As teachers, we want our students to be kind to others. Books can help us send the message that kindness is important and something we value. Through these books, we can show students how to see the good in others, how to be there for other people, how to help others feel included, how to be kind even when it is hard, and how spreading kindness can come back around. These are some of my favorite kindness books for kids.
You can click on any of the covers below to learn more about each book.
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Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, and wonders: What does it mean to be kind? From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.
One Good Deed by Terri Fields
A young boy transforms his neighborhood by performing one good deed for his neighbor, which leads to a chain of kind and helpful actions.
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
In a little town on a wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package tied up with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch.
“Somebody loves you” the note says.
“Somebody loves me,” Mr. Hatch whispers as he dusts his living room. “Somebody loves me,” Mr. Hatch whistles as he does errands in town. “Who,” Mr. Hatch wonders, “could somebody be?”
I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët
This simple yet powerful picture book tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word.
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman. The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book. Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds
Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd. One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle. When he’s at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Can one child’s good deed change the world? It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world.
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she’s got a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach a new golden rule: KINDNESS IS COOL! Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom! From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference. Count along with Mrs. Ruler’s class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
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.
Kindness Counts by Bryan Smith
When Cade and his family find out their ice cream order was paid for by another patron, they continue paying it forward, and so starts the discussion of random acts of kindness. Cade takes this idea and runs with it, showing unexpected kindnesses to others. But when Cade’s dad would like him to donate some of his own toys, he has a hard time. Will Cade be able to learn the importance of being kind to others, even when it isn’t easy?
The Berenstain Bears Kindness Counts by Jan and Mike Berenstain
Brother Bear loves everything to do with model airplanes, whether it’s building, fixing, or flying them. But when he shares one of his prized planes with a younger cub will his kindness be returned?
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair become fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different; she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.
The Kindness Quilt by Elizabeth Wallace
Minna and her classmates have been asked by their teacher, Mrs. Bloom, to work on a Kindness Project. Mrs. Bloom wants them to do and draw and share an act of kindness. Minna and her family do lots of kind things, but Minna can’t decide which one is right for her project. Then she starts writing and drawing and cutting—and an idea for a paper quilt picturing many acts of kindness begins to take shape!
The Jelly Donut Difference: Sharing Kindness with the World by Maria Dismondy
Leah and Dexter are brother and sister. They don’t always get along. In fact, there are times they can be downright mean to each other. The ooey, gooey jelly donuts in this story are a testament to the power of kindness, caring and generosity. Find out if Leah and Dexter will ever learn to get along!
You can find a FREE activity for this book here.
The Potato Chip Champ: Discovering Why Kindness Counts by Maria Dismondy
Champ and Walter Norbert Whipplemoore are about as different as two kids can be, well, except for their love of baseball and potato chips. Champ had everything, but always wanted more. Walter had very little, but was never seen without a smile on his face. In the end, it is Walter and some crunchy potato chips that teach Champ a lesson about character that can’t be taught in school.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates
By the door there is an umbrella. It is big – so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall, or plaid, or hairy. Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.
Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee
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.
Listening with My Heart by Gabi Garcia
Kindness matters! Especially to ourselves. We talk to kids a lot about how to be friends to others. Not much about how to be friends to themselves. Yet, positive self-talk and self-acceptance help build emotional resilience, happiness and well-being. Along with Esperanza, your child can learn the importance of being a friend to ourselves!
What Does it Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio
Being kind means smiling at the new student in class, giving someone a compliment, and celebrating the differences in others. When the girl in the red hat finds the courage to be kind to the new student in class, her kindness spreads. Kind act by kind act, her whole community experiences the magical shift that happens when everyone understands―and acts on―what it means to be kind.
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath
Every moment matters. Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. In How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids, Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. Felix then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well. Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers and family members. Before the day is over, you’ll see how Felix learns to be a great bucket filler, and in the process, discovers that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own.
While these kindness books can be shared all year long, there are a few important dates to keep in mind.
Random Acts of Kindness Day
World Kindness Day
What are some of your favorite books about kindness? I’d love to check them out!