Kindness and empathy are two main things that should be taught to our children. It helps make the world a better place by breaking the barriers of races, cultures, and socioeconomics.
Not only do kindness and empathy help others, but they also keep the practitioner happy. As Dalai Lama once said:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Therefore, parents or teachers must teach their children these two qualities while raising them and believe that they’re capable of spreading goodwill just as much as someone else.
The following 15 children’s books are a great way to inspire your children to be kind and empathetic towards others.
1. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle:
Little Blue Truck is the story of a small pick-up truck, Blue, who gets stuck while pushing a dumpster out of a muddy puddle. Unfortunately, Blue gets stuck in the same puddle. His friends came to know that Blue got stuck in a puddle. So, they rushed to set him free.
The book’s central idea is to teach kindness and empathy towards others.
2. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig:
No one noticed Brian at school. No one called him at a party, played games, or even let him be a part of their groups at school. Then, one day, a new boy named Justin came into class who made Brian felt seen. Justin and Brian made a group and started working on their school project, where Brian got a chance to shine.
The Invisible Boy teaches how a simple act of kindness can change someone and help them feel good while staying in their comfort zone.
3. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud:
This book conveys the message that everyone has an invisible bucket. These buckets hold up your good thoughts and what you feel about yourself. Every good act helps you fill someone else’s bucket.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? visually represents how important it is to show kindness towards others. Its primary focus is on social interactions and how our actions affect other people. It helps in developing empathy within kids towards others.
4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein:
This book tells us the story of a boy and a tree who loved each other a lot. Unfortunately, the little boy starts taking part of the tree until the tree remains no more. The remaining is only the stump. At the end of the book, the young boy (who turns old) needs to sit. So, he and the stump sit together.
The Giving Tree conveys the message how you can show continual generosity and kindness to someone. This book also teaches your children to maintain a healthy and mutually beneficial friendship.
5. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee is the story of Amos, a zookeeper, and his friendship with the animals at the zoo. The animals loved his company and enjoyed spending time with him. Then, all of a sudden, Amos got too sick to make it to the zoo. So, all his friends decided to return the favor.
This story teaches how kindness can affect someone and how anyone can repay it, one way or another.
6. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller:
New York Times bestseller, Be Kind highlights the event when Tanisha spills apple juice on her dress. But, on the other hand, her classmates make her feel better and comfortable. They take Tanisha to play and even stand against the one who used to bully students.
The moral of the book highlights what kindness is and how any act, big or small, can make a big difference.
7. Chocolate Milk, Por Favor by Maria Dismondy:
This is the story of a boy named Gabe. It was his first day, and he was crying when his mother dropped him off at school. Gabe couldn’t speak English properly and lacked confidence.
One of his classmates, Johny, used to bully him and call him different discouraging words like “crybaby”. However, Gabe soon became a part of the school community through his kind behavior and motivation of other classmates.
Chocolate Milk, Por Favor emphasizes the problems faced by an immigrant and how some acts of kindness can add to your personality.
8. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena:
Winner of the 2016 Newberry Medal, Last Stop on Market Street is the story of a young boy, CJ, and his grandmother. While they were on the bus, CJ continuously asked “How come…” questions from his grandmother about everyone and everything. His grandmother answers each question patiently until they get off the bus to stop at a soup kitchen.
This book reminds us that everyone has their own story, but we should be kind and open-hearted to hear their story.
9. I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët:
A couple dives into the problem of bullied students and how it emotionally affects the victim. They highlight the helplessness and anger that arise when someone sees a mistreated classmate.
This book is the perfect example of the importance of kindness and the wonders of having a good friend.
10. Horton Hear a Who by Dr. Seuss:
The story is about the friendship of Horton, an elephant, and Who, an ant. Whenever Horton hears Who, it leaving other animals confused about what are they talking about. After all, Who is one of the tiniest species, and Horton’s big ears can hear even the slightest noise.
Horton Hear a Who is an easy way to convey the message to children that size doesn’t matter. You should always stand with those who can’t defend themselves.
11. The Starkeeper by Faith Pray:
It was a cold winter night. Loneliness and darkness had covered the city. A little girl discovers a fallen star somewhere from inside the dark. The star’s light is “beautiful, warm, and perfect” – narrated by the little girl. But she was confused about how to take the star with her. So, she wrapped it in her sweater and started moving towards home.
Soon, she saw that the star’s light was getting dimmer with time. She understands that sharing brightens the star, so she does good deeds. Eventually, it led her to start a chain of kindness.
This book is a powerful, symbolic tale about how being kind can make a world better with vibrant illustrations.
12. Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson:
The story is about a little girl and how her small act of kindness brought joy and color to the whole neighborhood. Her father, distracted due to errands, pays little attention to her as she finds some flowers bursting from the pavement.
Soon, her hand was full of blooming flowers which she started to give away – to a man sleeping on the sidewalk, a dog, and her mother and brother when she reached home.
Sidewalk Flowers is an emotional yet powerful story of a girl’s silent observations of the scenarios and how they motivate her towards kind acts.
13. The Perfectly Perfect Wish by Lisa Mantchev:
Waiting for her school bus at the stop, a little girl looking around the neighborhood early morning finds something shiny in the bushes. It’s a wish but only one. The confused little girl didn’t know what to wish for, so she consulted her van driver.
The driver replied, “Be careful. It should be a perfectly perfect wish.” But the little girl was confused about what could be a perfect wish, either winning ribbon at a horse show or a short trip to Turkey? Finally, after thinking for a long time, she realized that the ideal wish could be the one that can be shared, so she made a wish that everyone’s wishes come true.
This is a gentle yet powerful storybook to teach your little one compassion, empathy, and kindness.
14. The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts by Trudy Ludwig:
Children fight in school playgrounds on toys, turn on rides, etc. But, it’s not ok to shout at your classmate. The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts is the story of a girl her classmate used to bully, but no one stood up for her except one girl. When she saw her fellow crying, she raised the hand of friendship and comfort towards her.
Though this is a small act of kindness, everyone slowly comes together, forming a beautiful garden – even the girl who shouted was standing with a flower to apologize.
The author has created a simple yet meaningful story about how a small act of kindness can reward you unpredictably.
15. The Happy Woods by James Malloy:
The Happy Woods is the story of a little girl who used to study in the forest by taking shelter under a big tree. Soon, she becomes friends with the tree who used to explain how friendship, the act of kindness, and empathy play an important role in living a peaceful life.
This book is based on a simple saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” A true friend never betrays you in your hard times. On the contrary, he always guides you towards the right path. When you perform kind acts, you’ll feel the world is transitioning into a happy place.
Reading is important for everyone, and parents need to keep their children involved in books that teach kindness and empathy towards others. It’s about helping your children learn life lessons in an accessible and engaging way.
If you have not added these books to your children’s daily reading routine, now is the perfect time to add them. Through these books, you can teach your children how to make the world a better place with kindness.