88+ Heartwarming Books About Helping Others

Looking for a list of the best kids books about helping others?

Some of life’s most tender lessons can be shared best through simple children’s stories. Children’s literature is full of inspiring tales of giving, of being nice to others, and of doing the right thing, even when it’s not easy. Here in this list we’ve gathered the best kids books about helping others.

The messages in the books on this list can be helpful for kids (and adults!) of all ages, whether it’s a board book for a young child that shares a lesson about using kind words, a picture book with a message about kindness for middle school age kids, or a chapter book a family reads together about not judging. Children’s books have a unique ability to present these powerful lessons about helping others through encouraging, memorable, and inspiring stories.

There are three types of book on the list: board books, picture books, and chapter books. You can filter the list by type or browse the full list. You can also use the table of contents to jump to specific ideas, like helping others and friendship or helping others and sharing.

We hope this list is a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others teaching kids about helping others. Let us know what books you would add to the list!

Top 10 Books About Helping Others

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The charming rhyming text and sweet yet spunky illustrations of The Snatchabook were created by a husband and wife team—how cool! Together they weave a FANTASTIC story about a love of reading and friendship that teaches kindness, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness… all while being absolutely enjoyable! This is sure to become an all-time favorite—it is one of ours! While the Snatchabook initially thinks that he needs to steal all of the books to enjoy them, little Eliza Brown shows him that the other animals are willing to share their storytimes… and really that’s much better!

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down…when a Snatchabook flew into town. It’s bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

The Nice Book book
#2
The Nice Book
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A perfect introduction to manners and playing nice, by David Ezra Stein—author of Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken, Pouch! (a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book) and Leaves (recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award).

From cuddling koalas to friendly penguins, an array of animals illustrates fun, sweet, and silly examples of “how to be nice,” showing simple ways young children can show they care for those around them. The lyrical text, funny illustrations and upbeat friendship message make this a great gift and a wonderful introduction to manners.

What Is Given from the Heart book
#3
What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison
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.

The Best Birthday Present Ever book
#4
The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The sweetest book demonstrating friendship and imagination! I love how graciously Bear accepts his gift from Squirrel, and that he truly appreciates it, even though the others don’t think it’s that amazing. Bear and Squirrel know how to put the gift to use with their imaginations, creating way more fun than just another toy, and they do it all while sharing it together! :) Plus, the illustrations are so cute!

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

Too Many Carrots book
#5
Too Many Carrots
Written by Katy Hudson
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Great book about sharing, and Rabbit learns that friends are more important than things—his carrots. I love the illustrations in this book and love that they show the story every step of the way!

The bestselling picture book that Publisher’s Weekly calls “simultaneously sassy and sweet.” Rabbit loves carrots — and that’s a big problem! In this phenomenal bestseller, Rabbit loves carrots a little too much. In fact, his carrots are crowding him out of his cozy burrow. When his friends offer to help, they’re just asking for trouble — a lot of trouble! This charming and lovingly illustrated children’s book, by acclaimed author Katy Hudson (A Loud Winter’s Nap and Bear and Duck), shows how friendships get us over the rough spots in life, even if the going gets a little bumpy. Too Many Carrots is the perfect springtime, Eastertime, and anytime gift.

The Bear Who Shared book
#6
The Bear Who Shared
Written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Norris the bear has been waiting patiently for the last ripe fruit to fall from the tree. But Tulip the raccoon and Violet the mouse have too . . . although maybe not so patiently. In fact, Tulip and Violet sniff, listen to, and even hug the fruit. Norris catches the fruit when it finally falls, and because he is a wise bear, he shares it and makes two new friends.

A lovely simplicity of language and gorgeous artwork make this story of one of life’s first lessons perfect for the youngest listeners.

Gossie book
#7
Gossie
Written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Meet Gossie, a small yellow gosling who loves to wear bright red boots—every day. One morning Gossie can’t find her beloved boots. She looks everywhere for them: under the bed, over the wall, even in the barn. Preschoolers will enjoy helping Gossie find her red boots and delight in where Gossie finally finds them.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled book
#8
The Squirrels Who Squabbled
Written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Two squirrels (one more prepared for winter than the other!) both race to capture the last pinecone (and seeds!) of the season, but it turns out that in their haste to out-do each other, they both lose the pinecone and both almost lose some limbs to boot. The illustrations are bright and convey a lot of motion and emotion, and when the squirrels discover that it might be better to share (both their food and some laughs with a friend) than have what they want to themselves you’ll be smiling as big as the squirrels.

Greedy squirrels Cyril and Bruce both have their sights on a very special prize: the last pinecone of the season. Uh-oh! The race is on! A laugh-out-loud tale about friendship and sharing by the bestselling duo behind The Lion Inside and The Koala Who Could, Rachel Bright and Jim Field!

A New Chick for Chickies book
#9
A New Chick for Chickies
Written and illustrated by Janee Trasler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

For Chickies life was good. Life was perfect until . . . CRAAACK . . . the Chickies have a new brother! With engaging rhymes, endearing illustrations, and a soft padded cover, Janee Trasler’s books are perfect for babies and toddlers to enjoy. Big sisters- and brothers-to-be will be excited to take a cue from the lovable Chickies and cheep for joy when a new baby arrives!

I Am the Boss of This Chair book
#10
I Am the Boss of This Chair
Written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Friendship and sharing seem just as linked in books as they are in real life! The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous, and the color combinations are especially lovely and unique. While initially “being the boss” of all the things seems most important, it turns out having a co-boss is actually a lot more fun, and the lesson is just as applicable to siblings and friends as it is cohabitating cats!

When a new kitten joins the family, can a top cat learn to share his chair—and (almost) everything else, too?

“I, Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III, am the boss of this chair. You may look at it, and you may walk by it, but you may not sit in it. Because I am the boss of this chair, and that’s that.”

Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III has always been top cat. Then Pom Pom the kitten comes along and suddenly Oswald isn’t the boss of everything anymore—not the toilet paper, food dish, back door, toy mouse, or even his own special chair. Will Oswald realize that life is more fun when you have a friend—and that, really, there’s plenty of room on the chair to share? A fun picture book with a comforting message for any kid with a new sibling.

