Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to generosity and giving. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about generosity and giving.
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 generosity and giving, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish to popular sellers like The Giving Tree to some of our favorite hidden gems like Extra Yarn.
We hope this list of kids books about generosity and giving can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
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.
This charmingly illustrated rhyming picture book about Alfonzo, a goat with a very special coat, celebrates the power of kindness and friendship. Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat. Alfonzo was happy; he pranced and he skipped. Then he heard a sad noise, croaking out of a ditch. Alfonzo couldn’t be happier. He just got an amazing new coat, and he feels like a million dollars. But when he discovers some creatures in need of help, will Alfonzo be able to give up his treasured possession to save the day? This great big hug of a book shows that kindness is definitely the best recipe. Awards for Tom Percival Herman’s Letter—A Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
From bestselling and award-winning author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen comes Extra Yarn, a Caldecott Honor Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, and a New York Times bestseller.
A young girl and her box of magical yarn transform a community in this stunning picture book. With spare, gently humorous illustrations and a palette that moves from black-and-white to a range of color, this modern fairy tale has the feel of a new classic.
Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Peter Brown will love this book.
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.
Sweet, simple blessings that encourage thoughtful gratitude for life’s daily gifts and wonders. This accessible, wholesome board book is perfect for teaching babies and toddlers how to count their blessings every day. With simple, graspable text that inspires mindful thinking, and warm, vibrant illustrations, For Giving Thanks will fill children’s minds with positive thoughts and help them appreciate life’s special gifts.
Love Monster and the Perfect Present - Everyone in Cutesville is excited for the most special day of the year: Present Day! Love Monster goes on a hunt for the perfect gift for his special someone, but as it turns out, finding the perfect gift is not easy. And the only thing worse than a not-perfect present is no present at all. But Love Monster soon comes up with the idea for the best gift ever—one that comes straight from his furry heart.
The Stick - When a young boy finds a stick on the ground and reads the inspiring words carved into it, his life begins to change until he fulfills lifelong dreams and discovers the truth about giving.
Bunny Built - A construction bunny learns a creative lesson in sharing and friendship when he meets the biggest carrot of his life. LaRue was very handy. His toolbox had everything and industrious bunny could ever need. Everything, that is, except carrots. But then LaRue stumbles onto a special seed. With proper tending, this seed quickly grows into an ENORMOUS CARROT! What’s a bunny to do with so much carrot? In a stroke of construction genius (and generosity), LaRue has the answer. This clever story celebrates just what it means to be a friend. A Christy Ottaviano Book
Mama Panya's Pancakes - How many people did we invite for pancakes tonight? Adika, skipping two steps ahead, sang his reply, All of our friends, Mama.
A generous but increasingly put-upon bear makes batch after batch of doughnuts for her woodland friends without saving any for herself in this delightful debut picture book about counting, sharing, and being a good friend.
LouAnn (a bear) is making a doughnut feast in preparation for her long winter’s nap. But just before she takes the first bite, DING DONG! Her friend Woodrow (a woodchuck) drops by. LouAnn is happy to share her doughnuts, but as soon as she and Woodrow sit down to eat, DING DING! Clyde (a raccoon) is at the door. One by one, LouAnn’s friends come over—Topsy (an opossum) and then Moufette (a skunk) and then Chip and Chomp (chipmunks)—until it’s one big party. Louann welcomes her surprise guests and makes batch after batch of doughnuts, always dividing them equally among her friends. But she makes one BIG miscalculation. Soon LouAnn’s kitchen is bare, winter is near, and she’s had nothing to eat at all!
‘Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.’ So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. 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. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return. Ages 10+
Luna outgrows her stroller just as Ernie needs one, and when he outgrows it he passes it along to Gigi, and soon many different families have received and shared the gift.
In The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.
Hard-working Jiva might not be the only one anticipating a delicious feast of peas from his garden. Every morning, Jiva works in his garden until the sun turns as red as a bride’s sari. He plants peas and beans, potatoes and tomatoes, eggplants and okra in his vegetable patch. When his friend Ruvji admires his plants Jiva sings, Plump peas, sweet peas, Lined- up-in-the-shell peas. Peas to munch, peas to crunch A feast of peas for lunch. But each time Jiva is ready to pick the peas for his feast, they’re already gone. What has happened? From the award-winning author and illustrator team who created Tiger in My Soup, this original story set in India features a deliciously amusing mystery about gardening, anticipation, hard work, and generosity.
