Inside: Kindness, the quality of being warmhearted, friendly, and considerate, is an important character trait for kids to understand and develop. Discover 40+ powerful books for kids that encourage kindness, strengthen relationships, and do their part to make the world a happier place.
“Mom, may we please have a cookie?” my nine-year-old sweetly asked.
“Sure,” I replied, folding a shirt. “But just one…it’s getting close to lunchtime.”
My boys ran into the kitchen and within minutes my youngest was crying.
Sighing, I set down the laundry and started towards the kitchen to do damage control, but stopped in my tracks when I heard Colin say, “It’s okay, Owen. We will share it.”
Colin pulled two napkins out of a cabinet. He took the last chocolate chip cookie out of our vintage cookie jar and carefully broke it in half, setting a piece on each napkin.
“Half for you and half for me.”
Beaming, Owen replied, “Thank you, Colin!”
But This Is What Really Surprised Me
Later that day, the boys were building with LEGOs on the family room floor. When they both reached for the same sinister Captain Hook minifigure, I thought for sure an argument would ensue. Much to my surprise, my youngest pulled back.
“You can have it, Colin.”
I almost dropped the book I was reading. Who were these tiny humans, and what had they done with my kids?
Colin thanked his brother, and they continued playing until dinner.
When I was tucking Owen into bed later that night, I told him I had noticed his kindness with sharing the minifigure earlier that day.
“You kindly gave your brother the minifigure instead of fighting about it.”
“Well, he gave me half of the last cookie. You said that when someone does something nice for you, you should pass it on. So I passed kindness back to Colin.”
Oh, my heart!
I kissed the tip of his nose.
“You are exactly right, honey. I do say that. I’m proud of you for remembering.”
Related: Children’s Stories Based on Courage
40+ Powerful Books for Kids that Encourage Kindness
As a Mom and former Elementary School Counselor, I love using books as character trait conversation starters.
The books listed below share relatable, powerful stories of kindness that encourage kids to consider the needs of others. They illustrate how one simple act of kindness can change another person’s day for the better.
As you read, talk about how the characters in the story cultivate and spread kindness, then invite your child to share their personal connections.
Click through to read each book description and get a peek inside!
How Kind!Little BirdPinduliA Sick Day for Amos McGeeThe Invisible BoyWonderOrdinary Mary’s Extraordinary DeedHave You Filled a Bucket Today?A Home for BirdBill the SnowmanBecause Amelia SmiledThe Golden RuleChicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of KindnessHow to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping ThemKindness Counts: A Story for Teaching Random Acts of KindnessRandom Acts of KindnessHey, Little AntHow Full Is Your Bucket? For KidsIf You Plant a SeedThe Kindness QuiltCorduroyCookies: Bite-Size Life LessonsKindness Is Cooler, Mrs. RulerBaby Be KindWhat Does It Mean to Be Kind?Let’s Be KindOne Good DeedBrunhilda’s Backwards DayLast Stop on Market StreetStep Right UpFly Free!Maddi’s FridgeWe All Sing With the Same VoiceEach KindnessHarry The Happy MouseThose ShoesEnemy PieSomebody Loves You, Mr. HatchThe Giving TreeThe Princess in my TeacupStrictly No ElephantsKindness Ninja: Recruiting The TeamStick and StoneNon-Random Acts of KindnessThe Brand New KidThe Berenstain Bears Sister Bear and the Golden RulePaulie Pastrami Achieves World PeaceDo Nice, be Kind, Spread Happy: Acts of Kindness for Kids
One Last Book About Kindness
This list of books wouldn’t be complete without The Kindness Elves. This story introduces children to the joy of doing daily acts of kindness.
Kids Listen To What We Say
But more importantly, they watch what we do.
Every time we hold a door for a stranger, bring a meal to a neighbor, or share the last cookie, our kids learn about kindness. And when we do simple acts of kindness on a daily basis, they become a habit we don’t think twice about.
In addition to reading and talking about kindness, use these printable acts of kindness cards to create a habit of kindness in your home, raise happier kids, and instill the value of gratitude.
Have you discovered any books—either for kids or adults—that teach about and encourage kindness? Share your favorites in the comments!