Spread Smiles with These Children’s Books on Kindness!

Random Acts of Kindness Day is observed on February 17th every year. I love the idea of recognizing the power of small acts of kindness and encouraging kids to make a difference. My mother is the kindest person I have ever met. She encourages every person in her life to spread kindness to others. Whether she is baking birthday treats for every single person at her work, or just smiling at every person she passes, her goal is to brighten people’s days. I absolutely want my daughter to look at life that way as well. I love that this holiday encourages everyone to do the same. To spread some smiles this year, I decided to gather a list of great children’s books on kindness to help families start their own traditions.

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Board Books on Kindness

Baby Be Kind was written and illustrated by Jane Cowen-Fletcher. This board book is full of easy ways that even young toddlers can show kindness. The gentle rhyming pattern of the text and the illustrations of the two cute babies and an adorable little puppy being kind to one another are sure to keep kids engaged.

How Kind! was written and illustrated by Mary Murphy. This board book follows a group of farm animals who perform good deeds for one another. The kind act of another causes each of them to want to be kind to someone else. As the kindness makes it’s way from animal to animal, the simple text repeats the phrase “How Kind!”. The colorful illustrations and sweet message make this a great way to encourage kindness from your youngest bookworms.

Spreading Kindness Around

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed was written by Emily Pearson and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka. This book is a great reminder for kids that anyone can change the world with a simple act of kindness. When Mary decides to pick some blueberries for her neighbor, she starts a chain of kind acts that keeps growing and growing. Eventually, her good deed makes  it’s way all the way back to her. The sweet story is accompanied by cute illustrations that show the happiness that is being spread from person to person with each small act.

Because Amelia Smiled was written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. When Amelia smiles while skipping down the street, it makes her neighbor smile and think of her grandson. She decides to send him some home baked cookies. So begins a chain reaction of smiles and kindness that makes it’s way around the world. The sweet story is accompanied by colorful illustrations which are full of details. The message of the story is an important one, reminding us that we are all connected, and our small acts of kindness can travel the world.

Teaching Kids to Be Kind

Kindness Counts was written by Bryan Smith and illustrated by Brian Martin. When Cade and his family find out that their order at the drive through window has been paid for, they decide to pay the kindness forward. Cade tries to perform random acts of kindness, but learns some important lessons along the way.

Kids will understand Cade’s hesitation when his father wants to give away some old toys. The lesson that Cade and his sister learn about doing nice things without expectations is also an important one. This is a great book for teaching older kids about random acts of kindness, since the explanations are a bit more in depth than some of the other stories.

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids was written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning. This children’s version of the popular book How Full Is Your Bucket? follows a young boy named Felix as he learns about the importance of kind words and actions. When he gets into a fight with his sister, his grandfather explains to him that everyone has a bucket that can be filled and emptied throughout the day.

As Felix goes through his day, he starts to see how kind words and actions make him feel better. He also notices that negativity and meanness build up to make his day worse. This book is a great way to show kids how their small actions can affect another person, and how being kind can help them to feel better as well.

Animals Being Kind

The Kindness Quilt was written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. In the story, Mrs. Bloom reads Aesop’s Fable of the Lion and the Mouse to her class. After discussing the importance of kindness, she encourages them to start a kindness project. One of the rabbits in class can’t decide which kind act to share with the class, so she draws about lots of different actions. When she brings her patchwork quilt of kind actions to school, the whole school gets involved in the project! The cut paper illustrations that accompany the story are beautiful, and may encourage kids to create their own kindness quilt.

If You Plant a Seed was written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This beautiful book follows a rabbit and a mouse as they plant a few seeds and grow some delicious fruits and vegetables. When they have the opportunity to share the fruits of their labor with some neighboring birds, will they choose kindness or selfishness? This heartwarming story shows the results of making selfish choices, as well as the beautiful results that can come from small acts of kindness. The simple text is accompanied by beautiful, and sometimes funny, illustrations that will keep both kids and adults entertained.

Small Acts of Kindness Can Change a Lot

What Does it Mean to Be Kind? was written by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch. This book offers a variety of ways that we can be kind, not only to others, but to ourselves as well. Each page mentions one way that we can be kind, culminating in a reminder that our world could change if we are all a bit kinder. What makes this book special, in addition to the diversity of the people in the illustrations, is the portrayal of people learning from their mistakes and choosing to be kinder. By showing kids choosing to become kind and not giving up on those who are not, it illustrates the idea that everyone can learn and change their ways.

Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler was written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa. When some of her students are caught acting meanly, Mrs. Ruler decides to give them a mission to do five acts of kindness for their families. As the kids start completing acts of kindness, the class adds up how many they’ve completed. They decide to start a class project to fill a bulletin board with their kind acts. The colorful illustrations and rhyming catchphrases sprinkled throughout the text will keep kids engaged, while giving them lots of ideas for kind acts that they can complete.

Kindness Can Start a Beautiful Friendship

The Invisible Boy was written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton. Brian feels like he is invisible. He blends into the background and feels left out a lot of the time. When he reaches out to the new kid in class with a small gesture of kindness, his kindness is returned. The gentle illustrations mimic Brian’s drawings throughout the story. This would be a great book to show kids how small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Stick and Stone was written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. This story of kindness and friendship follows an unlikely friendship between a stick and a stone. When Pinecone makes fun of Stone, Stick stands up for him, making them fast friends. When Stick finds himself in trouble after a storm, Stone tries to return the kindness that Stick showed to him. The simple rhyming  text and adorably illustrated characters make this a good book to show kids how kind acts can strengthen a friendship.

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