Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day! To help #MakeKindnessTheNorm, we partnered with the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to share 12 children’s books about kindness that offer parents and teachers an opportunity to explore kindness concepts — respect, caring, inclusiveness, integrity, responsibility and courage — with kids of all ages.
Preschool Books About Kindness
“A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka
Masterful wordless artwork captures a small dog’s roller coaster of emotions as she loses a beloved toy but unexpectedly gains both a new toy and a new friend in this award-winning title.
“Be a Friend” by Salina Yoon
A young boy, whose unusual way of communicating leaves him feeling lonely at school, finds an understanding new friend in this quiet story about discovering commonalities and accepting differences.
“Dee Dee and Me” by Amy Schwartz
A little sister grows tired of being bossed around by her older sister and finds a new assertive voice in this pitch-perfect offering that captures authentic everyday sibling squabbles and reconciliations.
Early Elementary Books About Kindness
“Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
Inventive illustrations that move from gray tones to full, bright color capture a boy’s loneliness and then joy when he finds friendship among his classmates.
“A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
In this Caldecott Medal-winning book, an exceptionally big-hearted zookeeper finds his role reversed after he falls ill and is cared for by his beloved animals.
“What Does It Mean to Be Kind?” by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Stéphanie Jorisch
After a young girl helps a new student feel welcome, kindness spreads throughout a community, one act at a time.
Middle Grade Books About Kindness
“Absolutely Almost” by Lisa Graff
A young boy with learning challenges navigates a new school with help from a new sitter and others in this heartfelt novel.
“The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao
This Newbury Medal-winner and No. 1 New York Times bestseller tells a story of life-changing friendship, humane treatment of animals and the power of art — all from a gorilla’s perspective.
“Raymie Nightingale” by Kate DiCamillo
Three girls, each navigating her own heartbreak, form a fierce, unlikely friendship over the course of a summer in this moving novel.
Young Adult Books About Kindness
“Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan
After her parents’ death, Willow finds a family of supportive friends who are as quirky and idiosyncratic as she is in this novel about resilience, community and kids (and adults) who don’t fit neatly into categories.
“Sorta Like a Rockstar” by Matthew Quick
Despite a tough life of uncertain housing with her alcoholic mom, 17-year-old Amber remains a self-proclaimed “princess of hope” as she cares for her rescue dog and grows deeply involved in her community.
“Marcelo in the Real World” by Francisco X. Stork
A boy who falls on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum faces an ethical challenge when he stumbles across revealing evidence at his summer job at a law firm.
This post originally appeared in our February 2020 issue.