Children's books that encourage kindness towards others
Kindness is one of the most important character traits and books can help show the best ways to be kind to others or why kindness matters. Searching through lists of children's books that feature stories of kindness, I discovered that several appeared in multiple lists and are listed below. Here are the top 9. Maybe you can use these personally. in a parent/toddler setting, children's work or elsewhere.
Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. 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 favour.
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 neighbour, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world.
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, that is, 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.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
This heart-warming book has become a classic, selling over a million copies, and is listed as one of the top children's books that encourage kindness towards others. It encourages positive behaviour by using the concrete concept of an 'invisible bucket' that holds your good thoughts and feelings. When you do something kind, you fill someone's bucket; when you do something mean, you dip into someone's bucket and remove some good thoughts and feelings. This book focuses on how our social interactions positively or negatively affect others and encourages all to be kind.
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.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
"Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful." CJ begins his weekly bus journey around the city with disappointment and dissatisfaction, wondering why he and his family can't drive a car like his friends. Through energy and encouragement, CJ's nana helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine. This beautifully illustrated, emotive picture book explores urban life with honesty, interest and gratitude.
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
Because Amelia smiles as she skips down the street, her neighbour Mrs Higgins smiles too, and decides to send some cookies to her grandson Lionel - in Mexico. The cookies give Lionel an idea, and his idea inspires a student, who in turn inspires a ballet troupe - in England! And so the good feelings that started with Amelia's smile make their way round the world, from a goodwill recital in Israel, to an impromptu rumba concert in Paris, to a long-awaited marriage proposal in Italy, to a knitted scarf for a beloved niece back in New York. Putting a unique spin on "what goes around comes around", the story reminds us that adding even a little kindness into the world is sure to spur more and more kindness, which could eventually make its way back to you!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Once there was a little tree ... and she loved a little boy. So begins a story of unforgettable perception. Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk ... and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation, a moving parable that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
If you plant a carrot seed . . . a carrot will grow. If you plant a lettuce seed . . . lettuce will grow. But what happens if you plant a seed of kindness . . . or selfishness? A resonant, gently humorous story about the power of even the smallest acts and the rewards of compassion and generosity.
Links are to Amazon UK but other booksellers can of course obtain.
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