Always Room for One More - Winner of the Caldecott Medal. Lachie MacLachlan, the generous hero of this enchanting tale, is the exception to the rule that the Scots are a thrifty lot. In his “wee house in the heather,” where he lives with his family of twelve, he welcomes to his hearth every weary traveler who passes by on a stormy night. “There’s always room for one more,” says Lachie, and how his grateful guests say a wonderful “Thank you” provides a delightfully warm and tender ending to this hilarious tale of kindness. Always Room for One More is the winner of the 1966 Caldecott Medal.
The Runaway Rice Cake - It’s the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year’s rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. “Ai yo! I don’t think so!” it cries, coming to life and escaping. Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da’s family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs’ generosity doesn’t go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them. Ying Chang Compestine’s heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau’s soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.
When a Tree Grows - When Moose rubs his antlers against the tree where Squirrel built his nest, he sets off a chain of comic catastrophes. The tree falls and wakes Bear, who stumbles into Moose, who causes a truck to swerve. But then Squirrel jumps onto that truck and ends up in the city, all alone. Who will help him get home? A sweet story of friendship, generosity, and how one fun thing leads to another.
Curveball - In the fifth book in the New York Times bestselling middle grade series inspired by the life of iconic New York Yankee Derek Jeter, Derek spends the summer with his grandparents in Pequannock Township, New Jersey. Sometimes, you were looking for role models. And sometimes, you were being one yourself. Derek is having the best summer yet! Fun on the lake with his cousins, baseball, and a visit from his best friend, Dave: what more could he ask for? It gets even better when Derek gets to go to a Yankees game and meets a bunch of kids who play ball near the stadium, and they’re good. Awesome, actually, especially Jumbo and Tiny. Derek can’t wait to introduce them to Dave, but Grandma says if he wants to go to another Yankees game, he’ll have to earn some of the money for tickets himself. This means spending quality time with Grandpa mowing lawns and learning the meaning of hard work. Derek brings Dave to meet Tiny and Jumbo, whom Derek admires. But when Jumbo tries to convince Derek to do something he’s sure will get him in trouble, Derek has to rethink who his role models are.
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.
In this third chapter book about Warren and his alter-ego Dragon, an important lesson is learned in generosity . . . and exploding volcanoes!
Warren has been invited to a birthday party by one of his new classmates, so it’s birthday present shopping time! And the first toy he spots, a Deluxe Volcano Building Set Supreme is perfect . . . for himself. It’s too much money, his mother tells him, choosing another gift for his classmate. But Warren can’t stop thinking about exploding volcanoes, and soon he and Dragon are thinking up ways to make money and buy the volcano set for themselves. A bake sale? A magic show? A car wash? All great ideas…that is until Warren’s sister misinterprets their personal fundraising for charity fundraising and decides that everything they earn should go to the local children’s hospital. Does this mean that Warren and Dragon will have to give away all the money they make? Goodbye Deluxe Volcano Building Set Supreme!
Sometimes giving is the best gift of all. In this charming holiday story, meet a tiny mouse with no name who is blessed with a large imagination and a generous spirit. He lives a very lonely life in a very big house. Yet he dearly loves Christmas and one Christmas Eve he surprises Santa Claus with a most unusual present. How does this small mouse with a big heart become Santa’s special helper? Written by Michael Brown and illustrated in a timeless style by Elfrieda De Witt, Santa Mouse is a Christmas family favorite that parents and grandparents are sure to share with their little ones.
Penny Paisley holds a party to present the family “Christmas Jar”—a jar in which her family has been saving spare change throughout the year—to an ailing neighbor, Grandpa Charlie.
Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.
A Birthday for Frances - As her little sister Gloria’s birthday approaches, Frances wavers between being generous and being jealous. Frances wrestles with temptation when she buys her sister candy for her birthday and then thinks about keeping it for herself. Frances becomes mean and selfish, until rare generosity and birthday spirit move her to reluctantly give her coveted gift. Frances is every youngster who chafes at being the un-birthday child.
