The world will always need compassion and kindness, and we can teach our children these important skills in lots of ways, including by reading books together.
Books that teach kindness and compassion are a powerful and effective means to portray important messages in a visual way. They can shape the way children think and feel about things and open up their worlds to understanding concepts that can otherwise seem quite complex.
There are so many books based on morals of kindness, acceptance and compassion, and this sort of content will help children be kind and inclusive themselves. There are also brilliant books available to help get children be more understanding of others in lots of other ways, such as those with special educational needs. We also encourage you to ask children questions about the books during reading to encourage conversation about the topics.
Here’s our round up of children’s books that help teach children the concept of being kind to others and themselves.
16 books that books that teach kindness and compassion
Ranvir Cannot Hear
Ranvir Cannot Hear is a magical story set in the plains of India and is about a little elephant who goes on a long journey in search of his hearing. On his travels he meets some wonderful friends along the way who can’t do certain things but tell him about the things that they can! Ranvir even finds out he has a special talent too… This is a beautifully illustrated children’s story with a message of inclusion and empowerment.
The Big Umbrella
By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.
This is a sweet, timeless picture book which addresses the themes of inclusion and tolerance.
Come with me
This book follows a little girl’s quest to make the world a better place.
In this lyrical and timely story, author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître champion the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.
From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.
With a gentle text from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
This award-winning book shows the value of selflessness and caring for one another.
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
Hey, Little Ant
“Hey, Little Ant” forces readers to consider the feelings of others.
What would you do if the ant you were about to step on looked up and started talking? Would you stop and listen? What if your friends saw you hesitate? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Originally a song by a father-daughter team, this conversation between two creatures, large and small, is bound to inspire important discussions. It might even answer that classic childhood question: To squish or not to squish?
You Hold Me Up
This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each others well-being in their everyday actions. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens.
Harry the Happy Mouse
A best-selling children’s picture book about kindness. Harry The Happy Mouse is a cheerful, traditional story about a mouse called Harry who lives in the beautiful English countryside. Harry helps a Frog, but asks the Frog to repay the kindness to someone else. We follow the good deed as it moves through other characters, who each selflessly help someone else, making themselves feel happy in the process! We learn that a little bit of kindness can go a long way.
We’re All Wonders
The unforgettable bestseller Wonder has inspired a movement to Choose Kind.
Wonder is the unforgettable story of August Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. With over 5 million copies sold, Wonder is a true modern classic, a life-changing read, and has inspired kindness and acceptance in countless readers. We’re All Wonders taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and teachers to talk about empathy, difference and kindness with young children.
The Invisible Boy
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.
Stick and Stone
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favour? A funny story about kindness and friendship with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand.
Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?
While using a simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper, author Carol McCloud illustrates that when we choose to be kind, we not only fill the buckets of those around us, but also fill our OWN bucket! Conversely, when we choose to say or do mean things, we are dipping into buckets. All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say and what we do. This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers and people that want to teach empathy, nurture kindness and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace and community.
Horton Hears a Who
‘A person’s a person, no matter how small..’ Horton the elephant sets out to save the inhabitants of a speck of dust, in this classic and hilarious tale about friendship and respect, from the inimitable Dr. Seuss.
Listening with my Heart
When Esperanza finds a heart-shaped rock, she sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world. But when the school play doesn’t go the way she’d imagined, will she remember to give it to herself?
In today’s hyper-competitive world, kids often internalise the message that their worth is attached to their accomplishments and that messing up is something to be ashamed of, rather than a normal part of life, which can lead to critical self-talk.
Listening with My Heart reminds us of the other golden rule—to treat ourselves like we would treat a friend.
Chocolate milk, por favor!
It’s Gabe’s first day of school in America, and he doesn’t speak English. This story shows how a simple act of kindness is worth more than a thousand words. Kindness really is a universal language.
What goes around comes around in this farmyard tale about the contagiousness of kindness.
Hen gives Pig an unexpected present. “How kind!” says Pig. Pig is so touched, in fact, that he decides to do something kind too. So Pig gives Rabbit a gift. “How kind!” says Rabbit, who does something kind for Cow, who is kind to Cat, who wants to be kind in turn. Where will all of this kindness lead?
At Wild.Kind., the notion of kindness is a top priority and a key part of our philosophy.