Books About Helping Others and Sharing

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The charming rhyming text and sweet yet spunky illustrations of The Snatchabook were created by a husband and wife team—how cool! Together they weave a FANTASTIC story about a love of reading and friendship that teaches kindness, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness… all while being absolutely enjoyable! This is sure to become an all-time favorite—it is one of ours! While the Snatchabook initially thinks that he needs to steal all of the books to enjoy them, little Eliza Brown shows him that the other animals are willing to share their storytimes… and really that’s much better!

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down…when a Snatchabook flew into town. It’s bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

The Nice Book book
#2
The Nice Book
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A perfect introduction to manners and playing nice, by David Ezra Stein—author of Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken, Pouch! (a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book) and Leaves (recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award).

From cuddling koalas to friendly penguins, an array of animals illustrates fun, sweet, and silly examples of “how to be nice,” showing simple ways young children can show they care for those around them. The lyrical text, funny illustrations and upbeat friendship message make this a great gift and a wonderful introduction to manners.

What Is Given from the Heart book
#3
What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Best Birthday Present Ever - B is for Bookworm - The sweetest book demonstrating friendship and imagination! I love how graciously Bear accepts his gift from Squirrel, and that he truly appreciates it, even though the others don’t think it’s that amazing. Bear and Squirrel know how to put the gift to use with their imaginations, creating way more fun than just another toy, and they do it all while sharing it together! :) Plus, the illustrations are so cute!

  2. Too Many Carrots - B is for Bookworm - Great book about sharing, and Rabbit learns that friends are more important than things—his carrots. I love the illustrations in this book and love that they show the story every step of the way!

  3. The Bear Who Shared - Norris the bear has been waiting patiently for the last ripe fruit to fall from the tree. But Tulip the raccoon and Violet the mouse have too . . . although maybe not so patiently. In fact, Tulip and Violet sniff, listen to, and even hug the fruit. Norris catches the fruit when it finally falls, and because he is a wise bear, he shares it and makes two new friends. A lovely simplicity of language and gorgeous artwork make this story of one of life’s first lessons perfect for the youngest listeners.

  4. Gossie - Meet Gossie, a small yellow gosling who loves to wear bright red boots—every day. One morning Gossie can’t find her beloved boots. She looks everywhere for them: under the bed, over the wall, even in the barn. Preschoolers will enjoy helping Gossie find her red boots and delight in where Gossie finally finds them.

Want to see 17 more children's books about helping others and sharing?

How about children's books about sharing?

Books About Helping Others and Friendship

A Sick Day for Amos McGee book
#1
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead and 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.

The Scarecrow book
#2
The Scarecrow
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by The Fan Brothers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie Next List Pick

“An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) present a gorgeous and poignant picture book about two unexpected friends and the special connection they share.

This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others—a tale that will inspire and delight children for generations to come.

All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.…

He saves the tiny baby crow.

Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?

“A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling.”—Kirkus

“A novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries.” —Publishers Weekly

Mira and the Big Story book
#3
Mira and the Big Story
Written by Laura Alary and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Fix-It Friends: The Show Must Go On - In the third adventure in Nicole C. Kear’s sweet chapter book series, it’s up to the Fix-It Friends to help the star of the school play prepare for opening night. Because reading isn’t always as easy as ABC. It’s a dream come true! Veronica’s playing the Queen of Hearts in the school play. It’s perfect: She gets to be a star and scream her head off! Even better, she makes an amazing new friend. Liv, who’s playing Alice, is a natural—it seems there’s nothing she can’t do! That is, until she reveals to Veronica that reading is really hard for her. To learn her lines, she’s going to need a lot of help. That’s the cue for the Fix-It Friends! With Jude working on sets, Cora on costumes, Ezra on stage lights, and Veronica by her side on stage, Liv is surrounded by just the right crew to help her get ready for opening night. After all, the show must go on! Told in Veronica’s charismatic, enthusiastic, and funny voice, The Show Must Go On is the third book in The Fix-It Friends series, which makes childhood issues accessible for chapter book readers. Includes a toolbox of expert advice on how to approach reading challenges! Don’t miss the other Fix-It Friends adventures: The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear! The Fix-It Friends: Sticks and Stones The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize The Fix-It Friends: Three’s a Crowd An Imprint Book Praise for The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear!: “Fears are scary! But don’t worry: the Fix-It Friends are here with step-by-step help —and humor too.”—Fran Manushkin, author of the Katie Woo series “Full of heart and more than a little spunk” —Kathleen Lane, author of The Best Worst Thing An empowering resource for kids — and they’re just plain fun to read.” —Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., Co-Director, Early Childhood Service, NYU Child Study Center “Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more.” —Kirkus Reviews “The humor is spot-on, and the stories pull kids in, teaching without preaching, encouraging children to be active problem-solvers in their own lives.” —Dr. Dawn Huebner, Ph. D., child psychologist and creator of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series

  2. The Eleventh Trade - From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

  3. Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree - This new adventure with Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends uses simple prose and radiant illustrations to shine a light on the joy of reading and the importance of working together. One day Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends discover a hollow tree in the middle of the forest. What can be done with one ordinary tree? “I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it,” Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn’t only for books. Little by little, one by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy!

  4. Pedro's Big Break - When Pedro breaks his arm racing his bike he has to cope with the frustration of wearing a cast for a whole month—but with the help of his friends he discovers that there are still fun things to do.

Want to see 31 more children's books about helping others and friendship?

How about children's books about friendship?

Books About Helping Others and Choosing Cheeriness

Bernice Gets Carried Away book
#1
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written and illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

How to Cheer Up Dad book
#2
How to Cheer Up Dad
Written and illustrated by Fred Koehler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A hilarious book about parent and child relationships for fans of Ian Falconer and Jon Agee–a perfect gift idea for Father’s Day and beyond!

Little Jumbo just can’t understand why his dad is having such a bad day. It couldn’t be the raisins Little Jumbo spit out at the ceiling or the bath he refused to take–after all, Little Jumbo’s dad knew he hated raisins and had already taken a bath that week! Luckily, Little Jumbo is such a thoughtful elephant that he decides to turn his dad’s bad day around with some of his–ahem, his dad’s–favorite things.

