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Kindness Books

Curated by LibraryMom
There can never be enough books on kindness. Reading stories about kindness and empathy has helped prompt several important discussions with my children about respect, friendship, and how our actions can affect other people. It is a subject we revisit often.
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee book
7.0
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This is one of my all-time favorite picture books. It’s message of empathy and kindness is so incredibly heartwarming and the award-winning illustrations are absolutely charming. Amos McGee works at the zoo and always makes time to give special attention to the animals. When he stays home from work one day due to illness, his friends make the trip to take care of him in return. This sweet and tender story is filled with amusing details that draw the reader in and will make children want to revisit for multiple readings.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut. 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. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. This title has Common Core connections.

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Be Kind book
7.0
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Be Kind
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Jen Hill
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This exceptional book expertly demonstrates what kindness looks like and the impact it can have on people in a child-friendly way. There are many books that cover this subject, but Be Kind stands apart. It does a remarkable job of providing an overview of kindness along with clear examples that make this abstract concept more concrete for children. It touches upon both the individual and global impact of kindness and while it may not always be easy to be kind, each small act is meaningful. This is a book that belongs in every home and classroom library to inspire kindness and empathy.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A thoughtful picture book illustrating the power of small acts of kindness, from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash.

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A Hat for Mrs. Goldman book
6.5
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A Hat for Mrs. Goldman
Written by Michelle Edwards & illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This is one of those wonderful books that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on a cold winter day! When Sophia discovers that her neighbor Mrs. Goldman, who has made winter hats for others, does not have one of her own, she takes on the challenge of learning to knit. The soft color palette and charming illustrations perfectly capture the tone of this delightful story about kindness. Sophia and Mrs. Goldman are lovable characters and serve as wonderful role models. Readers can’t help but smile as they follow Sophia on her journey demonstrating determination, perseverance, and compassion. The book concludes with directions on how children can make their own knitted caps, hopefully to gift to others. This heartwarming story is perfect to read one-on-one or to a class to promote a conversation about empathy and kindness.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“[A] celebration of winter mitzvahs, or kind deeds. Karas’s adorable, radiant art adds to the heartwarming mood.” -The New York Times

Here’s a heartwarming winter picture book that’s sure to appeal to families who love knitting.

Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, and Sophia, who thinks knitting is too hard, helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman herself doesn’t have a hat—she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! It’s up to Sophia to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman. But try as Sophia might, the hat turns out lumpy, the stitches aren’t even, and there are holes where there shouldn’t be holes. Sophia is devastated until she gets an idea that will make Mrs. Goldman’s hat the most wonderful of all. Readers both young and old will relate to Sophia’s frustrations, as well as her delight in making something special for someone she loves.

A knitting pattern is included in the back of the book.

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Thank You, Omu! book
6.5
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Thank You, Omu!
Written & illustrated by Oge Mora
Thoughts from LibraryMom
Not only is Thank You, Omu! a wonderful story about generosity, community, and kindness, the artwork is spectacular! Gorgeous collages created with acrylic paint, china markers, pastels, patterned paper, and old book clippings adorn this tender story.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award In this remarkable author-illustrator debut that’s perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Extra Yarn, a generous woman is rewarded by her community. Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.

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What Is Given from the Heart book
6.3
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What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by April Harrison
Thoughts from LibraryMom
Breathtaking in both the story and the illustrations, this is an excellent choice for older children. James Otis is having a rough few months. He lost his father and his family has very little money. When another family loses all of their possessions in a fire, however, he discovers a way to bring them joy with a gift from the heart. This moving story exquisitely conveys the messages of empathy and kindness and acts as a true celebration of faith, hope, and community.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service— the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack—with stunning illustrations by Harrison—delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

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  • Those Shoes - LibraryMom -

    This powerful story will stay with readers long after closing the book. Jeremy desperately wants a pair of black high-tops with two white stripes, but his grandmother cannot afford them. He sadly watches as all of his friends come to school with the coveted shoes. Finally, he finds his own pair at a secondhand store. Even though they are too small, he squeezes his feet in them each day until he notices one of his friends has shoes being held together with tape. In a heartfelt act of generosity, Jeremy gives his friend the popular shoes. This thought-provoking book does an excellent job of reinforcing messages of need and want with kindness and compassion in a realistic scenario. It is one of my absolute favorite read alouds on kindness for elementary age children.

  • I Walk with Vanessa - LibraryMom -

    With themes of kindness, courage, and anti-bullying, I Walk With Vanessa is a must-have for classroom libraries. When a young girl observes a hurtful act toward a new classmate, she decides to take action and extend kindness to the victim by walking with her to school. Soon several classmates join together and form a united front. The book is made even more powerful by its lack of text. It allows readers to interpret the characters’ expressions and develop their own conclusions. This story is an excellent tool for teaching anti-bullying standards. It touches upon a child demonstrating bullying behavior, a victim, and a bystander. The story can be used to prompt an important discussion about each character’s role and the actions they take. Students can take turns role playing the characters and because there is no text, children can create their own dialogue further internalizing the situation. My children were captivated by this story and asked for repeated readings, creating several important discussions.

  • Words and Your Heart - LibraryMom -

    I could not love this book more. It does an incredible job of conveying the concept that words hold great power. Simple, engaging illustrations combined with playful text presented in various sizes and fonts create a child-friendly avenue for this important message. It touches upon the fact that words can be hurtful, but encourages the reader to use words to look after each other’s hearts. This book is beautifully crafted and impactful.

  • Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse - LibraryMom -

    When a young girl overhears Adrian Simcox sharing that he has a horse, she is skeptical and expresses her disbelief. Once she has a better understanding of Adrian’s life and the effect her words have on him, she sees him and his horse in a new perspective. Beautifully told and gorgeously illustrated, this powerful picture book is perfect for discussing empathy and compassion.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? book
5.8
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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud & illustrated by David Messing
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This book plays on the idea that everyone has their own invisible bucket that represents their mental and emotional health. When we are kind to others, it not only fills their buckets, but also our own, making everyone happier. Conversely, if we are mean to others, we dip into their buckets and take away their joy. With its clear message and engaging illustrations, this book does an excellent job of demonstrating how easy and rewarding it is to be nice to others. When I was a school librarian, this book was used in every classroom in the school and I use it now with my own children. It is effective and inspirational
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

“Children are not the only ones that need to learn how to be truly happy. It’s all in the bucket, that invisible bucket that follows you everywhere… teaches young readers valuable lessons about giving, sharing, and caring. This guide to daily happiness, though, is not just for kids. We all need reminders of the benefits of positive thinking and positive behavior. It’s an important lesson to teach and remind us all . . . that showing kindness and appreciation of others goes a long way to making this world a happier place for everyone, including ourselves. A classic tale, beautifully told and beautifully shared.” —Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews While using a simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper, author Carol McCloud illustrates that when we choose to be kind, we not only fill the buckets of those around us, but also fill our OWN bucket! Conversely, when we choose to say or do mean things, we are dipping into buckets. All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say and what we do. When you’re a bucket filler, you make the world a better place to be! This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers and people that want to teach empathy, nurture kindness and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace and community.

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The Cool Bean book
5.8
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The Cool Bean
Written by Jory John & illustrated by Pete Oswald
Thoughts from LibraryMom
When a bow-tie wearing bean laments over the distance that has grown between him and his old friends who wear sunglasses and swagger through the halls of the school, he is shocked to discover that coolness is more than how you dress and move. The cool beans are kind and help those in need. My son came home the other day asking what the word “nerd” meant because someone at his school told him that “nerds” grow weird things out of their belly buttons. I honestly don’t know where kids get these ideas, but what I do know is that kids can feel a lot of pressure in school to act “cool” and I am so incredibly thankful that there is an entertaining and engaging picture book out there teaching them that it is cool to be kind! I also highly recommend this dynamic duo’s other two books with positive messages, The Bad Seed and The Good Egg.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

AN AMAZON BEST BOOKS OF THE MONTH (DECEMBER 2019) SELECTION!

The “too-cool-for-school” third picture book from the #1 New York Times bestselling creators of The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, Jory John and Pete Oswald

Everyone knows the cool beans. They’re sooooo cool.

And then there’s the uncool has-bean . . .

Always on the sidelines, one bean unsuccessfully tries everything he can to fit in with the crowd—until one day the cool beans show him how it’s done.

With equal measures of humor, wit, and charm, the #1 New York Times bestselling duo Jory John and Pete Oswald craft another incredible picture book, reminding us that it’s cooler to be kind.

Check out John and Oswald’s other books for children:

The Bad Seed

The Good Egg

That’s What Dinosaurs Do

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Each Kindness book
5.8
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Each Kindness
Written by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This thought-provoking picture book uses a poignant story and lovely watercolor illustrations to present a unique view of kindness. When Maya, a new student, comes to school wearing second hand clothes, Chloe has the opportunity to befriend her, but time after time chooses to be hurtful instead. When Maya moves away, Chloe regretfully realizes she has forever lost her chance to be kind to Maya. In a compelling scene, Chloe’s remorse is skillfully captured as she throws a stone into a pond remembering her teacher’s words, “This is what kindness does. Each little thing we do goes out like a ripple, into the world. Each kindness, makes the whole world a little bit better.” Chloe’s shameful realization that she has lost her opportunity to be kind to Maya will hopefully inspire children to be kind every chance they get!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

WINNER OF A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR AND THE JANE ADDAMS PEACE AWARD!

Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down.

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.

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If You Plant a Seed book
5.8
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If You Plant a Seed
Written & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Thoughts from LibraryMom
Kadir Nelson cleverly uses the idea of planting seeds as a metaphor for kindness. His stunning illustrations capture a bunny and mouse who lovingly grow vegetables. When they refuse to share with a group of birds, a fight breaks out and the food is destroyed. Apologies are made and the last surviving tomato is shared. The birds fly away and return with a multitude of seeds that grow into a large garden to be shared with several new friends. The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous and the minimal text may seem simple on the surface, but the message of sharing is quite powerful and poignant.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Kadir Nelson, acclaimed author of Baby Bear and winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, presents a resonant, gently humorous story about the power of even the smallest acts and the rewards of compassion and generosity. With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.

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Lion and the Bird book
5.5
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Lion and the Bird
Thoughts from LibraryMom
This beautifully illustrated story stars a compassionate lion who cares for a wounded bird during the winter. Lion comes to treasure their friendship, but realizes he must say good-bye when the bird’s family returns in the spring. Lion experiences a peaceful, solitary summer, but autumn not only brings a new season, but also an old friend. This quiet treasure exquisitely demonstrates lion’s kindness from looking after the bird to nobly letting him go.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-

One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the bird's flock, the lion decides that it's up to him to care for the bird. He does and the two become fast friends. Nevertheless, the bird departs with his flock the following autumn. What will become of Lion and what will become of their friendship?

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  • Hooray for Hat! - LibraryMom -

    When Elephant wakes up in a grumpy mood one morning, he is surprised by a present on his doorstep that quickly cheers him up. He sets out to return the favor and passes on the kindness to his friends. Bold artwork set against a white background intertwined with sprinkles of colorful text make this an excellent read aloud to inspire empathy and friendship.

  • Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug - LibraryMom -