Recently, the whole world celebrated a global holiday called World Kindness Day. This holiday is all about celebrating kindness and small acts of generosity that can change the world. Schools around the world promoted kindness and encouraged their students to find small ways to show kindness to everyone they meet. Kindness shouldn’t be limited to one day a year! Encouraging kindness year round has the potential to radically change lives.
Books are a wonderful way to teach lessons of kindness because entertaining stories stick with kids long after you’re done reading - especially since children tend to relish hearing the same story over and over again. Books are also effective teaching tools because they often contain characters that are similar to readers and who are going through similar things most kids experience. Using books to teach kindness helps make the topic come alive for kids and gives them opportunities to apply what they read about to their own lives. Further, reading benefits the whole child! Children who are read to and who read to themselves activate brain development, which spills over into all areas of their lives and academic career.
Books hold enormous power to get the kindness movement started and these ten books are must-haves if you’re looking to teach your children, grandchildren, or students about the life-changing gift of paying it forward by being generous.
A Little Spot of Kindness by Diane Alber
Children will learn that small acts of kindness, such as saying please and sharing, are very powerful tools for making friends and spreading love.
Grow Kind by John Lassser
While Kiko tends to her vegetable garden, she also cultivates positive relationships and shows kindness by sharing the fruits of her labor with her neighbors.
Children learn by example and this book demonstrates kid-friendly ways for them to embrace diversity, celebrate differences, and display generosity, sensitivity, and empathy.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
This book serves up the perfect recipe for turning an enemy into a friend - play together for the entire day! Along the way, kids learn how to deal with conflict and forgive others.
Monty the Manatee by Natalie Pritchard
Monty is new to school and his classmates are not kind to him. When danger comes to the classroom, Monty shows bravery, and along the way, teaches important lessons about kindness.
Sprinkled with Kindness by Benjamin Lee
Sprink is a messy donut and the other donuts aren’t exactly kind to her because of it. As the story unfolds, the other donuts learn the Golden Rule and that it’s always a good idea to treat others the way they want to be treated.
The Power of Kindness Through the Eyes of Children by Ruth Maille
Children learn the impact of the ripple effect with this book. It teaches them that the choices they make each day, big or small, have the power to negatively or positively affect others around them. Kids learn that it is always better to choose kindness.
Children Who Dance in the Rain by Susan Justice
This 2023 Children’s Book of the Year Award tells the story of Sophie and the journey she took to India. Along the way, Sophie learns that happiness does not come from things. Instead, it comes from having a heart filled with gratitude and kindness that one spreads to those around the world.
Who’s New at Lou’s Zoo? By JoAnn M. Dickinson
Lou, an alpaca, is preparing for a new human to come live in his “zoo,” but he’s worried whether the new inhabitant will fit in or not. The story teaches readers that acceptance and kindness is always the way to go because it leads to making new friends.
Creating Kindness: How One Small Painted Rock Can Make a Big Difference by Rebecca Greene
One day Huckleberry Hedgehog and Olivia Owl decide to show some neighbors kindness by painting a few rocks for them. They decorate the rocks with messages of happiness and joy and start a kindness movement.
Sara Ipatenco is an award-winning 1st-grade teacher at a private school in the Rocky Mountains. She loves to write, read, sew, and travel. She spends most of her time away from the classroom with her husband, two children, and their dog named Oreo. They love taking long walks, watching movies, and playing board games together.