The world will always need kindness and empathy, and we can teach our children these vitals skills in many ways including through reading books together. Here’s a selection of beautiful reads that celebrate kindness and help teach children the concept of being kind to others and themselves.
The Big Umbrella
By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is 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. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.
This is a sweet, timeless picture book which addresses the themes of inclusion and tolerance.
You Hold Me Up
This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each otherï½s well-being in their everyday actions. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens.
Harry the Happy Mouse
A best-selling children’s picture book about kindness. Harry The Happy Mouse is a cheerful, traditional story about a mouse called Harry who lives in the beautiful English countryside. Harry helps a Frog, but asks the Frog to repay the kindness to someone else. We follow the good deed as it moves through other characters, who each selflessly help someone else, making themselves feel happy in the process! We learn that a little bit of kindness can go a long way
We’re All Wonders
The unforgettable bestseller Wonder has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure.
The Invisible Boy
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. This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.
Stick and Stone
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favour? A funny story about kindness and friendship with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand.
Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?
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. 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.
We All Sing with the Same Voice
“We All Sing with the Same Voice” was aired and continues to be seen on Sesame Street. The book of the lyrics is a joyous read-aloud that embraces the notion that no matter where children live or what they look like, they’re all the same where it counts—at heart!
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey
This heartwarming true story about one lost cat’s journey to be reunited with his refugee family gently introduces children to a difficult topic and shows how ordinary people can help with compassion and hope.
Strictly No Elephants
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.
Horton Hears a Who
‘A person’s a person, no matter how small..’ Horton the elephant sets out to save the inhabitants of a speck of dust, in this classic and hilarious tale about friendship and respect, from the inimitable Dr. Seuss.
Listening with my Heart: a story of kindness and self-compassion
When Esperanza finds a heart-shaped rock, she sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world. But when the school play doesn’t go the way she’d imagined, will she remember to give it to herself?
In today’s hyper-competitive world, kids often internalise the message that their worth is attached to their accomplishments and that messing up is something to be ashamed of, rather than a normal part of life, which can lead to critical self-talk.
Listening with My Heart reminds us of the other golden rule—to treat ourselves like we would treat a friend.
This beautifully illustrated book that touches on the universal themes of kindness, empathy and self-compassion. It includes kid-friendly self-compassion / mindfulness exercises.
What goes around comes around in this farmyard tale about the contagiousness of kindness.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
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 favour.
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade.
But Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground.
One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference.