Teaching kindness and empathy can be tricky as our kids grow. In this post, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite picture books about kindness that are sure to inspire kids. These books are not only fun to read, but full of important lessons.
Reading is so important for kids as it helps their mind grow and flourish. Grasping difficult concepts, such as kindness, suddenly become easier as they read about it. Reading along with our kids is so good for them and should be part of their routine!
I remember when my kids were first learning about kindness – it was a hard one to grasp at first. But as we read about it more and more, suddenly there was this shift. (Okay, maybe not so suddenly, but you get the idea!) It was so comforting to see them acting with lots of kindness and empathy towards others.
Below you will find some of the best kindness books for kids. I’ve included links that take you to Amazon for easy purchasing – you can even take a peek inside! There’s also some short descriptions to make the decision making process easier. Unless of course… you just can’t help yourself and need to buy them all! 😉
Now, let’s get to the kindness books for kids!
Children’s Books About Kindness
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Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller – 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.
Listening with my Heart by Gabi Garcia – Along with Esperanza, your child can learn the importance of being a friend to ourselves! This beautiful book also touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and kindness. Includes mindfulness and self-compassion activities. Free resources to go along with the book can be found here.
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry – “Best friends Stick and Stone have opportunities to help each other in a funny story of kindness paired with a light anti-bullying message.”
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev – 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.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud – This book teaches kids how to be a bucket filler. When you’re a bucket filler, you make the world a better place to be! Perfect for children, parents, grandparents, and teachers who want to teach empathy, nurture kindness, and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, and community.
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio – We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
You Are Kind by Dr. Seuss – From Horton the Elephant—who taught us that “a person’s a person, no matter how small”—comes this sweet, small hardcover book of simple, unrhymed observations about the qualities of kindness.
What If Everybody Said That by Ellen Javernick – What if everybody chose to be kind? This book explores the power of words and shows kids that the things we say matter.
More Picture Books That Teach Kindness
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig – A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend… 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.
The Jelly Donut Difference 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! Bite into the power of paying it forward.
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët – 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.
Kindness Starts with You by Jacquelyn Stagg – Follow Emily through her day with family and friends where your child will learn how easy it can be to spread kindness!
Kindness Snippet Jar by Diana Alber – A story about a little snippet who wants desperately to live in a kindness jar because he learns that it brings kindness to the world, but can’t figure out the right words to help spread kindness. He asks several other snippets how they find their words and he soon discovers he has to do something kind for his words to appear! It takes him a while to figure out what to do, but when he finally gets his words it turns out pretty amazing!
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?
I Don’t Want to Be Nice! by Sue Graves – Finn is not very kind to his classmates, and he cares mostly about himself. He doesn’t help Ahmed or Lily. He shoves Molly and Freddy on the playground. In soccer, he doesn’t play fair. The children are mad at Finn. Then, when no one wants to play with him at recess, he feels sad and lonely. How will Finn find a way to make it all better?
Kindness is Cooler, Mr. Ruler by Margery Cuyler – 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! Count along with Mrs. Ruler’s class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?
How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer – 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.
Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden – Words are powerful. They can hurt or they can heal. It’s time to tell a special tale that will warm the hearts of readers of all ages. Seeds and Trees revels in the power of words. It explores their effects on feelings and emotions. And it does so though the journey of two different seeds
You, Me, and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders – This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy. Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion and kindness towards others. Showing empathy towards others is a learnt trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care.
Do you have any must read picture book recommendations for showing kids different ways they can show kindness and why being kind matters?