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20 Books That Make Kids Kinder

Stories play a pivotal role in a child's growth and development... therefore if they read about the powers of kindness, they just may want to try it out! Here's a handful of suggested books for readers K-12. Let's teach children of all ages that kindness matters.

 

PRE-SCHOOL - 1ST GRADE

1. Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler (Margery Cuyler)

“When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she's got a special plan up her sleeve. She's about to teach a new golden rule: KINDNESS IS COOL! Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom! From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference. Count along with Mrs. Ruler's class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?”

 

2. If You Plant A Seed (Kadir Nelson)

“With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.”

 

3. Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

“Everyone knows cookies taste good, but these cookies also have something good to say. Big concept words such as Patient, Proud, Modest, and Respect are defined in straightforward, cookie-related terms that children of all ages will comprehend.”

 

4. Bully (Laura Vaccaro Seeger)

“Bully doesn't have a kind word for any of his friends. When the other animals ask him to play, he responds in the way he's been taught: ‘Chicken! Slow poke! You stink!’ Laura Vaccaro Seeger's bold, graphic artwork, along with her spare but powerful words, make for a tender, hilarious, and thoughtful tale.”

 

5. One (Kathryn Otoshi)

“Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.”

 

1ST GRADE - 3RD GRADE

6. The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (Janice Harrington)

“Meet one smart chicken chaser. She can catch any chicken on her grandmother's farm except one – the elusive Miss Hen. Our chicken chaser has her mind set on winning, until she discovers that sometimes it's just as satisfying not to catch chickens as it is to catch them.”

 

7. The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig)

“A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend...This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find this a valuable and important resource.”

 

8. What Does It Mean To Be Kind? (Rana DiOrio)

“A girl in a red hat finds the courage to be kind to the new student in class. Her kindness spreads, kind act by kind act, until her whole community experiences the magical shift that happens when everyone understands—and acts on—what it means to be kind.”

 

9. Mouse and Lion (Rand Burkert)

“When a cold moon brings a humbling lesson, Lion comes to recognize Mouse's keen skill, and deeper kindness. Mouse and Lion, Aesop's fabled duo, renew their ancient bond in this warm retelling by Rand Burkert, illuminated by the authentic natural detail of Nancy Ekholm Burkert's art.”

 

10. Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)

“All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for "want," just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.”

 

3RD GRADE - 8TH GRADE

11. Wonder (R.J. Palacio)

“August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid--but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. Wonder, a #1 New York Times bestseller, begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.”

 

12. The Life of Ty: Non-Random Acts of Kindness (Lauren Myracle)

“Ty remains his wacky, curious self in this bighearted second installment of the Life of Ty series. Practicing kindness, random or not, doesn’t take that much worrying after all. Being kind is part of being Ty.”

 

13. Hoot (Carl Hiaasan)

“Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?”

 

14. The Misfits (James Howe)

“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our spirit.”

 

15. Inside Out & Back Again (Tanhha Lai)

“Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America.”

 

8TH GRADE - 12TH GRADE

16. I’ll Give You The Sun (Jandy Nelson) 

“At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.” 

 

17. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

“Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.”

 

18. Counting by 7’s (Holly Goldberg Sloan)

“Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now. Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.”

 

19. Does My Head Look Big In This? (Randa Abdel-Fattah)

“Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else. Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school?”

 

20. The Wednesday Wars (Gary Schmidt)

“Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.”

 

Have any more suggestions for books that encourage kindness? Share them in the comments!

 

*All book descriptions courtesy of Amazon


Tagged with: blogger, read, books, kids


YOUR COMMENTS

5 months ago
Awesome idea.!
Angela Marshall

7 months ago
Also like, "Bucket Filling from A to Z: The Key to Being Happy" and "Have You Filled A Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud.
Sandra Royston

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