King Flashypants and the Creature from Crong - Something is frightening the people of Crong—something with long, sharp teeth, seven eyes, and an appetite for goats. The monster’s name is the Voolith, and it won’t stop until it has gobbled up everything in its path! When news reaches Edwinland, King Edwin decides he must cross the wilderness and defeat the Voolith in single combat. Even if he doesn’t quite know what “single combat” means. This next King Flashypants adventure has it all—jousting, evil plots, mini golf, fire-breathing toads, and hilarity at every turn.
My Rows and Piles of Coins - “I emptied my secret money box, arranged the coins in piles and the piles in rows . . .” The market is full of wonderful things, but Saruni is saving his precious coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle—and how disappointed he is to discover that he hasn’t saved nearly enough! Determination and generosity are at the heart of this satisfying tale set in Tanzania and illustrated with glowing watercolors that capture the warmth of Saruni’s family and the excitement of market day.
The Christmas Stick - One Christmas Eve in a far kingdom, the royal family gathered to open presents―which mainly meant watching the prince open his… So begins a children’s story about taking, but also giving―about stubbornness, but also a change of heart. The spoiled prince doesn’t realize that he’s actually bored with all the magnificent gifts he’s given. And he carries a deeper sadness, one that would stay locked away, a secret even from him, if his wise grandmother hadn’t understood that what he really needed was…a stick. It was sturdy, and as long as he was tall. But it was just a stick. And yet this simple gift opens the prince to precious things. This children’s picture book explores the power of imagination, the pleasure of doing, and eventually, the heart-soothing, joy-inducing warmth of not only being loved―but loving.
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.
There are many types of gifts. You can give a big, shiny, wrapped gift on Christmas morning, but you can also give the gifts of your help or your time. You can bake a cake for your parents or share what you learned in school with your little sister. You can help a friend unravel a knotty bracelet or smile at a stranger who looks sad. With a spirit of generosity, you’ll find you have many gifts to give to the world—and that giving can be even more fulfilling than receiving. Featuring a die-cut cover and interior flaps throughout, My Little Gifts celebrates the gift of giving. The Growing Hearts series celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development, from conquering fears and expressing feelings to welcoming a new sibling.
Edwin isn’t any ordinary boy. He is a king with a crown, his own suit of armor, a castle with secret passages and water slides—oh, and the most horribly evil man in the universe living next door.
Emperor Nurbison is permanently up to no good. He wants Edwin’s kingdom for himself, so when the Edwinland piggy bank runs out of money, he seizes his opportunity.
None of this could possibly lead to a thrilling adventure with action, chocolate, and snappy crocodiles—could it?
Thing leads a simple life with its friends, Cactus and Moose the Shadow Puppet… until the day Thing sees Other Thing through the telescope! How will Thing react, and what will happen when Moose the Shadow Puppet suddenly disappears? A quirky story about how generosity, understanding and tolerance can lead to true friendship.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
“A gift should be big, And a gift should be bright. And a gift should be perfect- Guaranteed to bring delight. And a gift should have meaning Plus a bit of bling-zing, So I’ll shop till I drop For each just-right thing!”
Will Mr. Fish find perfect gifts for everyone on his list? Will he finish his shopping in time?
Swim along with The Pout-Pout Fish on his holiday shopping quest. He might just discover that the best gifts of all come straight from the heart.
Thank You, Mr. Panda - Generous Mr. Panda is giving away presents to all his animal friends, including a mouse, an octopus, an elephant, and a lemur, but they aren’t being very grateful about the gifts they receive. It may be because the presents aren’t quite right. Mouse receives a sweater that’s too big, and Octopus gets six colorful socks even though he has eight legs. Fortunately, thoughtful little Lemur knows that even if the present isn’t perfect, it’s the thought that counts most of all. Just as Mr. Panda introduced good manners in Please, Mr. Panda and the importance of being patient in I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda, Thank You, Mr. Panda is a graphic, kid-friendly way of teaching little ones the importance of saying “thank you” and recognizing that it’s the thought that counts most of all behind every gift.
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