The best books about teaching kids kindness

Why am I passionate about this?

Of all the lessons that we should be teaching kids, I think kindness should be at the top of everyone’s list. If people treated every human and sentient being with kindness and compassion the world would be a better place, which is something we all want. The more we can illustrate this for children the better so that they can understand that we are all in this together and that everyone deserves respect.

I wrote...

Elevator Bird

By Sarah Williamson,

Book cover of Elevator Bird

What is my book about?

It takes a strong team to keep the hotel running smoothly, and Elevator Bird is at the center of it all. He helps guests get to their rooms and gives great advice about all the best sights in town. He helps the staff get where they need to go, and always has an encouraging word. Elevator Bird makes everyone's day brighter. So when he confesses to his friend Mousey that he's always longed for a room with a view, Mouseu springs into action. All his friends at the Hotel hatch a marvelous plan to make sure Elevator Bird has the nest he deserves.

Elevator Bird is a charming tale of friends working together to make a dream come true.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of I Like You

Sarah Williamson Why did I love 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.

By Sandol Stoddard Warburg, Jacqueline Chwast (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Like You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic and funny hardcover picture book is the perfect way to say I like you.

A deeply affectionate celebration of all the reasons we like each other, here is the book that Romeo would have given Juliet, Charlie Brown would have given Snoopy, and you can give to some very special friend.

This book expresses the true meaning of friendship in a long list of ways with charming accompanying illustrations by Jacqueline Chwast. For example: I like you because you know where I'm ticklish, and you don't tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes!

Whether for…

Book cover of Thank You, Omu!

Sarah Williamson Why did I love 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.

By Oge Mora,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Thank You, Omu! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A generous woman is rewarded by her community in this remarkable author-illustrator debut that's perfect for the Thanksgiving season, perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street.

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?

Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings a heartwarming story of sharing and community to life in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as…

Book cover of Last Stop on Market Street

Sarah Williamson Why did I love 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. 

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Last Stop on Market Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine and in the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the love and understanding between grandparent and grandchild as the world comes…

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

Sarah Williamson Why did I love 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.

By Jory John, Erin Kraan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something's Wrong! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur . . . what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he's wearing underwear . . . over his fur . . . could it? Another read-out-loud, laugh-out-loud picture book from bestselling and beloved author Jory John, paired with rising star illustrator Erin Balzer, about that horrible nagging feeling that it just might not be…

Book cover of The Suitcase

Sarah Williamson Why did I love 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.

By Chris Naylor-Ballesteros,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Suitcase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for Oscar's Book Prize 2020

Shortlisted for the 2020 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

"At a time when over 65 million people are forcibly displaced around the world, this beautifully illustrated and wise, gentle tale of tolerance and kindness for fellow humans resonates deeply. I hope all parents share The Suitcase with their children." - Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

"A simple, powerful way to introduce the idea of kindness to strangers to young children" - Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo

"Welcome and understanding are at the heart of this children's book by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. Beautifully illustrated,…

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Split Decision

By David Perlmutter,

Book cover of Split Decision

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

What is my book about?

Jefferson Ball, the mightiest female dog in a universe of the same, is, despite her anti-heroic behavior, intent on keeping her legacy as an athlete and adventurer intact. So, when female teenage robot Jody Ryder inadvertently angers her by smashing her high school records, Jefferson is intent on proving her superiority by outmuscling the robot in a not-so-fair fight. Not wanting to seem like a coward, and eager to end her enemy's trash talking, Jody agrees.

However, they have been lured to fight each other by circumstances beyond their control. Which are intent on destroying them if they don't destroy each other in combat first...

5 book lists we think you will like!

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