In this day and age, it might seem like kindness is a thing of the past. Even pulling out the books you loved as a child – with their casual racism and blatant xenophobia – may not be something you want to pass along to your own kiddos.
It can be hard to find books that you want to read once at bedtime, never mind fifty or sixty times in a row, but don’t worry – I’ve got your back! Here are 13 books that will show your kids the benefits of kindness.
#13. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (illustrations by Erin E. Stead)
This sweet story about a zookeeper who takes the time to get to know each and every one of his animals explores how that kindness is repaid when he takes a sick day and the animals come to visit him. The tale is a great visualization about why the way we treat people matters, both to us and to them.
#12. The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
Nikolai strives to be a good person by asking three questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? And what is the right thing to do? With the help of three animal friends, he discovers the answers: the right time is now, the important one is who you’re with, and the right thing to do is good. It teaches the importance of kindness as a character trait, as well as the rewards of helping others and being present in the moment.
#11. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (illustrations by E.B. Lewis)
This melancholy story is about a girl named Chloe, and how she treats Maya, a new girl at school. Chloe isn’t very nice, excluding Maya from groups and games, but she never gets the chance to apologize or change her behavior before Maya moves again. It doesn’t have a happy ending, but that’s a lesson that children need to learn, too – not only do our actions affect others, but sometimes we don’t get the opportunity to fix things.
#10. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud (Illustrations by David Messing)
This book introduces the idea that everyone has an “invisible bucket” that is used to hold good thoughts and feelings about yourself. When you do something kind for someone else, it helps keep that bucket full. It’s good for kids to have a visual representation about how their words and actions affect others.