Even though kids can have a harder time sharing or expressing their own emotions, I think we can all agree that little kids are genuine and nice to others. They smile, wave, and talk to strangers, they say sweet things when you’re having a hard day, and they continuing to strengthen their kindness and learn manners, all while learning to talk, imagine, regulate, think, and act. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me!
To help foster the art and attitude of being nice, we’ve rounded up our very favorite picks that teach, talk, and exemplify being nice!
Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch - One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch. “Somebody loves you,” the note says. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town. “But who,” Mr. Hatch wonders, “could that somebody be?” After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!
The Hundred Dresses - Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.
The Monster Who Lost His Mean - Teased by the other monsters for being nice instead of mean, Onster prefers playing with children and helping them with their chores to frightening them.
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade - Sally McCabe is a very little girl, and nobody notices her, although she notices everything that goes on around her—but when she speaks out about the unkindness she sees, people start to pay attention.
Hug Machine - The hug machine is available to hug anyone, any time, whether they are square or long, spikey or soft.
You're Here for a Reason - Now available in board book, You’re Here for a Reason, from national-bestselling and beloved author Nancy Tillman, takes a universal truth and makes it accessible for readers young and old. Not only are we loved, but we also matter. In this tender and timeless read-along book, Tillman reminds us of this message in beautiful illustrations as children and animals interact with acts of kindness. “You’re here for a reason. If you think you’re not, I would just say that perhaps you forgot . . . a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here. If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you’re here! Thank goodness times two! I just can’t imagine a world without you.”
Nerdy Birdy - -
Lily and Bear - A little girl imagines her best friend who comes to life one magical afternoon in this heartwarming, debut picture book from popular Etsy artist Lisa Stubbs. Lily likes nothing better than to imagine and draw the things she loves. She draws cats and birds and boats and houses, and one day she makes a very special drawing of a bear who comes to life. Lily shows Bear her favorite things, and Bear shows Lily his—because everyone knows that friends help friends see the world in a new way. That’s why Lily and Bear are forever friends!
How Kind! - Hen gives Pig an unexpected present. “How kind!” says Pig. Pig is so touched, in fact, that he decides to do something kind too. So Pig gives Rabbit a gift. “How kind!” says Rabbit, who does something kind for Cow, who is kind to Cat, who wants to be kind in turn. Where will all of this kindness lead?
Each Kindness - 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.
May I Come In? - When thunder roars and lightning flashes, Raccoon is afraid to be alone in his home. So he hurries out to see if any of his neighbors in Thistle Hollow have room to spare for a friend in need. When Raccoon knocks on the doors of Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck, he is turned away. But then Raccoon spies a bright light in the storm. Will this next neighbor open up her house and heart to Raccoon? A tender story that reminds readers of all ages that a kind heart will always make room for one more.
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