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Caring: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about caring?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to caring. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about caring.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about caring, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Because Amelia Smiled to popular sellers like A Sick Day for Amos McGee to some of our favorite hidden gems like Great Joy.

We hope this list of kids books about caring can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Great Joy
Written by Kate DiCamillo & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It is just before Christmas when an organ grinder and monkey appear on the street outside Frances’s apartment. When it’s quiet she can hear their music, and when she looks out her window at midnight, she sees them sleeping outside. Finally the day of the Christmas pageant arrives, but when it’s Frances’s turn to speak, all she can think about is the organ grinder’s sad eyes—until a door opens just in time, and she finds the perfect words to share. With this luminous tale, Kate DiCamillo pairs with Bagram Ibatoulline to offer a timeless holiday gift.

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Manjhi Moves a Mountain
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Danny Popovici
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.

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Words and Your Heart
Written & illustrated by Kate Jane Neal
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Simple, direct, and emotive, Kate Jane Neal’s Words and Your Heart’s message is that words have extraordinary power–to harm and to heal; to create and to destroy; and to spread love. This book is about your heart. (the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) The words we listen to can affect how we feel. Some words can do amazing things and make us happy. And some words can really hurt us (we all know what sort of words those are). Our words have power, and we can choose to use them to make the world a better place.

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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
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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The Perfectly Perfect Wish
Written by Lisa Mantchev & illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the author of Strictly No Elephants comes a sweet picture book that explores themes of selflessness and empathy when a girl has the chance to make just one wish.

In the grass, a girl finds an extraordinary thing that gives her…just…one…wish.

She asks her those around her what they would wish for in her shoes, but nothing seems quite right. What will her perfect wish be?

In this pitch-perfect picture book, Lisa Mantchev takes the concept of a magic wish and uses it to explore real world empathy, kindness, and good will.

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  • The Lost Star - What happens when a star falls to earth . . . and doesn’t know how to get back home? A magical, mysterious story that’s perfect for bedtime. One night, when the moon is shining and a dormouse is having fun with the fireflies, she spots a gentle glow in the woods. The light comes from a golden star that has fallen to Earth and needs to get back home. Dormouse and her woodland friends do their best to help the star return to the sky, but one by one they fail . . . and the star grows paler and paler. Will the mysterious Frog finally succeed? Filled with atmospheric illustrations and soothing, dreamlike text, this heartwarming picture book will enchant children.

  • Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug - Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure—a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts. Introducing an unforgettable character on the picture book scene, Tiny T. Rex will stomp into the hearts of readers in this winning new series.

  • Out There - This stunning picture book will have young readers wondering about outer space and life on other planets while imparting a surprising and profound message of empathy. From the author/illustrator of Blue vs. Yellow and I Used to Be a Fish. Do you ever look up at the night sky and wonder if there is anybody else out there? Are there evil robots or cool aliens? Do they fly in UFOs or live in futuristic cities? Or maybe . . . they are just like us. Out There is a wonder-filled, surprising journey of imagination and empathy, a book that will inspire readers of all ages to reflect on how much we all have in common, despite our differences.

  • Izzy Gizmo - Izzy Gizmo loves to invent but gets frustrated when her inventions fail to work properly, so when she finds a crow with a broken wing her grandfather urges her to persist until she finds a way to help.

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Lion and the Bird
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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Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog
Written & illustrated by Lisa Papp
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this companion to the award-winning Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, Madeline Finn finds a way to help more dogs and read more stories. <br>Madeline Finn asks her mother for a puppy every single day. Finally, Mom says yes, and Madeline Finn chooses Star, one of the puppies born to Mrs. Dimple’s dog Bonnie. Then Mrs. Dimple tells Madeline Finn about animal shelters–a place many other pets come from. After a visit to their local shelter, Madeline Finn has some questions. Does anyone play with the shelter dogs, or snuggle with them, or read to them? Questions lead to answers, and ideas, and soon Madeline Finn and her human and animal community discover that there are lots of ways for small people to make a big difference.<br>Author-illustrator Lisa Papp offers a heartwarming exploration of life in an animal shelter in this inspiring and endearing book for young readers eager to help their communities.

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Paws for a Cause
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
The third book in a sweet and funny Branches series about a pug and his human, told from the pug's POV!
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Harvey Comes Home
Written by Colleen Nelson & illustrated by Tara Anderson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

An adventurous West Highland Terrier follows his nose a little too far from home and becomes desperate for a helping hand. But when he's taken in by a young boy volunteering at a retirement home, it just might be Harvey who does the helping.

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A Map Into the World
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Filled with wonder and sorrow and happiness.
--Alison McGhee, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Someday
A heartfelt story of a young girl seeking beauty and connection in a busy world.

As the seasons change, so too does a young Hmong girl's world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the natural world. But who are her treasures for?
A moving picture book debut from acclaimed Hmong American author Kao Kalia Yang.