How to Cheer up Dad is a standout debut featuring a charmingly oblivious little elephant with serious pluck and staying power. It turns the parent-child roles upside down is a great book for dads and the kids who make them laugh.

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. The Little Engine That Could - A classic story now in a lap-book format has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original edition that will keep toddlers cheering on the little blue engine as she continues chugging along.

  2. Joy - Fern’s Nanna has not been herself of late. And when Mom remarks that all the joy seems to have gone out of her life, Fern decides to fetch the joy back. With a net, a box, and a bag to help her, she begins her search for joy. A wonderful and uplifting story that is guaranteed to bring joy to every reader.

  3. Pass It on - Here’s a fun idea: When you laugh or smile–pass it on! A story about giving, sharing, and joy. When you see something terrific, smile a smile and pass it on! If you chance upon a chuckle, hee hee hee and pass it on. Should you spot a thing of wonder, jump for joy and pass it on! So begins Sophy Henn’s ode to the excitement of sharing happiness with others. With a refrain that begs to be uttered before every turn of the page, children will eagerly read alongside their parents as they discover how wonderful–and fun!–it is to share the good things in life. After all, if you spread happiness to others, even on a gray, rainy day, when you least expect it, like a bolt out of the blue, a smile or a chuckle might be passed right back to you! This heartwarming, upbeat book is the perfect way to bring a warm ray of sunshine into every reader’s life.

  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 more children's books about choosing cheeriness?

Books About Helping Others and Food

Little Chef book
#1
Little Chef
Written by Elisabeth Weinberg and Matt Stine and illustrated by Paige Keiser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In honor of the special day, Lizzie wakes up super early, as any good chef should, to prepare the perfect meal for her grandmother, whom Lizzie lauds as the greatest chef in the world.

Sardines of Love book
#2
Sardines of Love
Written and illustrated by Zuriñe Aguirre
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

“Grandmother Lola hates sardines, but Grandfather Lolo loves them. He eats them every day. When she runs out of sardines one day, Lola can’t bear to think of Lolo going hungry. She decides to go fishing —with unexpected results. What on earth will Lola eat when she discovers that sardines are the only food on offer? And what will Lolo do when he finds out that his beloved Lola is missing?”—Dust jacket flap.

Maisy Goes Shopping book
#3
Maisy Goes Shopping
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

More for Maisy fans! In Maisy Goes Shopping, Charley and our favorite mouse make a trip to the grocery store to buy lots of goodies for lunch. Wherever they go and whatever they do, Lucy Cousins’s lovable characters are a delight.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cracks in the Cone - Allie must find a balance between being a boss and being a friend in this second delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series!

  2. The Last Chip - Percy is a little pigeon, and he’s very hungry. Life on the streets is tough, and every time he tries to get hold of a scrap of food, bigger, beefier birds bat him away. He’s about to give up when someone offers him her very last chip. A moving and uplifting story about struggle against adversity and the kindness of strangers.

  3. Rice from Heaven - Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea. “We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.” Yoori lives in South Korea and doesn’t know what North Korea is like, but her father (Appa) does. Appa grew up in North Korea, where he did not have enough food to eat. Starving, he fled to South Korea in search of a better life. Yoori doesn’t know how she can help as she’s only a little “grain of rice” herself, but Appa tells her that they can secretly help the starving people by sending special balloons that carry rice over the border. Villagers glare and grumble, and children protest feeding the enemy, but Yoori doesn’t back down. She has to help. People right over the border don’t have food. No rice, and no green fields. With renewed spirit, volunteers gather in groups, fill the balloons with air, and tie the Styrofoam containers filled with rice to the tails of the balloons. With a little push, the balloons soar up and over the border, carrying rice in the darkness of the night over to North Korea.

  4. Night Before Mother’s Day - It’s the night before Mother’s Day, and Dad and the kids are determined to show Mom just how much they love her. They whip up a cake from scratch, and offer a special coupon for a day at the spa, right in their own kitchen! Kids and moms will love reading this sweet story aloud together for a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Want to see more children's books about food?

Books About Helping Others and Animals

Goat's Coat book
#1
Goat's Coat
Written by Tom Percival and illustrated by Christine Pym
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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

Maisy Drives the Bus book
#2
Maisy Drives the Bus
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Who’s waiting at the stops? Preschool fans will be thrilled to climb aboard for a bus ride with Maisy.

Maisy and her friends act out the lively adventures young children have — or dream of having — every day. In Maisy Drives the Bus, Maisy visits each bus stop to pick up passengers. Here’s another very good reason to be crazy for Maisy!

The Giant Jumperee book
#3
The Giant Jumperee
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two of the world’s most celebrated picture book creators, Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury, team up for the first time in this jaunty animal fable for fans of Room on the Broom and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Rabbit arrives home one day to hear a loud voice coming from inside his burrow:

“I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m scary as can be!” shouts the stranger.

Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear, and Elephant come to help, but they’re no match for the mysterious, booming voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee? Find out in this new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg - Lola is proud of her amazing wool. After all, everyone on the farm tells her how beautiful she looks. She spends hours brushing her wool to keep it shiny and silky. Until one day when the weather gets hot, and all the sheep have to get haircuts—including Lola! She’s so upset without her wool that she runs away and hides by herself. And when her wool finally grows back, it’s tangled, messy…HORRIBLE! But hiding in Lola’s wool is a wonderful surprise, one that will help her realize that she doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect in order to be a friend…or to be extraordinary!

  2. Amy on Park Patrol - 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.

  3. Skunked!: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet - “When Travis discovers an abandoned baby skunk, he can’t help but bring it home and take care of it. Stinky, as Travis names him, settles in pretty well. But when Travis discovers Stinky’s litter-mate, Winky, who is in need of some help, things get complicated around the Tate house”—

  4. Holy Squawkamole! - This tasty takeonthe classic Little Red Hen story has a deliciously spicy twist! Yum, guacamole! That’s what Little Red Hen craves, and she could use some help gathering and mashing the ingredients. So she asks her friends, including an armadillo, snake, and iguana, to lend a hand. Every one just says “no.” But after Little Red Hen works hard to make the scrumptious fresh guac, all the animals want a taste. In a fun departure from the original tale, Little Red Hen cooks up a comeuppance for the slackers that they’ll never forget!

