The best books about kindness

Sarah Williamson Author Of Elevator Bird
By Sarah Williamson

The Books I Picked & Why

I Like You

By Sandol Stoddard Warburg, Jacqueline Chwast

I Like You

Why this book?

I love this charming book about the kindness that comes with friendship. Pen drawings accompany the text, which is at certain times silly, other times fun, and at the best of times poignant. Point in case:

“And I like you because

When I am feeling sad you don’t always cheer me up right away

Sometimes it is better to be sad."

I’m not sure every child would understand the significance of that sentence. But the words at some point in their lives will come back around. The book lists reasons why we like our friends, namely because they offer us kindness and empathy when we are down. And when we are up, they take pleasure in the moment right alongside us – a valuable lesson for kids.


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Thank You, Omu!

By Oge Mora

Thank You, Omu!

Why this book?

One day Omu cooks a thick red stew in her apartment. It smells so delicious that her neighbors and people on the street can’t resist knocking on her door to ask about the delicious scent. Omu generously gives away bowl after bowl to people of all stripes until she has no more stew, not even a bowl for herself. All ends well though and the author drives home the point that kindness begets kindness. The use of repetition in the book works well for children and the illustrations are gorgeously done in what looks like acrylic paint and collage style.


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Last Stop on Market Street

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street

Why this book?

This story follows a grandma (Nana) and her grandson (CJ) as they take the bus to a lower income neighborhood in order to work/volunteer at a soup kitchen. At first CJ doesn’t understand why they do the things they do but his Nana shows him by example all of the beautiful things out there when you open your eyes and listen. She has a brilliant line which I think might go over some kid’s heads, “Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful.” But that’s ok. Hopefully, they'll figure it out later. 


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Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

By Jory John, Erin Kraan

Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Why this book?

Jory John is a hilarious writer and this book is no exception. A bear forgets something but he can’t figure out what (it’s his pants). We see him in his white cotton underwear, but it’s never actually stated so while he mulls over the problem to other animals in the forest, the reader laughs waiting to see what will happen. No one tells him what the problem is. But his good friend, Anders puts on underwear too. He proclaims to the other animals in the forest that it’s cool and the new style. A dose of kindness goes a long way in this funny and surprising tale.


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The Suitcase

By Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

The Suitcase

Why this book?

This book is extremely timely in that it alludes to welcoming all strangers, no matter what the circumstances. A tired stranger/animal arrives at the scene with a mysterious suitcase. Three animals look at him curiously and don’t believe him when he says there is a teacup and a table in the suitcase. They break open the suitcase showing the reader a glimpse of transgression. What follows is a tale of kindness and empathy.


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