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  • Bringing Me Back - Noah is not having a good year. His mom is in prison, he’s living with his mom’s boyfriend—who he’s sure is just waiting until his mother’s six month sentence is up to kick him out—and he’s officially hated by everyone at his middle school, including his former best friend. It’s Noah’s fault that the entire football program got shut down after last year. One day, Noah notices a young bear at the edge of the woods with her head stuck in a bucket. A bucket that was almost certainly left outside as part of a school fundraiser to bring back the football team. As days go by, the bear is still stuck—she’s wasting away and clearly getting weaker, even as she runs from anyone who tries to help. And she’s always alone. Though Noah ignores the taunts at school and ignores his mother’s phone calls from jail, he can’t ignore the bear. Everyone else has written the bear off as a lost cause—just like they have with Noah. He makes it his mission to help her. But rescuing the bear means tackling his past—and present—head-on. Could saving the bear ultimately save Noah, too?

  • Let It Snow - Coming to paperback with a brand new cover just in time for the holidays, this Toot and Puddle story evokes the warmth of friendship and the coziness of the season.

  • The Feather - This is a story about hope, kindness and redemption set in a grey dystopian world. When a great feather drifts from the leaden sky, two children recognize its extraordinariness and take it to the village for its protection. The villagers, however, want to encase it, upon which the feather loses its radiance. The children take it home and care for it through the night. In the morning it is again radiant, and when they set it free it leaves behind the first signs of blue sky and color. The ambiguous ending invites multiple interpretations about the effects of selflessness and kindness.

  • Love the World - A celebration of love, respect, peace, and unity by bestselling author and illustrator Todd Parr. Love your grin. Love your skin. Love the bees. Love the trees. Love giving a hand. Love taking a stand. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE THE WORLD! What the world needs now is love–and who better than Todd Parr to share a message of kindness, charity, and acceptance. Touching upon themes including self-esteem, environmentalism, and respect for others, Todd uses his signature silly and accessible style to encourage readers to show love for themselves and all the people, places, and things they encounter.

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We Really Do Care
Written by Tami Lewis Brown & illustrated by Tania de Regil
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Inspired by current events, this picture book shows the importance of compassion, empathy, and demonstrates how even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference. A little boy has a ball. It’s his, and he really doesn’t care if nobody else has a ball. He’s not sharing. He’s not sharing his pets either. Or his family. Especially not his brother. But then he realizes that both he and the new little girl he meets–the one who’s all alone without a ball or a pet or a family of her own–are actually quite similiar. And when he sees their similarities instead of their differences, he’s happy to share. Even his little brother. With gentle text from Tami Lewis Brown and sweet illustrations from Tania de Regil, this poignant and touching picture book challenges each and every one of us to to lend a helping hand. Because we really should care. Perfect for fans of Be Kind and All Are Welcome.

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A Plan for Pops
Written by Heather Smith & illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will be confined to a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.

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Thanks to the Animals
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Alone, cold, and frightened, Zoo Sap cries, and his cries attract the forest animals. Beginning with beaver and ending with the great bald eagle, the animals rush to protect the baby and shelter him from the cold until his father returns for him.

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Finding Christmas
Written by Lezlie Evans & illustrated by Yee Von Chan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Squirrel, Mouse, and Hare are getting ready for Christmas. While Mouse is out looking for the perfect gift for Hare, she finds Swallow sick in the snow. The three friends bring Swallow home and try to nurse the bird back to health. Squirrel and Mouse realize their Christmas gifts will help Swallow get well. As they give up their presents to help Swallow, they find the Christmas spirit.

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Because Amelia Smiled
Written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A little girl’s smile as she skips down the street inspires a neighbor to send cookies to her grandson in Mexico, and the good will she shares soon spreads around the world. From the creator of the Caldecott Honor-winning Interrupting Chicken.

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  • Buddy Bench - A school playground can be a solitary place for a kid without playmates; in one survey, 80 percent of 8- to 10-year-old respondents described being lonely at some point during a school day.

  • Tanna's Owl - When Tanna’s father brings home an abandoned owl, she is not eager to take care of the needy, ugly little bird. Tanna must wake at 4:00 a.m. to catch food for the owl. She must feed it, clean up after it, all while avoiding its sharp, chomping beak and big, stomping talons. After weeks of following her father’s instructions on how to care for the owl, Tanna must leave home for school. Her owl has grown. It has lost its grey baby feathers and is beginning to sprout a beautiful adult snowy owl coat. As she says good-bye to the owl, she is relieved not to have to care for it anymore, but also a bit sad. This heartwarming story based on the author’s own life experience teaches young readers the value of hard work, helping, and caring–even when the thing you are caring for does not love you back.

  • Gimme Shelter: Misadventures and Misinformation - The Chicken Squad is back for their fifth (mis)adventure in this “lip-bitingly funny” (School Library Journal) chapter book from the bestselling author of Click, Clack, Moo and The Trouble with Chickens. The Chicken Squad prides themselves on being ready for anything. Marshmallow life preservers? Check. Copious bags of jellybeans for a car ride? Check. Storm shelter? Storm shelter! They need a storm shelter in case there is ever a storm. So Sugar takes it upon himself to build one in the yard. But it turns out it’s not big enough for everyone. And the big dig has unearthed some mysterious surprises.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.