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Selfishness: Books For Kids

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

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

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. 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 selfishness, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like This is Our House to popular sellers like Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.

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

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The Selfish Giant
Written by Oscar Wilde & illustrated by Jeanne Bowman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A beloved tale that has lasted for generations, The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s greatest writers, tells the tale of a very selfish giant, his wonderful garden, the curious and playful village children, and, of course, the little child who changes the giant’s heart. A beloved classic in English literature, The Selfish Giant may be Oscar Wilde’s greatest story of redemption and forgiveness.

Newly illustrated by renowned artist Jeanne Bowman, this fantastic edition of this famous tale showcases Wilde’s story in a pallet and composition that will delight and inspire both young and old and will become a family treasure to be read again and again.

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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Written & illustrated by John Steptoe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mufaro was a happy man. Everyone agreed that his two daughters were very beautiful. Nyasha was kind and considerate as well as beautiful, but everyone – except Mufaro – knew that Manyara was selfish, badtempered, and spoiled. When the king decided to take a wife and invited “The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land” to appear before him, Mufaro declared proudly that only the king could choose between Nyasha and Manyara. Manyara, of course, didn’t agree, and set out to make certain that she would be chosen. John Steptoe has created a memorable modem fable of pride going before a fall, in keeping with the moral of the folktale that was his inspiration. He has illustrated it with stunning paintings that glow with the beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.

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The Rabbit, the Dark, and the Cookie Tin
Written & illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Rabbit doesn’t want to go to bed, so he decides to kidnap The Dark and trap it in a cookie tin so he can stay up all night long. But then The Dark reminds Rabbit of all the good things that darkness brings. What about all the nocturnal animals? And surely you can’t have a yummy breakfast of toast and honey and fresh orange juice unless you’ve been to bed? But the BEST thing about the dark, of course, is reading a really good bedtime story!

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Summer
Written by Cao Wenxuan & illustrated by Yu Rong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

During a hot summer day in the grasslands, the animals race to claim the single spot of shade on the safari. The selfish elephant triumphs over the rest. The animals fight until they are inspired by a selfless act of love to offer shade to one another.

With lyrical text, bright and delicate art, and a die-cut surprise, Summer is an introduction to animals and a testament to the power of kindness.

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The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he’s fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he’s scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

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  • What Were You Thinking? - Strengthen executive function skills and empower impetuous young people with a humorous story about an impulsive third-grader. Teach students a strategy of four simple steps for stopping, thinking, and decision-making. Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses? Find out in this hilarious story by Bryan Smith.

  • Pig the Pug - Pig is a greedy and selfish Pug. He has all the bouncy balls, bones, and chew toys a dog could ever want yet he refuses to share with his poor friend, Trevor. Little does he know, however, that being greedy has its consquences. Join Pig as he learns to share - the hard way! Young readers will love the irresistbly quirky and funny illustrations that are paired with a relatable lesson of learning to share with others. For dog and pet lovers everywhere.

  • The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies - This classic Berenstain Bears story is a perfect way to teach children about self-control and the importance of compromise! Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Brother and Sister are having a bad case of the “gimmies.” Whenever they don’t get what they want, they throw a tantrum. But is this really the best way to handle their emotions?

  • Fate of Fausto: A Painted Fable - A

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It's My Tree
Written & illustrated by Olivier Tallec
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A squirrel decides to keep everyone in the forest away from a favorite tree (?It’s MY tree?), but hasn’t thought the plan all the way through! The squirrel loves a particular tree (?It’s MY tree?) and is happiest eating pinecones in its shade (?MY pinecones in the shade of MY tree?). But then the squirrel starts to worry. What if someone else decides it’s THEIR tree? What if that someone wants to eat THEIR pinecones in the shade of THEIR tree? Should the squirrel build a gate in front of the tree to keep the others out? Or maybe a wall? Yes, a wall. The squirrel will build a long and high wall that no one can get over or around. Only, now that there’s a wall, how can the squirrel know what’s on the other side of it? Maybe a better tree is out there, full of pinecones. Maybe even a whole forest of better trees … World-renowned author-illustrator Olivier Tallec has created a simple, funny, relevant fable for the modern age. The humor and exaggeration ensure that even the youngest children will recognize the greed, xenophobia and fear of missing out afflicting the poor squirrel. With tones of bright orange and yellow, the captivating illustrations bring the enormous-tailed squirrel’s rapid-fire range of emotions to vivid and hilarious life. This highly entertaining read-aloud would also make a perfect conversation starter for lessons on the importance of appreciating what one has.

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Fish Feud! (Squidding Around #1)
Written & illustrated by Kevin Sherry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
This wonderfully silly young graphic novel about fin-tastic friends and first fights is perfect for fans of Narwhal and Jelly!
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This is Our House
Written by Michael Rosen & illustrated by Bob Graham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Playground dynamics become testy as a willful child attempts to exclude everyone else in this simple, humorous lesson in human relations. . . . Deft and funny.” —THE HORN BOOK

George has a house made from a big cardboard box, and he says that no one else at the playground can come in. Not Lindy, because George’s house “isn’t for girls,” nor Freddie, because it “isn’t for small people.” Sophie can’t come in because, George says, “This house isn’t for people with glasses.” But when George leaves his house for a moment, everyone piles in, and on his return, George gets a taste of his own medicine. Aided by Bob Graham’s striking illustrations of an urban playground, Michael Rosen tells the tale of a little boy who makes a big discovery — that letting everyone into his playhouse is a lot more fun than keeping them out.

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