Understand how to cultivate kindness and encourage compassion with these kindness picture books for kids.
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Kindness Picture Books
A truck driver opens wide the back doors of his vehicle, releasing a flock of birds to the skies in a flutter of wings. When the air settles again, the man peers into the truck and sees a shy bird, hiding timidly in the corner. The man kindly works to help the bird feel brave and patiently encourages him to fly, all while gaining an unlikely friend.
The Hide-and-Scare Bear by Ivan Bates
Bear loves to scare his forest friends by hiding in trees and jumping out at them. Rabbit decides to help Bear learn that being kind will help him make and keep friends for years to come.
Hey Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose
A boy about to squish an ant hears a voice from down below, and thus begins a back-and-forth between little bug and giant human about kindness and consideration.
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
Because Amelia smiled, her neighbor decided to send a gift to her grandson Lionel. And so begins a chain reaction of kindness that just keeps on giving.
The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Minna’s teacher asks the class to do kind things and draw them to present to the class. Minna notices that her family does lots of kind acts, and she can’t seem to decide which one to draw for class. In a moment of inspiration, Minna begins cutting, and her kindness quilt starts to take shape.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Mary gifts a bucket of blueberries to her neighbor, which sets in place a chain reaction of events as people pay it forward and keep the kindness going.
The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper
A grandfather passes on the wisdom of the Golden Rule to his grandson, helping him understand that it holds truth and principles that transcend countries, continents, and time.
In this story written for younger children, Pig is kind to Rabbit, Rabbit in turn is kind to Cow… and soon the whole barnyard has caught the contagious bug of kindness!
I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoet
A girl sees a classmate being picked on and left out and decides to do something about it, inspiring her fellow students, her school, and her community. This deeply touching tale is even more poignant for being told entirely in pictures.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
This sweet story teaches kids that everyone has a bucket that is with them every day. We get to choose if we fill people’s buckets with kindness or dip out of their buckets.
Pinduli is a young hyena with beautiful ears, a soft mane, and lovely stripes. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra tell her that her ears are massive, her mane is scraggly, and her stripes are wonky, so she sets out to change her appearance. With her disguise in place, the other animals no longer recognize her, and Pinduli has the chance to help them change their thinking and their unkind words.
A boy really doesn’t like his enemy–that is, until he gets to know him. A sweet story that teaches children to withhold judgment and give people a chance.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Jane Addams Peace Award, the message of this story about a changed bully will stick with children for a long time. After Chloe and her friends create such misery for new girl Maya at school, Maya quits attending. Chloe’s teacher begins to talk to the class about simple acts of kindness, and Chloe starts to hope for a second chance with Maya.
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards
Mrs. Goldman’s generous heart and hands are always busy knitting hats to give away. Her young friend Sophie helps by attaching pom-poms to the top of the hats. When the season changes and winter begins to blow in, Sophie notices that Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat of her own to cover her head. Sophie sets about making one, but her lack of expertise means that the finished product is full of holes, which frustrates Sophie until she remembers that she can fill the holes with her colorful pom-poms. Mrs. Goldman, whose kindness has helped to cover many heads, is touched by the kindness of her young friend.
How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen
This whimsical tale about dinosaurs learning to be considerate and thoughtful of others is sure to delight with its lyrical rhyming.
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
A mouse and rabbit have worked hard to plant their garden and are now ready to reap the benefits of their labor. But a flock of birds also want in on the spoils. Will mouse and rabbit decide to show kindness or selfishness to their neighbors?
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
Based on an African folktale, this story teaches that kindness is a valuable virtue that reaps great rewards. Mufaro has two daughters that both stun with their outward beauty, but only one has a heart to match. When the Great King announces he wants to choose a wife, which of the daughters will he choose?
Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos
Paulie may struggle to find two socks that are the same color each morning, but he doesn’t struggle with kindness! Although he is young, Paulie knows that he can still has the power to change the world, one simple act at a time. It might not be impossible to achieve world peace by age 8 after all.
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
In an act of reluctant mercy, a lion decides to forgo his snack of tasty mouse and let the rodent run free. Later, when the lion finds himself tied up in heavy ropes, the hero of the day is the very mouse the lion had almost eaten previously. Kindness is never wasted as this unlikely friendship will soon prove.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
A boy and his grandmother board a city bus, and the journey leads the two past several different people and areas of town. These encounters spark a discussion between the boy and his grandmother about the material things they lack, and the abundance of things that they do have. The grandmother then shows her grandson how kindness and generosity towards others is more important than the amount of money in your wallet.
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
One kindergarten class sets out to prove that kindness is cool. Soon, the group has been so kind to others that their kindness board doesn’t even fit in the classroom anymore!
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
Sally is the shortest girl in the class, but she never misses a thing. Sally often observes her classmates and notices that some of them are not being treated nicely. She knows that although she is small, she is never too small to stand for up for others.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Every day Amos McGee kindly looks after the animals in his care at the zoo, playing with them, feeding them, and checking in on their well-being. But when Amos gets sick and is unable to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide to return their friend’s past kindness and help him feel better.
A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Vernon the toad befriends a silent bird–presumably too timid to speak up. Vernon patiently and lovingly tends to his new friend, introducing him to others and showing him his favorite places, all without ever placing any expectations on the little bird.
One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
Farah is new at her school, and if that weren’t enough, she is the only Muslim student in her class. She wonders if she be accepted, or if her classmates will shun her? While on a field trip to an apple orchard, Farah wrestles with these questions and watches as a small seed of friendship is sown in kindness.
Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank
This collection of poems are written just for kids, and will help to inspire a generous and tender spirit towards people in our communities, whether they look like us or not.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
A story about the power of a simple act of kindness. At school, a boy often feels invisible and forgotten, like no one can even see him. When a new student becomes part of his class, the kindness of his new friend begins to change everything.
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
Mr. Hatch often feels left out and overlooked by his friends and neighbors. But one Valentine’s Day, a package appears on his doorstep with this simple message: “Somebody loves you, Mr. Hatch”. The note is enough to send Mr. Hatch into a tizzy of happy thoughts as he giddily tries to discover the sender of his special Valentine.
Maddi invites Sofia out over to her apartment, but when Sofia tries to grab a snack she realizes that Maddi doesn’t seem to have a lot of food to spare. Maddi is worried that Sofia will make fun of her and won’t be her friend anymore, but tender-hearted Sofia just wants to find the best way to help her friend.
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donna Bowman
Based on a true story. A former-slave-turned-businessman, William ‘Doc’ Key, fascinated thousands around the country with his amazing horse who could read, write, and do some simple math. Although many animal owners of the time thought nothing of being cruel to their pets, Doc knew the importance of kindness, especially to those who are dependent on humans for their survival. His care and kindness allowed him to inspire greatness in his horse, and he used his platform to promote kindness for people and animals while advocating for the end of racism.