townspeople think. We love the way this book challenges the rash judgments we often make based on falsehoods, not facts! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler: What happens when a tiny snail longs to see the world? He hitches a ride on a giant humpback whale who takes him on a wondrous adventure. But one day on their journey, the whale becomes lost and confused, and suddenly, he is beached in the sand. Will the tiny snail ever be able to repay the great whale for its kindness? We love this book that beautifully highlights a small snail’s courage, a giant whale’s kindness, and the way friendships can spring up among the unlikeliest pairs. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
You Hold Me Up, by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel: This book gives me all the feels. It so beautifully conveys to children the power in showing love to those around you, supporting friends and neighbors, and considering the well-being of others. This is a fabulous book to use as a starting point to discuss the power of empathy and the importance of respect, both of which are foundational values we must teach to children right from the get-go. An absolute beauty, and a treasure to boot. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen: In a world where everything is drab and gray, one little girl seeks to add some beauty to her surroundings. She knits one sweater, and then another and another, and her box of yarn is seemingly endless. It seems there’s no limit to her kindness, and the girl’s good deeds evoke some important change around her. But then that yarn gets stolen by an unsavory character, and all are left to wonder whether the crook will benefit from his theft. This understated yet stunning Caldecott Honor book is another gem and shows what happens when you share goodness with the people around you. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
One Green Apple, by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Lewin: Farrah has just arrived from another country and feels like a stranger among her new classmates. But on a field trip to an apple farm, despite some initial jeers, Farrah experiences small kindnesses from some new friends. These small gestures help Farrah connect with her class as they make apple cider together, and upon their return home, she recognizes that laughter always sounds the same, no matter where you live and what language you speak. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey, by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison: An Iraqi family is forced to flee from their home, and they carry their beloved cat, Kunkush, hidden among them as they seek refuge in Greece. Yet, during a boat ride to Greece, the cat’s carrier breaks, and Kunkush disappears. Thereafter, aid workers in Greece discover the frightened cat, and knowing how much his family must have already lost, the workers want nothing more than to reunite the cat with his owners. A worldwide rescue mission ensues, until one day, finally, Kunkush and his family meet again. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Poe Wont Go, by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Zachariah O’Hora: What happens when an elephant plops down in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and creating chaos for everyone around him? The people of Prickly Valley yell and honk and push and try to coax him to leave. Yet, the elephant doesn’t budge, and it takes one little girl’s thoughtfulness – and her willingness to extend an ear and listen – to help the elephant find his way. Both funny and tender, this book scores on every level! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The Big Umbrella, by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates: There is an umbrella by the door, and not only is it friendly, but it’s big too. You don’t ever have to worry that there won’t be room under the umbrella if it’s raining, because somehow, everyone fits. Whether you have two legs or four, or whether you are tall or short, this gorgeous little book showcases the beauty of kindness, the power of inclusiveness and the joy that can be found when we all accept one another. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Sidewalk Flowers, by JonArno Lawrence: In this powerful wordless picture book, a little girl walks along the sidewalk with her distracted father who, busy on his cell phone and walking straight ahead, doesn’t notice his daughter collecting wildflowers as they walk. The girl, though, doesn’t just collect. Instead, she also gives — and gives and gives. A man lying on a bench gets a flower, a mother and her children get flowers, an injured bird gets flowers. As she gives the flowers away, her kindness transforms those she encounters — and herself, too. A small masterpiece, this is a brilliant book for any collection! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!