Children’s Books that Boost Kindness

 In Family Time Tips & Tools, Infants, Pre-K, Preschool, Toddlers

Build Your Child’s Caring Skills with Great Family-Time Reads


Books offer your child the chance to think about how to treat others. When a character in a book is treated poorly – or when another character helps them out – children have the chance to think about how actions can help or hurt a situation. The books below are parent- and teacher-approved for beginning conversations about being kind.


The Nice Book
By David Ezra Stein

This simple, rhyming book gives toddlers the chance to understand what we mean when we say, “be nice!” It offers them clear actions for times that they experience tricky feelings and tough situations. From explaining that we should not hit to suggesting the idea of sharing, Stein gives little learners bite-sized snippets on dealing with emotions and choosing positive actions.



How Kind!
By Mary Murphy

Another great read for babies and toddlers, this board book shows how kindness can spread from one person to the next. After Hen gives Pig a surprise gift, Pig gives Rabbit a present too. This pattern of receiving and giving continues from Rabbit to Cow to Cat, all over a farm. After reading this book, families can talk about all the little ways they can both give and receive kindness at home.



The Lion and the Bird
By Marianne Dubuc

When a lion finds an injured bird, the lion chooses to welcome this new friend into its house. By demonstrating kindness, the lion also gains a friend. This sweet, gentle story also depicts the bird returning to its flock and, later, visiting the lion. With limited text and expressive illustrations, this book gives families many launching points to talk about ways we can care for those in need and manage friendships.



A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead

A zookeeper who normally cares for all the animals is too sick to go to work. Returning the kindness that he so often gives them, the animals come visit him and work hard to help him feel better. This book gives children a lovely example of how, when we are kind to others, they often mirror those actions back by being nice.



Last Stop on Market Street
By Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson

A young boy, C.J., and his grandmother take the bus home. On the route, C.J. asks his grandmother many questions – about people and things he sees. She patiently answers each question, giving explanations that are loaded with empathy and respect for others. Her answers, as well as their final stop at a soup kitchen, give families a great way to discuss being kind to our neighbors and seeing that everyone has skills and stories.



Be Kind
By Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill

Readers will discover how everyday experiences give them a chance to be kind. From spilled juice to mean classmates, the book shows how little actions in meaningful moments can mean a world of difference to our peers. Often, topics like kindness can feel abstract to little readers, but this book gives concrete and clear examples and offers plenty of opportunities to pause and chat about our own experiences.



Want to explore more books on kindness? The Indianapolis Public Library staff are wonderful partners in discovering perfect books for little readers. Learn more about the library and their efforts to boost literacy with early learners, including the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program and the My First Library Card, on their website.


Nurture your early learner’s literacy skills! Check out these blog posts about building early literacy:
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