Want to see 6 more children's books about helping others and animals?

How about children's books about animals?

Books About Helping Others and Family

The Night Before Hanukkah book
#1
The Night Before Hanukkah
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The newest title in the bestselling Night Before series is the perfect gift for every girl and boy who celebrates Hanukkah!

It’s the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins, and everyone is excited! Each evening, the family gathers to light the candles and share holiday traditions such as playing dreidel, eating latkes, and exchanging gifts. The seventeenth title in Natasha Wing’s bestselling series, The Night Before Hanukkah captures all the joy and love in one of the most wonderful times of the year!

Daddy Honk Honk! book
#2
Daddy Honk Honk!
Written and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An arctic fox adopts a baby goose in this heartwarming read-aloud perfect for dads and their little ones

When Aput the fox finds an abandoned goose egg, he has no idea what’s in store for him. He doesn’t know anything about babies and he certainly doesn’t know what to do when the gosling hatches and mistakes him for its daddy. So he decides to find the gosling a home. But with each page turn, Aput learns more about caring for a baby and, with a little help from his friends, he discovers what a baby needs most is love.

Love Makes a Family book
#3
Love Makes a Family
Written and illustrated by Sophie Beer
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This fun, inclusive board book celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family . . . and that’s LOVE. Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Loretta's Gift - Meet a little girl named Loretta who tries to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin in this sweet picture book by bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller! Loretta and her parents are so excited that Aunt Esme and Uncle Jax are having a baby! When Gabe arrives, Loretta thinks he is the best baby on the block! Everyone showers him with gifts, but Loretta doesn’t know what to give. Can she think of the perfect gift for her baby cousin?

  2. Maximillian Villainous - For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day. Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance. Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

  3. The Dragonling - A boy and a baby dragon forge an unlikely friendship in this first book in the fantastical Dragonling chapter book series! Darek can’t wait for his first Dragonquest. Then he can be just like his older brother, Clep, the hero who brought down a Great Blue, the largest and fiercest dragon of all. Darek goes to admire the kill—and finds a dragonling peeking out of the giant dragon’s pouch. Scared but curious, he feeds the hungry baby and makes an unlikely friend. But to save the helpless Dragonling he must now venture into the fearsome Valley of the Dragons, risking his life to return his friend to his own fire-breathing kind.

  4. Fly Away - While in North Dakota helping her Aunt Frankie prepare for a possible flood, Lucy finds her voice as a poet with the help of her two-year-old brother Teddy, the rest of their family, and a few cows.

Want to see more children's books about family?

Books About Helping Others and Making Friends

The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd book
#1
The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd
Written by Nicole C. Kear and illustrated by Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Because no one likes to feel left out.

Friends are like sprinkles on a birthday cake—you can never have too many! So when a new girl named Margot joins the class, Veronica and her BFF, Cora, welcome her with open arms. Everything about Margot is super exciting— from her fashion designer mom to the perfect French she speaks—and everyone loves her. Especially Cora.

Before long, Cora and Margot have matching outfits and rhyming nicknames. Veronica feels left out, big time, but she won’t give up on her best friend without a fight. Trouble is, the harder she tries to hold on to Cora, the more she pushes her away—until the two besties end up in a showdown that hurts more than just feelings.

It’s a job for the Fix-It Friends, to be sure. But can the president of the problem-solvers accept help herself?

Snail Crossing book
#2
Snail Crossing
Written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a book that is as cheerful and charming as Snail himself, Corey Tabor tells a winning tale of slow but steady Snail, whose determination and kindness bring him the best reward of all: friendship.

When Snail spies a plump, crisp cabbage across the road, nothing will stop him—not a speeding car or even a hungry crow.

But then kindhearted Snail stops to help a crew of antsy ants in a rainstorm, and he loses his way. It looks like he will never get his treat—until Snail’s new friends come up with an ingenious idea. . . .

Samson in the Snow book
#3
Samson in the Snow
Written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever - Two mice, a village mouse and a field mouse, unwittingly care for the same pumpkin and have different plans for it until they finally meet.

  2. The Only Thing Worse Than Witches - Eleven-year-old Rupert cannot resist applying to an advertisement for a witch’s apprentice but quickly finds himself over his head with the young witch-in-training who desperately needs his help.

  3. The Very Very Very Long Dog - “Oh, Bartelby!” Bartelby is a very long and lovable dachshund who lives in a bookstore. He has a lovely set of friends who take him for walks through the city, but he has no idea that his bumbling backside leaves a trail of destruction and accidents behind him. Embarrassed that he has no control over his back end, Bartelby vows to never leave the cozy bookstore again. Can his friends help him find a way to help himself? This beautifully illustrated picture book features silly fun along with an important message: that we love our friends not in spite of their flaws, but because of them.

  4. Everything I Know About You - Misfit Tally is forced to room with queen bee Ava on the seventh-grade field trip to Washington, DC, and discovers several surprising things about her roommate—including the possibility of an eating disorder—in this timely new novel from the author of Star-Crossed and Halfway Normal.

Want to see more children's books about making friends?

Books About Helping Others and Rescue

Rocket Shoes book
#1
Rocket Shoes
Written by Sharon Skinner and illustrated by Ward Jenkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Jose dreams of flying. So he buys some rocket shoes and jets into the atmosphere. But all those spins, kicks, and airborne tricks cause such a ruckus that the mayor bans the shoes. Then, during a terrible snowstorm, Jose hears a cry: his neighbor’s in danger—and he can only help her if he flies. Will Jose dare to break the rules and save the day?

The Magic Fox book
#2
The Magic Fox
Written by Paula Harrison and illustrated by Sophy Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

When Sir Fitzroy and his soldiers march into town and demand that all magical creatures be captured and taken away, Poppy races to help a family of magical foxes escape.

The Werewolf Bully book
#3
The Werewolf Bully
Written by Blake Hoena and illustrated by Dave Bardin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When the Moon is full Frankenstein Elementary is disrupted by Harriet the werewolf and her gang of were-bullies, and tonight they have a new target, a mummy (who is actually a human boy wrapped in toilet paper)—so Brian the zombie and his monster friends come up with a plan to protect the human boy and defeat the bullies.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ellie Steps Up to the Plate - When Ellie joins a softball team, she quickly realizes that the sport is harder than it looks! Is she meant only for the stage, not the field? And what happens when Ellie goes in search of a stray ball in the nearby and finds an injured baby deer? Illustrations.

