kids kindness book recommendations

My Favorite Kindness Books for Kids

Books make a great gift, but I find myself wondering…do they already have this one? 

Here is a list of some of my favorite kids’ books, and it’s more likely that they’re not already on their bookshelf.  The bonus of these books – they all have a kindness twist.  And I promise…they’re not sappy sweet. If you’re looking for someone older, check out my resources page.

The following books are in order by age groups: youngest to oldest.

Baby Be Kind by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Ages: 2-3 years

Very simple and straightforward – a multitude of ways for the littlest ones to be kind.  The book provides a good introduction to the concepts of sharing and helping others.  The illustrations are clear – important for this age group, especially if their language skills are still limited.

How Kind! by Mary Murphy

Ages: 2-5 years

This board book is all about the ripple effect of kindness, how one nice deed leads to the next.  The barnyard animals take turns paying kindness forward, doing thoughtful things for each other.  The vibrant colors and variety of animals will give you lots to talk about with your toddler.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Ages: 2-6 years

A Caldecott Medal winner, it definitely lived up to my expectations.  A wonderful story, with elegant illustrations that were just as engaging as the story.  Amos McGee, a zookeeper, gets sick.  His animals realize they have come to rely on his daily acts of kindness and decide it’s time to give back to the one who’s always giving.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Ages: 3-5 years

I didn’t even know it was possible, but this one is a Newbery Medal Winner and a Caldecott Honor Book.  A simple, yet thought provoking, tale of a boy and his nana, taking a bus to do some good in the world.  Like most kids, he has lots of questions about the people they encounter and why he doesn’t always have the same as others.  I wish I had the snappy and wise answers that his nana provides.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Ages: 3-5 years

Cute book, funny idea.  Penelope is a T-rex, and it’s her first day of school.  Navigating the process of making friends can be challenging when you want to eat them.  This book touches on the ideas of making friends, doing unto others as we would want for ourselves, and what it feels like to be isolated – all in a lighthearted way.

One note of caution – if you have a “nervous” kid, the idea of being eaten at school by a t-rex could freak them out.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Jen Hill

Ages: 3-6 years

I really enjoyed this book.  Even though it’s quite literal about kindness – even listing different ways to be kind – it’s done with such lovely illustrations and examples, it doesn’t come off “forced” as some books on this topic can.  I also think it portrays a realistic view of kindness.  You can’t always solve someone’s problems by being kind, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try anyway.

“My mom says the quickest way to be kind is to use people’s names.”

– from BE KIND by Pat Zietlow Miller

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

Ages: 4-8 years

This book addresses bullying.  What I found unique was that there were no words, only illustrations.  So, this is a great book for your child to be able to look at by him/herself and ruminate on how people’s actions affect each other.  I also liked that at the end of the book, there are tips for children and adults on how to combat bullying.

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates & Juniper Bates

Ages: 4-8 years

A sweet story about inclusivity.  A friendly umbrella always has enough room to provide shelter when needed. 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Ages: 4-8 years

This is one of those books that is entertaining for both children and adults.  Another Caldecott Honor Book, it’s the story of a girl and her box of endless yarn, literally knitting color and life back into her town.  My favorite part of this was the way the girl persevered with her kindness – even when people thought they didn’t want it.

Horton Hears a Who! By Dr. Seuss

Ages: 5-9 years

This one is more likely to be on their bookshelf, but wow, what a classic.  I had forgotten how much goodness is packed into this one!  Of course, there’s the main lesson, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”  But I had forgotten how hard Horton worked to help the Whos, and how he had persevered facing bullies and great physical strain.  If the child likes a rhyme, this one is a winner.

“A person’s a person, not matter how small.”

– from HORTON HEARS A WHO by Dr. Seuss

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Ages: 6-9 years

A heartwarming story of a little boy who is “invisible” at school – not getting picked for sports or invited to birthday parties, simply not seen.  Then a new boy comes to town, who gets laughed at.  What’s worse?  A great lesson of reaching out to be kind, and how it can help the helper too.  Beautiful illustrations.

I hope you enjoy my picks!

If you’re looking for someone older, check out my resources page for the ones I have found most impactful.

Of course, you can find all of these books on Amazon. But if you want an easy way to support your local bookstores, check out

Please let me know some of your favorites in the comments section.


  • Bridget says:

    We loved “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”. The story is well kind and the illustrations endearing. We had fun finding the red balloon on each page:)

  • Deedee Murphy says:

    I had Last Stop on Market Street in my classroom when I was teaching. And of course I remember Horton Hears a Who from younger years. I love these book suggestions. Maybe I’ll get the Baby Be Kind book for my granddaughter, because of course, she’s advanced!!!!

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