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43 Compelling Kids Books About Community

Updated Jan. 19, 2019

Top 10 Community Books

Miss Rumphius book
#1
Miss Rumphius
Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A beloved classic is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book, Viking has reoriginated the illustrations, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

What Can a Citizen Do? book
#2
What Can a Citizen Do?
Written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A citizen can pick up litter A citizen can pull a weed A citizen can help that critter A citizen can plant a seed A citizen can aid a neighbor A citizen can join a cause A citizen can write a letter A citizen can help change laws . . . Empowering and timeless, What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo behind the bestselling Her Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today's youth about what it means to be a citizen. Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all.

A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune book
#3
A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune
Written by Jan L Coates and illustrated by Marijke Simons
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Travel back in time with this magical tune that takes readers to Halifax in the 1950s. This dreamy and whimsical story visits Point Pleasant Park, the Halifax Public Gardens, Citadel Hill and other historic Halifax landmarks, showing off all the sights and sounds of the city

Day by Day book
#4
Day by Day
Written and illustrated by Susan Gal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Susan Gal offers a heartwarming tale of old-fashioned goodness. The industrious pigs of Day by Day build a home, plant a garden, help their neighbors, and then gather in a harvest grown with hard work and kindness. The language is sweet and simple: Day by day, the seasons turn. Shoulder to shoulder, pigs gather the harvest. Hand in hand, pigs give thanks, then cheek to cheek, they dance. The artwork is bright and full of the merry antics of a happy family and a tight-knit community. And these pigs are flat out adorable! This delightful story celebrates family and community, caring and sharing.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? book
#5
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing
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.

It Takes a Village book
#6
It Takes a Village
Written by Hillary Rodham Clinton and illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton's vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal. So hopeful and forward-looking." --The Washington Post "Inspired by her 2006 book of the same name, Clinton's unadorned text celebrates how civic spirit emerges...Most of the storytelling is found in Frazee's delicately textured images, which exude energy, hope, and emotional authenticity." --Publishers Weekly "This work is a welcome reminder that all people 'are born believers. And citizens, too.'" --Shelf Awareness "What does it take to change the world?" Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton's first book for young readers, inspired by the themes of her classic New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, asks readers what can they do to make the world a better place? It Takes a Village tells the heartwarming and universal story of a diverse community coming together to make a difference. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world. Together we can build a better life for one another. Together we can change our world. The book will resonate with children and families and through the generations as it encourages readers to look for a way they can make a difference. It is a book that you will surely want to read again and again, a book you will want to share and a book that will inspire.

Small Walt book
#7
Small Walt
Written by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Small Walt is the smallest snow plow in the fleet and he always gets picked last, but when there is a big snowstorm in the city, he will have the chance to prove his worth.

If You're Going to a March book
#8
If You're Going to a March
Written by Martha Freeman and illustrated by Violet Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

"If you're going to a march, you're going to want a sign"--and this cheerful, introductory handbook. Inspired by author Martha Freeman's own experiences, it addresses many of the questions kids might have: What should I wear? How will I get there? Where can I go to the bathroom? Is it okay to dance? (It is!). All the while the text focuses on our Constitutional right as Americans to assemble . . . whatever our political point of view.

Hello Hello book
#9
Hello Hello
Written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A new picture book from Brendan Wenzel, the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor-winning author of They All Saw a Cat! Hello, Hello! Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection. Brendan Wenzel's joyous, rhythmic text and exuberant art encourage readers to delight in nature's infinite differences and to look for—and marvel at—its gorgeous similarities. It all starts with a simple "Hello." The book includes: • An afterword from author Brendan Wenzel about the importance of conservation and protecting the wildlife on our planet. • A glossary of the animals featured in the book and a notation on their status (Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered).

Errol's Garden book
#10
Errol's Garden
Written and illustrated by Gillian Hibbs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Errol loves gardening, but he doesn't have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can't do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. A heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one small boy's dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

Books About Kindness & Community

Miss Rumphius book
#1
Miss Rumphius
Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A beloved classic is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book, Viking has reoriginated the illustrations, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

What Can a Citizen Do? book
#2
What Can a Citizen Do?
Written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A citizen can pick up litter A citizen can pull a weed A citizen can help that critter A citizen can plant a seed A citizen can aid a neighbor A citizen can join a cause A citizen can write a letter A citizen can help change laws . . . Empowering and timeless, What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo behind the bestselling Her Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today's youth about what it means to be a citizen. Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? book
#3
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. It Takes a Village - "It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton's vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal. So hopeful and forward-looking." --The Washington Post "Inspired by her 2006 book of the same name, Clinton's unadorned text celebrates how civic spirit emerges...Most of the storytelling is found in Frazee's delicately textured images, which exude energy, hope, and emotional authenticity." --Publishers Weekly "This work is a welcome reminder that all people 'are born believers. And citizens, too.'" --Shelf Awareness "What does it take to change the world?" Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton's first book for young readers, inspired by the themes of her classic New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, asks readers what can they do to make the world a better place? It Takes a Village tells the heartwarming and universal story of a diverse community coming together to make a difference. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world. Together we can build a better life for one another. Together we can change our world. The book will resonate with children and families and through the generations as it encourages readers to look for a way they can make a difference. It is a book that you will surely want to read again and again, a book you will want to share and a book that will inspire.

  2. I Walk with Vanessa - Inspired by real events and told only in pictures, this is an empowering picture book from a New York Timesbestselling husband-and-wife team about one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. This simple yet powerful picture book tells the story of an elementary school girl named Vanessa who is bullied and a fellow student who witnesses the act and is at first unsure of how to help. I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

  3. 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.

  4. Miles of Smiles - When someone smiles, who knows where it goes? Baby smiles at Mommy, Mom keeps it for a while . . . and then passes it on. As the smile begins its joyful journey--moving from a first-grade class to a soccer team, from Gran to a garbage man, even to a puppy--it spreads happiness throughout the community, bringing everyone together. A sunny picture book guaranteed to make kids SMILE!

Want to see even more books about community and kindness?

How about books about kindness?

Books About Helping Others & Community

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? book
#1
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing
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.

Errol's Garden book
#2
Errol's Garden
Written and illustrated by Gillian Hibbs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Errol loves gardening, but he doesn't have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can't do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. A heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one small boy's dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

Amy on Park Patrol book
#3
Amy on Park Patrol
Written by Callie Barkley and illustrated by Tracy Bishop
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Learning that a nearby park is about to be turned into a shopping center, Amy races against time to save the recreation center and the animal friends who live there.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Walk with Vanessa - Inspired by real events and told only in pictures, this is an empowering picture book from a New York Timesbestselling husband-and-wife team about one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. This simple yet powerful picture book tells the story of an elementary school girl named Vanessa who is bullied and a fellow student who witnesses the act and is at first unsure of how to help. I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

  2. Miles of Smiles - When someone smiles, who knows where it goes? Baby smiles at Mommy, Mom keeps it for a while . . . and then passes it on. As the smile begins its joyful journey--moving from a first-grade class to a soccer team, from Gran to a garbage man, even to a puppy--it spreads happiness throughout the community, bringing everyone together. A sunny picture book guaranteed to make kids SMILE!

  3. Snail Mail - A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful. Snail Mail's playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton's rich illustrations showcase America's diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America's beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

Want to see even more books about community and helping others?

How about books about helping others?

Books About Diversity & Community

It Takes a Village book
#1
It Takes a Village
Written by Hillary Rodham Clinton and illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton's vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal. So hopeful and forward-looking." --The Washington Post "Inspired by her 2006 book of the same name, Clinton's unadorned text celebrates how civic spirit emerges...Most of the storytelling is found in Frazee's delicately textured images, which exude energy, hope, and emotional authenticity." --Publishers Weekly "This work is a welcome reminder that all people 'are born believers. And citizens, too.'" --Shelf Awareness "What does it take to change the world?" Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton's first book for young readers, inspired by the themes of her classic New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, asks readers what can they do to make the world a better place? It Takes a Village tells the heartwarming and universal story of a diverse community coming together to make a difference. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world. Together we can build a better life for one another. Together we can change our world. The book will resonate with children and families and through the generations as it encourages readers to look for a way they can make a difference. It is a book that you will surely want to read again and again, a book you will want to share and a book that will inspire.

Hello Hello book
#2
Hello Hello
Written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A new picture book from Brendan Wenzel, the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor-winning author of They All Saw a Cat! Hello, Hello! Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection. Brendan Wenzel's joyous, rhythmic text and exuberant art encourage readers to delight in nature's infinite differences and to look for—and marvel at—its gorgeous similarities. It all starts with a simple "Hello." The book includes: • An afterword from author Brendan Wenzel about the importance of conservation and protecting the wildlife on our planet. • A glossary of the animals featured in the book and a notation on their status (Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered).

The Hueys in The New Sweater book
#3
The Hueys in The New Sweater
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course! The first in a series of child-friendly concept books by the #1 bestselling artist of The Day the Crayons Quit, How to Catch a Star, Stuck, and This Moose Belongs to Me, The New Sweater proves that standing apart can be accomplished even when standing together.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A is for Activist - "Reading it is almost like reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, but for two-year olds--full of pictures and rhymes and a little cat to find on every page that will delight the curious toddler and parents alike."--Occupy Wall Street A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents' values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

  2. Home Sweet Neighborhood - Picture a busy avenue. Now plant trees along the boulevard, paint a mural by the empty lot, and add a community garden. Set up benches along the sidewalks and make space for kids’ chalk drawings, and you’ve set the scene for a thriving community. Placemaking—personalizing public and semi-private spaces like front yards—is a growing trend in cities and suburbs around the world, drawing people out of their homes and into conversation with one another. Kids are natural placemakers, building tree forts, drawing on sidewalks and setting up lemonade stands, but people of all ages can enjoy creative placemaking activities. From Dutch families who drag couches and tables onto sidewalks for outdoor suppers to Canadians who build little lending libraries to share books with neighbors, people can do things that make life more fun and strengthen neighborhoods. Home Sweet Neighborhood combines upbeat text, fun facts and colorful photos to intrigue and inspire readers.

  3. EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street - Playful words lead you into this beautiful children’s book and invite you to celebrate our gifts,our weaknesses,our differences and our sameness. Fitch displays her wit and mastery of words in quick, rollicking rhymes that are complemented by Emma Fitzgerald’s lively illustrations. EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street was originally produced in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction.

  4. Hoorade Day! - It is the Fourth of July, and a young girl and her parents are off to see the town's big parade--Hoorade Day! Boosted up on daddy s shoulders, the girl excitedly waves to her family members in the parade and joyfully describes each section. From the bleats and bangs of the marching band to the graceful twirls of the ribbon dancers, the little girl spots it all, reciting simple, rhyming cheers that complement the bright illustrations of the diverse community on each page. Narrated in jolly, lively verse, Hoorade Day! celebrates the birthday of a nation founded on principles of unity and hope. It will delight children and adults alike, keeping them smiling to the very last page.

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