  2. Rainbow Fish to the Rescue! - Although his friends want to ignore the new striped fish in their midst, Rainbow Fish must decide whether to help him when a shark attacks in a sequel to the best-seller, The Rainbow Fish.

  3. Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue - A very unusual squirrel is spotted in and around Starwood Elementary School, and when Freddie uses his Zapato Power to chase it, he finds more than one opportunity to be a hero.

  4. James to the Rescue - “Marvin the beetle is going collecting with his family. All is good and well until Uncle Albert gets hurt. Marvin needs his human friend James’s help to save Uncle Albert before it’s too late”—

Want to see more children's books about rescue?

Books About Helping Others and Bears

Bear Stays Up for Christmas book
#1
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up—by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!

How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? book
#2
How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?
Written by Vanessa Bayer and illustrated by Rosie Butcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

You and your friend Bear are an excellent pair. But if your friend gets sick, And can’t do all the things that you two love to do… You may wonder—how do you care for a very sick Bear? When someone dear is dealing with illness, it’s difficult to know what to do or say. The actor Vanessa Bayer experienced this firsthand when she was treated for childhood leukemia. In her first children’s book, she offers gentle, reassuring advice that people of all ages will appreciate.

Bear Has a Story to Tell book
#3
Bear Has a Story to Tell
Written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell… Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Journey of the Pale Bear - A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family. The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England. Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom? Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.

  2. Willa and the Bear - More than anything, Willa adores her ragdoll, Rosie, made just for her by Grandma. But one day, on a bumpy sleigh ride to Grandma’s birthday dinner, Rosie falls into the snow and disappears. Willa is inconsolable—until, mysteriously, Rosie reappears at Grandma’s door. Can Willa find a way to thank the special friend who returned her doll? This picture book will warm the heart of every child who has ever had a favorite toy.

  3. Bruce's Big Storm - Bruce’s home is already a full house. But when a big storm brings all his woodland neighbors knocking, he’ll have to open his door to a crowd of animals in need of shelter-whether he likes it or not. Readers will love this next installment of the uproarious, award-winning Mother Bruce series.

  4. Bear Needs Help - A lumbering little polar bear has one shoe untied, and he needs some help! Sadly for him, though, the other animals are all too scared of him- the lemmings, rabbits, and seals all run away as he approaches them for assistance. What’s Bear going to do? Luckily, two plucky birds are more than happy to help out and offer advice — though probably not quite in the way that readers anticipate. In this sweet and funny book about asking for help (and receiving it), expectations are flipped in a simple but clever way.

Want to see more children's books about bears?

Books About Helping Others and Adventure

The Sea Pony book
#1
The Sea Pony
Written by Paula Harrison and illustrated by Sophy Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Grace works to save her beloved sea ponies from the evil Lady Cavendish in this sixth book in the adorable Secret Rescuers series. Grace loves the beautiful sea ponies that live in the warm, clear waters around her village. So when she finds out that cruel Lady Cavendish is sailing out to catch the ponies, Grace needs her new friends, Maya and Sophy, to help her save them. But will their rescue plan work? And will Grace ever be able to talk to her favorite sea pony?

The  Shadow  Thieves book
#2
The Shadow Thieves
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Ott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Alli must risk everything to save her new family from a rogue organization that is threatening the Thieves Guild’s existence—and the lives of all its members—in this high-stakes sequel to Rules for Thieves.Alli Rosco, former orphan and thief, is free after her disastrous Thieves Guild trial, which left an innocent woman dead while Alli’s partner-in-crime, Beck, fled.Now Alli is getting more than just a fresh start: her long-lost brother, Ronan, has come forward to claim responsibility for her and let her live with him on a trial basis. They try to mend the rift that started when Alli was dropped off at the orphanage while Ronan became a lawyer in Ruhia. But as determined as she is to make things work, Alli can’t seem to stay out of trouble.To make matters worse, Alli finds a surprise guest on her doorstep one night: Beck.He’s on the run and brings news of the Shadow Guild, a rogue organization that is trying to overthrow the current king of the Thieves Guild. Their friends are in real danger. And Beck needs Alli’s help one more time to bring the Shadows down.Once again, Alli is forced to make a hard choice: save her friends, or lose her last chance to have a true family.

The Stolen Crown book
#3
The Stolen Crown
Written by Eva Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Ellie Dray and her League of Archers are keeping Robin Hood’s legacy alive by stealing from the rich to help the poor, but when they discover someone is trying to steal the crown, they learn that some things may be out of their league. Ellie and her League of Archers are still on the run—living in Sherwood Forest, trying to protect the good parts of Robin Hood’s legacy by helping the poor in the neighboring villages and eluding the Baron’s men. But then King John dies unexpectedly and Ellie learns of a plot to kidnap the new king—who’s just a boy—and steal the throne. Can the League stop this scheme before it’s too late? Kirkus Reviews described League of Archers as a book that “doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes.” And Booklist said that it was a “highly enjoyable adventure story that should appeal to a wide range of readers.”

Honorable Mentions
  1. Little Tug - Little Tug may not be very tall or very fast, but when the big ships in the harbor need help, they know they can count on him to be there with a push, a pull, and a ride to safety. But what happens when Little Tug gets tired? This simple, endearing book with a charming retro feel and an emotional punch is the first book for Roaring Brook Press by the acclaimed author of Polar Bear Night (New York Times Best Illustrated book) and Where’s Walrus?

  2. A Con Artist in Paris (Book #15 of Hardy Boys Adventures) - Brother detectives Frank and Joe follow a crooked trail of artistic deception in the fifteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series. The Hardy Boys are visiting Paris! Joe is excited to check out all the street art he’s heard about. And Frank can’t wait to go to all the museums he’s researched. On their very first day in the city, the brothers are woken up early in the morning by fireworks. But these are no ordinary fireworks. They are a part of elaborate cover for the heist of a priceless artifact. What’s worse, the theft seems to have been orchestrated by Joe’s favorite street artist, an unidentified outlaw and activist that goes only by the name Le Stylo. Everyone seems sure that it’s him, but the Hardys are suspicious. From everything they know about Le Stylo, the crime is out of character. Sure, he makes a habit of provoking the authorities, but he’s an activist; not a thief. Could the artist known for his mystique have been framed? Frank and Joe are determined to find out. A race to find the real thief has Frank and Joe following clues that lead them all over Paris, where they hobnob with rich art patrons, travel in a car that can only be described as a small Batmobile, and explore the extensive Catacombs under the city. Deep in the world of artistic deception, the boys have to wonder, are they in over their heads?

