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Do you believe reading can not only make our kids smarter, but kinder?

We do! That’s the magic of words.

Because it is so rampant, most children will relate to stories about being ridiculed. Or stories of bullying and being mean. They will probably have either experienced it, witnessed it, or even participated in it. The right book will not only touch your child’s heart, but make them think and want to change the world. Few children will be indifferent to tales of kids, animals or even objects being mistreated.

Children’s Books Can Have an Impact

Research confirms that the types of books we read may affect how we relate to others. So if we want to raise kind, empathetic and compassionate children, one thing we can do is to choose great stories and books about kindness that will resonate with them.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best books about kindness and empathy, we really hope you enjoy them!

Happy Reading

Nobody notices Brian, the invisible boy, until new kid Justin notices his kindness and changes the paradigm by inviting him to join his group. Gradually, Brian who had heretofore been depicted in black & white, becomes a smiling, full-color character. The Invisible Boy provides a gentle reminder of how it feels to be left out and how small acts of kindness can change everything.
(Ages 6 – 9)

Parents Magazine’s “Best Book that Champions Kindness” of 2018!

When a classmate sees Vanessa walking home in tears after a confrontation with a bully, she wants to help. This sweet and simple story explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise when a classmate is treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help.
(Ages 4 – 8)

Caldecott Honor Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, New York Times bestseller, Booklist Starred Review

From A drab town gets a makeover with the help of a box of yarn and a girl named Annabelle. From the seemingly endless box of Extra Yarn Annabelle knits clothing for everyone around her and creates beautifully patterned warmth for people, animals, and objects, alike. When a greedy man tries to steal the box for himself, he discovers that ill-gotten gains bear no fruit–or in this case, yarn. (Ages 4-8)

When new girl Maya arrives at school, all her attempts at making friends and joining in with Chloe and her friends are heartbreakingly rejected. When Maya disappears, Chloe realizes that her chance to be kind is forever gone.  Ages 5–8.

Caldecott Honor Book

After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy. A Chair for My Mother has sold more than a million copies and is an ideal choice for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom

(Ages 4-8)

Wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways, delivering in August Pullman a character whom readers will remember forever. – Nicholas Sparks, #1 New York Times bestselling author

(Ages 8-12)

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind?

(Ages 4-8)

Acclaimed picture book author Margery Cuyler will inspire children of all ages to have a heart and save the world. Kindness really is.. cool!

(Ages 5-10)

Minna’s teacher, Mrs. Bloom is pleased because she is assigning a “Kindness Project,” in which her students will do something kind and make a picture of it. Minna decides to make a quilt and soon, other students and classes join in! This book has a gentle message and a practical approach to making the world a better place.

(Ages 6-8)

“Kindness, kindness, and more kindness, that’s the way,” was how Doc Key, born into slavery, described his success with Jim, the horse he patiently taught to “combine letters to spell words, choose numbers to make sums, find flags to identify states, move clock hands to tell time, and a whole lot more.”

Through the clever play between illustration and text, young readers learn how each day is full of opportunities to make a positive impact with ordinary actions. As our heroine connects with the earth, takes care of her body, and finds strength in kindness, she discovers her inner warrior goddess and inspires young girls everywhere to do the same.

(Ages 4-8)

“Pax the book is like Pax the fox: half wild and wholly beautiful.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Moving and poetic.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Pennypacker’s expert, evenhanded storytelling reveals stunning depth in a relatively small package.” (Booklist (starred review))

(Ages 9-12)

No matter your age or height, you can always speak up for what’s right. Kids will love cheering on little Sally in this story!

(Ages 3-5)

An overweight girl must learn to deal with ridicule and rejection from her classmates.

(Ages 8-11)

A pig named Wilbur is destined to be butchered because he was the runt of the liter, but Charlotte the spider figures out how to save his life without regard for her own. A classic that is rich in the moral values of fairness, empathy, and compassion.

(Ages 8-12)

Based on the true, compassionate story of a young Danish girl who sacrifices her life to save her friend from the Nazis.

(Ages 10-12)

Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.  It is unforgettable and sends a clear message about the impact of a complete lack of empathy.

(For older readers)

The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day.

(Ages 6-9)

This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

(Ages 8-12)

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Get Kids Excited About Reading!

Want to make logging reading fun? Get your children or students onto Reading Rewards, where they can move up levels, earn rewards and badges, and exchange with friends on the subject of reading.

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