Books can be a powerful tool to help children of all ages learn about positive character traits. While it feels like these lessons often go unheard when given by parents and teachers, books are a subtle way to reinforce things like sympathy and empathy. The following are just a few of our favorite books that will help inspire kindness and grow compassion in children.
The Smallest Girl In The Smallest Grade – Justin Roberts
Sally McCabe is the smallest girl in the smallest grade, but that doesn’t stop her from noticing everything from the number of keys on the janitor’s key ring, to the bully on the playground. When she decides to make herself heard, Sally learns that sometimes the smallest girl can make the biggest difference. Ages 3-5.
A Sick Day For Amos McGee – Philip C. Stead
Caldecott winner A Sick Day For Amos McGee follows zookeeper Amos as he takes care of the various animals in the zoo day in and day out. However, one day Amos is too sick to go to work; he is surprised when the animals show up to take care of him for the day. This gentle story emphasizes friendship, kindness, and loyalty. Ages 3-6.
Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt
Two children ride the subway home from school one day, unaware they are thinking the same things and asking the same questions about the diverse people around them – who would I be if I were someone else? Gorgeously illustrated, Why Am I Me? invites readers to appreciate the differences that make us unique – and the similarities that bind us together. Ages 4-8.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed – Emily Pearson
Mary is an ordinary girl on her way home from her ordinary school to her ordinary house when she discovers some ordinary blueberries. But when Mary picks the blueberries for her neighbor, something extraordinary begins to happen. This one deed starts a chain reaction of kindness that spreads around the world – and will inspire children to do the same. Ages 4-12.
Come With Me – Holly M. McGhee
The world can seem like a scary, mean place to children – especially when all they see is hatred and fear on the news. When a little girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place, he responds with a simple “Come with me.” What follows is an inspiring story that will help children spread kindness wherever they go. Ages 5-9.