  3. Medio Pollito - The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.

  4. League of Archers - Ellie Dray and her League of Archers are keeping Robin Hood’s legacy alive, but when Ellie is accused of Robin’s murder, she must learn what it really means to be a hero in this exciting adventure story. Twelve-year-old novice nun Elinor Dray has always idolized Robin Hood. She and her friends try to be like him by sneaking out to hunt on the lands belonging to the village Baron, stealing from him to feed their poor neighbors. They call themselves the League of Archers. While returning from a hunting trip late one night, Ellie meets a man in the forest—a hunter like herself. But suddenly the man is shot with a poisoned arrow. She manages to help him back to the abbey, but it’s too late and he dies. Only in his final moments, does Ellie realize that the hunter is Robin Hood, and that the abbess of the nunnery is Maid Marian. With her secret revealed, the Baron immediately arrests Marian. But he needs a scapegoat for the murder of Robin Hood, and who better than a young novice nun? He calls Ellie a hero, but the villagers don’t agree. A mob forms, vowing to hunt Ellie down and exact their own vengeance. Will Ellie and her League of Archers be able to find the real killer, free Maid Marian, and keep Robin Hood’s legacy intact? Kirkus Reviews described League of Archers as a book that “doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes.” And Booklist said that it was a “highly enjoyable adventure story that should appeal to a wide range of readers.”

Want to see more children's books about adventure?

Books About Helping Others and Love

Hand in Hand book
#1
Hand in Hand
Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2--16

Be my teacher from day one. Be my sky, my moon, my sun.

The bond a parent and child share is special. In this sweet and heartfelt picture book, renowned author-illustrator Rosemary Wells celebrates all that parents do with and for their children from the very beginning: talking and walking, feeding and reading, playing and dreaming, and more. Spectacular art and a powerful message make this a perfect gift.

Love Is Walking Hand in Hand book
#2
Love Is Walking Hand in Hand
Written and illustrated by Charles M Schulz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

A reissue of the classic gift book that defines love through the simple acts and moments of everyday life with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. This classic gift book was originally published in 1965 and is being reissued in its original format. Its timeless description of love and friendship is as important now as it was when the book was first published. It is the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or any day that you want to remind someone how much they mean to you.

Lucky for Good book
#3
Lucky for Good
Written and illustrated by Susan Patron
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The residents of Hard Pan, California, come together to help Brigitte and Lucky when the County Health Department threatens to close down the cafâe, and meantime Miles’s life is complicated by his mother’s return.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker (Yoga Girls) - “This clever twist on Cyrano de Bergerac will win over the hearts of middle schoolers, particularly those feeling shy or awkward themselves, as well as reluctant readers.” —Booklist What happens when the girl who knows everything . . . suddenly doesn’t? Middle school is a test, but Cici Reno has all the answers. She’s the go-to girl for advice. She’s cool, she’s funny, and she’s enlightened (thanks to yoga classes at her mom’s studio). So when her pretty BFF, Aggie, is too shy to speak to the boy she’s crushing on, Cici goes online and does the talking for her. The only problem is, Cici starts to fall for the guy herself! For the first time in her life, she doesn’t have a clue.

  2. The Night Before Father's Day - It’s the night before Father’s Day, and Mom and the kids have a plan to surprise Dad with a special gift. When Dad goes for a bike ride, everyone gets to work. Dad wakes up the next day to find his garage newly organized and his car sparkly clean. So, of course, he celebrates by taking everyone for a spin!

  3. I Got the Christmas Spirit - In the same feel-good style of I Got the Rhythm, this exuberant picture book explores the joys of the holiday season, once again illustrated by award-winning artist Frank Morrison. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting—CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!—and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows—BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish—for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

Want to see 7 more children's books about helping others and love?

How about children's books about love?

Books About Helping Others and Siblings

Allie All Along book
#1
Allie All Along
Written and illustrated by Sarah Lynne Reul
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Poor Allie! She’s in a rage, stomping and smashing, throwing a tantrum, and having a fit. Is there a sweet little girl hiding somewhere under all the angry layers? With the help of her understanding big brother, she’s able to calm down, bit by bit, and become herself again. The illustrations’ varying hues and vibrant colors capture the powerful feelings that young children can’t always express in words.

Sisters Are for Making Sand Castles book
#2
Sisters Are for Making Sand Castles
Written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Chris Demarest
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

You can climb a tree with a sister, or have a pillow fight, or ride the see-saw. A sister can keep you company in the back of the car, play dress-up with you, and help you when it’s time to clean up. A sister is a special someone to love. This sweet, lively lift-the-flap book is perfect for sisters and brothers to share. Children will delight in seeing all the fun things there are to do with a sister.

Will You Fill My Bucket? book
#3
Will You Fill My Bucket?
Written by Karen Wells and Carol McCloud and illustrated by Penny Weber
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“… the book takes us back to the very personal world of the child, powerfully reminding us that the emotional needs of children everywhere are the same. The beautiful and joyful illustrations by Penny Weber gently reinforce the message that we humans are diverse in many ways but our buckets—which represent our need for unconditional love and emotional security—are all the same… the act of filling others’ buckets helps to fill our own buckets, is… explored in other books in the Bucket Filling series.” —Beverley Paine, blogger on The Educating Parent A simple question, Will You Fill My Bucket?, is fervently asked by children from twelve different countries. Sweet rhyming prose and vividly captivating illustrations delight the senses and express the deep joy and love we hope for all children. Will You Fill My Bucket? and the responses given will touch the heartstrings of people young and old around the world. Bucket filling, the essence of being loved and loving others, occurs in those little moments in a day when you stop and just listen, cuddle, play, or spend time with a child.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Storm Whale - A captivating and beautifully illustrated story about three sisters who nd a stranded whale on the beach. Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down when I and my sisters walked to town . . . With a powerful, poetic text, wonderful to read aloud, and illustrations full of life and movement, this picture book about three sisters finding a stranded whale celebrates the majesty and vulnerability of nature and our place in it.

