Kindness books for kids are the key to my heart, especially in January when we are on the eve of Valentine’s Day, The Great Kindness Challenge, and all the warm fuzzy things in between. Some books are better than others, of course, but I feel like this collection of stories is a great variety of teachable moments, major discussion potential, and tons of possibilities for extensions (crafts, writing, etc.) Enjoy!
Kindness Books to Teach Perspective-Taking: Lunch Every Day
Lunch Every Day is the story of a boy who gets picked on daily by a bully who steals his lunch. One day, the entire class is invited to the boy’s birthday party–including the bully. His decision to go changes everything.
This is a heart-warming, but very real and raw look at both sides of bullying. It creates a great conversation about creative ways to combat meanness and how kindness really does prevail.
I also want to point out the importance of not over-using the term ‘bully.’ It’s easy to use because it’s the most universal term to describe unsavory behavior but it’s also a buzzword that is overused now, IMO. ‘Bully’ refers to “a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.” (Oxford Languages). If not habitual, it’s simply being unkind. You can also use words like ‘intimidator’ in place of the word bully to signify isolated acts of meanness.
Kindness Books for Giving People Second Chances: Enemy Pie
Similarly to Lunch Every Day, we learn in Enemy Pie that things aren’t always as they seem. In this story, two boys begin as alleged enemies. Through the actions of a strategic playdate and very creative father, the two boys learn they have more in common than they thought.
This book is great for extensions. You can use this pack here to incorporate reading responses and other friendship activities. My favorite is to have students write a recipe for friendship. It’s a great way to talk about the qualities of a real friend.
Kindness Books That Rhyme: Kindness is My Superpower
This rhyming book not only has adorable illustrations, but it really speaks to kids and how to navigate kind and unkind choices. In this story, the character says something unkind to a classmate and regrets it. To fix the situation, he vows to be as kind as possible. Along the way he realizes it’s more enjoyable and rewarding to be kind than mean. This book also comes with a list of kind deed ideas in the back!
Kindness Books That Will Make You Cry: The Potato Chip Champ
I have one warning about this book and that is: bring the tissues. If you are the kind who gets emotional reading books aloud, this one is a tearjerker in the best of ways! In this story, Champ dislikes another boy, Walter on his baseball team. Champ doesn’t treat him very well, but at the end of the book Walter does something so kind that it opens Champ’s eyes to what really matters. It’s also the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
This book is ripe with lessons to teach your students, and it’s a really great way to talk about the misconceptions we sometimes have and why it’s important to be open-minded.
Show the power of an apology: The Power of One
Teaching Random Acts of Kindness: Kindness Counts
Watch how kindness grows: One Tiny Dot
Integrate Math: Kindness Counts 123
A Cute Visual Representation of How Kind Deeds Spread Love: Plant a Kiss
Explore the Dos and Don’ts of Kindness and Friendship: Kindness Grows