Kindness is always in fashion, and these days we really need to make sure we’re dressing in our finest! The books on this list can be a great starting point for discussions with your children about how to be kind to themselves, to the Earth, and to others, whether they look and act the same as us or not.
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
If you plant a carrot seed . . . a carrot will grow. If you plant a cabbage seed . . . cabbage will grow. But what happens if you plant a seed of kindness . . . or selfishness? With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.
Finding Kindness by Deborah Underwood
Celebrate kindness in all its many forms. This is a powerful story of community, compassion, and generosity of spirit―perfect for sharing!
Lovely by Jess Hong
Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
Is there anything more splendid than a baby’s skin? Cocoa-brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. As children grow, their clever skin does, too, enjoying hugs and tickles, protecting them inside and out, and making them one of a kind. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family — and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.
Most People by Michael Leannah
The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too? Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day. Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the Goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. Most People is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.
Odd Dog by Claudia Boldt
Peanut is an odd dog. He doesn't like bones, he likes apples. In fact, he LOVES apples, and he worries that his next-door neighbor, Milo, might steal all the apples from his tree. But Peanut is about to discover something about Milo (and himself) that could change everything.
Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
Chester and Wilson had their own way of doing things, and they did everything together. When they cut their sandwiches, it was always diagonally. When they rode their bikes, they always used hand signals. If Chester was hungry, Wilson was too. They were two of a kind, and that's the way it was—until indomitable Lilly, who had her own way of doing things, moved into the neighborhood.
Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different! Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys living oceans apart can be the best of friends.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: 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. With a gentle text from the award-winning author of Sophie's Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.