  2. Almost Famous - Ten-year-old Maxine is determined to become a famous inventor so she can take care of her younger brother’s heart condition, and she convinces a troubled classmate to help her.

  3. If You Had a Jetpack - A fun and creative answer to the question “what would YOU do if you had a jetpack?” perfect for fans of Boy and Bot and How to Train a Train. Having a jetpack is fun—if you know what to do with one. If you had a jetpack, you could: • Teach your brother how to build one too. • Demonstrate its usefulness at Show and Share Time at school. • Give your principal a ride home. • Fly south to visit your nana. • Visit the astronauts on the space station and help with anything that needed fixing. Join one inventive little rabbit as he and his brother put their new jetpack to good use! “An energetic, crowd-pleasing read-aloud that can be revisited again and again.”—SLJ “This vivid picture book will leave kids longing for jetpacks, while taking off on their own flights of fancy.”—Booklist

Want to see more children's books about siblings?

Books About Helping Others and Bravery

Come with Me book
#1
Come with Me
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do—her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own—walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world.

In this lyrical and timely story, author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître champion the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.

Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1) book
#2
Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1)
Written by Sheryl Berk and illustrated by Carrie Berk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Emma Woods knows just how to fix all her peers’ problems-or so she thinks-in this first book in the brand-new middle grade series Ask Emma, from the bestselling creators behind the Cupcake Club series! When 13-year-old Emma Woods gets that tingling feeling in her fingertips, she knows she’s on to a great idea-and starting an advice blog for her classmates at Austen Middle may be one of her most brilliant ones yet! Who better to give advice on friendship, style, school, and even crushes than someone who’s going through it too? But when Ask Emma goes live, she quickly realizes not everyone sees it that way. Suddenly, Emma is bombarded with peers asking her to help them postpone quizzes, get out of detention, and cut gym class short. This wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. . . .What’s worse, someone is posting hurtful comments, telling her to mind her own business. Despite her good intentions, Emma’s blog seems to only be getting her-and her friends—deeper and deeper into trouble. Will Ask Emma come to an end before it’s really begun? Or can Emma find her voice, write what’s in her heart, and truly stand up for what she believes in? This book will include an appendix on cyberbullying resources.

Bug Girl book
#3
Bug Girl
Written by Sarah Hines Stephens and Benjamin Harper and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sarah Hines Stephens and Benjamin Harper’s Bug Girl is a funny and action-packed middle-grade superhero adventure with a beautifully designed two color interior and sidebars featuring real bug facts! Amanda Price adores all things bug-related—from spiders to mantises—like, seriously loves them. Unfortunately most of her fellow sixth-graders do not share her invertebrate obsession. They’re grossed out by it. Especially Amanda’s ex-best friend, Emily, who thinks Amanda is creepy weird. But when mysterious invaders menace the town of Oyster Cove and take both Amanda and Emily’s mothers captive, Amanda unexpectedly develops amazing insectile powers! Newly equipped with antennae and a glistening exoskeleton she uncovers a secret that changes everything. Now Amanda has to act fast or her town and her mom are doomed! There’s just one complication…she needs Emily’s help. Suddenly Amanda’s worst enemy becomes her best ally, but working together may be even harder than saving their town from being squashed like a . . . well . . . BUG GIRL. She’s got the buzz. An Imprint Book “Bearing all the campy hallmarks and high drama of a classic superhero romp, this entertaining . . . tale also features interesting entomological tidbits throughout.” —Kirkus Reviews

Honorable Mentions
  1. Chip and Curly - Chip the potato chip is sure he has the annual Spud City Festival sack race in the bag—he’s been practicing all year. But when Curly the springy curly fry shows up, Chip knows he’s in trouble. This totally funny story is filled with clever potato puns—and subtle themes of sportsmanship and persistence.

  2. Dog on a Digger - Dog likes to ride along while his human companion works the big excavator at the construction site. But today, when they stop at the snack bar for something to eat, Dog’s little puppy friend goes missing. Luckily, Dog has a brave and ingenious idea for coming to the rescue — with the help of the excavator, of course! Incorporating bright yellow accents, Kate Prendergast’s wonderfully detailed pencil drawings tell a satisfying story of a loyal, resourceful, and clever pup. Two perennial favorites — canines and heavy machinery — come together in a charming wordless book sure to please readers of all ages.

  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 more children's books about bravery?

Epilogue

18 books that are just too good to leave off of our helping others list.

  1. The Rainbow Fish - The Rainbow Fish is an international best-seller and a modern classic. Eye-catching foil stamping, glittering on every page, offers instant child appeal, but it is the universal message at the heart of this simple story about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions that gives the book its lasting value. A CHRISTOPHER AWARD WINNER WINNER OF THE BOLOGNA BOOK FAIR CRITICI IN ERBA PRIZE AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ABBY AWARD WINNER AN IRA-CBC CHILDREN’S CHOICE #1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

  2. Llama Llama Time to Share - Mom of Boys - Sharing is a hard thing for children. This book is very cute and shows that sharing can actually be fun. It helps us make friends and have a good time with other people. Llama wasn’t sure about it at first when a new neighbor moved in, and especially when this new friend wanted Llama’s most favorite dolly. This book helps to even address the hardest part of sharing favorite toys.

  3. Will Bear Share? - An exciting and hilarious new series all about early childhood milestones from debut US talent Hilary Leung! One ice cream cone. One bear. One timeless question: Will Bear Share? Meet Bear. Bear has so much to give . . . but will she share? Find out in this surprising and memorable storybook all about friendship, compromise, and of course, sharing. A fresh and funny book in a new series of animal question stories by creative talent Hilary Leung that will keep little ones laughing . . . and sharing (when it’s appropriate!).

