8 Children’s Books That Teach Kindness

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There are countless options for picking children’s books; sometimes you want something filled with adventure, and other times you want a more relaxing bedtime story. Whatever the flavor, books can be an excellent way to help instill values in your children, and one lesson we can always get on board with is the importance of kindness.

Even if you’re teaching your kid good manners at home, reading stories with positive characters can reinforce the idea that being kind is essential. Kids look up to these characters, plus these feel-good stories leave everyone with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and who doesn’t want more of that?

Plus, reading more has clear benefits for children. Because all children deserve the opportunity to learn to love reading, the Scripps Howard Foundation has launched a literacy campaign called “If You Give a Child a Book.” The foundation raises money and, in a partnership with Scholastic Book Fairs, purchases and provides books to children in need through local nonprofit organizations.

In a partnership with Title 1 schools, the annual childhood literacy campaign will distribute its one-millionth book to children in need this school year. The Fund aims to give each student 10 age-appropriate books per year. Experts say reading 10 books a year improves a child’s reading skills.

You can help by donating online by Sept. 9. Every $5 donation equals one book for an underserved and vulnerable child, helping them build a home library and reap the benefits of reading.

Ready to read more with your children or grandchildren? Here are eight children’s books that encourage kindness.

1. “The Giving Tree”

The title says it all: This classic book by Shel Silverstein is about the importance of generosity, but it also helps kids learn the balance between giving and taking.


2. “Last Stop on Market Street”

This award-winning book follows CJ as he asks his grandma questions about the life he lives compared to others. It highlights topics such as urban life, volunteerism and thankfulness.


3. “If You Plant A Seed”

This animal-filled book by Kadir Nelson teaches about planting and growing. It also focuses on the power of small acts and the rewards of compassion and generosity.


4. “Horton Hears A Who”

Leave it to Dr. Seuss to teach us, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” This rhyme-filled book helps kids learn perseverance and kindness with their favorite elephant, Horton.


5. “Too Tall Houses”

Kids will learn the importance of compromise in friendship with the story of Owl and Rabbit as they compete to build houses bigger than the other’s — only to find it’s best when they choose to come together.


6. “Please Don’t Tease Tootsie”

Even though this book helps kids receive helpful hints on what not to do to pets — “Please don’t tease Tootsie or provoke Poochie” — and the logic applies to people as well. These playful rhymes help kids learn how to treat others.


7. “A Chair For My Mother”

This heartwarming story demonstrates the importance of generosity in hard times and emphasizes the importance of helping out your family. In this picture book, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save up to buy a much-needed chair after losing everything in a fire.


8. “The Invisible Boy”

This story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Brian is an “invisible boy” who no one tends to include, but when a new boy Justin arrives, Brian is the first to befriend him.


What are some of your favorite lesson-filled children’s books?

Simplemost — in partnership with our audiences, our parent company, The E.W. Scripps Company, and the Scripps Howard Foundation — is helping to put books into the hands of kids who need them most as part of the 2022 “If You Give A Child A Book …” campaign. To give, you can make a donation here. This year, the campaign will donate its millionth book to kids in need.