  4. Martha Doesn't Share - The Book Snob Mom - Sharing is hard, but it turns out that it can be a lot more fun than having all of your own toys but nobody to play with and no audience, and Martha discovers. The facial expressions in the illustrations beautifully capture how much effort it can take for littles to share, which I love, along with the realism in that even once you’ve decided you want to share… it’s still a learning curve :)

  1. Strega Nona's Harvest - A charming celebration of autumn’s bounty by perennial favorite Tomie dePaola Tomie dePaola’s beloved Strega Nona is back in a colorful picture book, perfect for fall and the changing seasons. With beautiful illustrations reminiscent of the artwork that won Tomie dePaola the Caldecott Honor for the original Strega Nona, this celebration of harvest and gardening will make the perfect addition to any Strega Nona collection.

  2. The Boy Who Wouldn't Share - The Book Snob Mom - This story has great cadence (which I’m a huge fan of) and the busy, quirky, somewhat wild illustrations give plenty of opportunities for finding hidden treasures that you might not initially notice on a quick read. Sibling rivalry, sharing and forgiveness blend beautifully into a funny story that seems just as common as the ordinary afternoon at home, and equally beautiful.

  3. How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? - The bestselling, award-winning team of Yolen and Teague present their fourth original dinosaur board book, a fun guide to friendship and playing nicely with others. What if a dinosaur’s friends come to play? Does he mope, does he pout if he can’t get his way? Does he hide all his dump trucks, refusing to share? Does he throw his friends’ coloring books up in the air? Time and time again, children are told to “play nice.” This brilliantly illustrated board book is packed with rhymes that will teach children how. Mark Teague’s laugh-aloud illustrations, along with Jane Yolen’s playful text, will show children that “playing nice” can be easy and fun. Perfect for parents to read aloud with their children, this book is as humorous as it is instructive.

  4. Sharing the Bread - Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. “We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread.” In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition. “A warm and wonderful holiday treasure.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred “A paean to the pleasures of Thanksgiving, with rhymes so musical readers may just burst into song.” —The Wall Street Journal “A delightful holiday book that shows the heartwarming tradition of food and family.” —Booklist

  1. Limelight Larry - Mr. Staccato - When you’re a peacock, you love the limelight. It’s what you do. Especially when you’re as handsome as Larry. Unfortunately, Larry’s book has made his friends intrigued and they decide to join in. Larry finds himself getting a little too cramped and decides that sharing the page with his friends is not what he had in mind for this book, so he forces his way front and center only to find his actions have left him feeling alone and scared. This book is silly and light-hearted. Regrettably, Larry isn’t the greatest of role models as he doesn’t quite learn his lesson in the end.

  2. Little Blue Truck - Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue. A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up—that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. With a text full of truck sounds and animal noises to read aloud, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.

  3. Manjhi Moves a Mountain - 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.

  4. Crab and Whale - Based on over 20 years experience by mindfulness for kids expert Christiane Kerr, this is a fun and heartwarming story that subtly introduces the skills of mindfulness to children (ages 2 - 8). Children will find themselves becoming more aware of their own bodies, breath, emotions and surroundings without even realizing it. Featured on Mindful.org ‘Seven Mindful Children’s books’ August 2018. Crab and Whale is carefully designed to help even the most energetic children find a moment of calm and focus. Also includes a special mindful breathing exercise and affirmation for children. -Introduces mindfulness to kids aged 2 to 8 -Based on 20 years’ experience working with children -Perfect for home and classroom use -Introduces theme of kindness From the reviews “A ground breaking book about mindfulness for small children” “Brilliant story and techniques… Recommended by a friend for my child struggling to get to sleep as he was worrying. Its a Great book, that you can read again and again. Definitely a book I would recommend.” “A truly heartwarming story celebrating kindness and gently introducing children to the life-changing power of mindfulness.” - Sir Anthony Seldon, former Headmaster & mindfulness in schools pioneer

  1. Malala's Magic Pencil - Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

  2. Grandma - Told in diary form, Oscar relates how his grandmother becomes less able to look after herself and enters a nursing home, with information about dementia to help children discuss their feelings and adjust to the changing relationship.

  3. The Breaking News - When devastating news rattles a little girl’s community, she struggles to know how to cope. Her normally attentive parents are suddenly exhausted and distracted, and nothing she does seems to cheer them up. At school, her teacher tells her to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways. She wants more than anything to help in a BIG way, but maybe she can start with one small thing instead… and then another, and another? Those small things can compound, after all, to make a world of difference.Both timely and timeless, this beautifully illustrated picture book from debut author/illustrator Sarah Lynne Reul touches on the themes of community, resilience, and optimism with an authenticity that will resonate with readers young and old.

  4. When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox - In this delightful story, by the same author who wrote When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, a boy is disappointed with his grandfather’s gift—until he learns he can use it to build exactly what he wanted with his own two hands, and a little help from grandpa, of course! You asked for a special house for your dolls; but instead Grandpa gives you a toolbox! What do you do? Launching it into outer space is a bad idea. So is feeding it to a T. rex! Instead, be patient, pay attention, and you might find that you’re pretty handy. And just maybe, with grandpa’s help, you’ll get that dollhouse after all. This clever story celebrates kindness, hard work, and community, as well as variety in gender expression: the male main character proudly engages in activities that might be considered typically girl (playing with dolls) and typically boy (building with tools).

  1. Maisy Cleans Up - The celebrated mouse is back — and she’s cleaning house! For Maisy, even cleaning up can be fun — if you have a friend stop by to help. In Maisy Cleans Up, Charley smells something delicious in Maisy’s kitchen but has to wait until the floor is dry. Time passes more quickly when he pitches in to pick up some toys, and washing the windows is a cinch with Charley inside and Maisy out. Now the floor is finally dry, and there are the treats, all ready to eat. Good job! A story for parents to love as much as kids!

  2. Here Come the Helpers - Look for the Helpers is a shaped board book that highlights the emergency vehicles that help make our world a better place. It’s a big, beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures. But sometimes emergencies happen. When they do, look for the helpers! Helpers are all around you. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and more crowd the pages of this shaped board book that teaches children to look for helpers wherever they go. With a search-and-find twist, each scene highlights different types of emergency vehicles in action. Look for the Helpers is an adventurous book that introduces little ones to the caring helpers who make the world safer.

Did you enjoy our helping others book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

Additional book lists you might enjoy: