The best way to live a happy life with your family and make the world a better place is to teach your little ones kindness from an early age. That is a crucial contribution to our present and future.
Teaching kindness is one of the necessary parents’ parts in raising their children. That is true. Kindness can be learned.
It does not happen accidentally. Although many children are inclined to be altruistic, parents should still train kindness intentionally and regularly.
Seriously, that is a great skill that will help children build strong social relationships and make them happier, reduce stress, and develop self-esteem.
Luckily, there are many helpful and easy ways to help kids gain kindness. Books, narratives, and activities are the best helpers to celebrate empathy and kindness.
Here is a fabulous collection of top 30 books and activities to encourage kindness in your little ones and help them realize what really matters.
1. Listening With My Heart
We are always taught to be kind to others. But what about us? We should also be kind and compassionate to ourselves when things go not the way we want them.
Esperance struggles to be charitable to others. But every time she wants to do something useful, it ends up as a complete disaster.
The girl encounters many unpleasant situations. Still, she learns how to recover from disappointments.
The story is packed with wisdom and reminds all of us of a golden rule of inner peace: “treat yourself like you would treat your close friend.”
2. Have You Filled A Bucket Today?
A simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper conveys such an important rule to make everyday life happier. All you need is to stick to the rule of threes:
- be kind – be a bucket filler;
- do not be mean – do not dip;
- use a lid – keep your bucket and the buckets of others safe.
The story is all about caring, giving, and sharing. It is all in that invisible bucket that we carry every day and everywhere.
The main idea appeals to children’s abstract mind but fully conveys the concept of real-world usefulness.
And what did you fill your bucket with today?
3. Last Stop On Market Street
It is a story about a curious boy and his granny having a trip on the bus. Every Sunday after church, they ride a bus across their hometown.
And this time, CJ is wondering why they have to go by bus all the time, why not owning a car, for example. And why cannot he have an IPad as others have?
His granny is a wise woman, and she answers every single question. Her words encourage CJ to see the beauty in their everyday routine and the world they live in.
4. Those Shoes
The school scenario of the book blends the theme of disappointment and teasing with generosity and kindness.
All Jeremy dreams about is a pair of new fashionable shoes. Everyone at school has such. Unfortunately, his granny can afford what they really need, but not what they want.
Soon, the boy realizes that he actually has everything to be happy: a loving grandma, warm clothing and boots, a cozy house, and his close friends’ kindness.
5. Horton Hears A Who
Horton is a kind-hearted elephant. Once, he hears strange noises and discovers that it is a small crying faint. Horton cannot believe it, but this speck is kind of huge in fact: it has an entire miniature world with shops, houses, and even a mayor.
The stack is crying for help for Who. Big and strong, Horton stands up for the Whos in the Who-ville.
The story itself is a great teaching tool, proving that everyone is unique, no matter how small they are.
6. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch
Mr. Hatch is a loner and always keeps everything to himself. But how surprised he is when unexpectedly he receives a cute box with a special gift and a note “Somebody loves you” inside. Cheered up and excited, Mr. Hatch shares the gift with others and makes friends.
This warm story teaches children the importance of caring about others.
7. The Kind Unicorn
The story itself is written by a 9-year old girl, Kate Officer. She tells us a story about a kind unicorn named Olivia. The unicorn is different from her peers. She is so into reading while others care only about fashion and make-ups.
And when the teacher asks a simple question: “What does beauty mean to you?” Olivia’s answer is very thoughtful and wise. The real beauty is kindness.
8. The Golden Rule
The main idea of the story is built around the golden life rule: treat others in the same way you want them to treat you.
The grandfather teaches his grandson how to apply this wisdom to their own lives. He points out that every ethics, religion, and culture has the same rule, just in different variations. And what is important the most is that the rule begins with you.
9. The Giving Tree
It is a touching tale about a boy and his tree. The tree is so devoted to its friend. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy in return.
Whatever the boy needs, the tree offers it to him. When he needs money, the tree gives him apples to sell. When he needs a house, it offers its branches to build a shelter.
When the boy comes and tells the tree that he needs a boat, the tree sacrifices itself and suggests cutting the boat out of its trunk.
The book teaches kids to appreciate the kindness they receive from others and reminds them to always be generous in return.
10. The Elves And The Shoemaker
It is a classic newly-illustrated tale about a poor shoemaker and his wife.
They have to make an outstanding pair of shoes with the last piece of leather they have. Tired from working all day and cutting the patterns for the new shoes, the shoemaker and his wife go to bed and decide to sew the shoes the next day.
Meanwhile, two little elves come to rescue at night and do an excellent job. They sew the best pair of leather shoes ever, and in doing so, prevent the shoemaker and his wife from deportation.
It is a great tale after so many years. It teaches to help each other because it will always result in success for all.
11. Mouse And Lion
It is an outstanding version of a classic Aesop fable.
“Mouse And Lion,” tells the story of how a big roaring lion shows his kindness (reluctantly) and rescues a small mouse. The mouse generously repays for the lion’s help and does the same in return when the lion gets in trouble.
The book with a profound engaging plot and brilliant illustration will become a great addition to your home library of fables to read before bedtime.
This touching book tells the reader a story about a 10-year-old boy, August, who is physically different from others. Homeschooled all his childhood, August starts attending public school in the 5-the grade.
He experiences a lot there: bullying and teasing, friendship and happiness, self-acceptance and self-assurance, and finally, the freedom to be himself.
13. Kid President Guide To Being Awesome
You’ve probably seen this video on YouTube or a serial on TV. And now you can read this cool guide to be awesome. This story will show you a brand-new overview of the world.
Your life is here and now. You are breathing and life, so just be cool and do it. The book presents a hundred ways to change the world. It inspires with wise, truthful quotes, real examples, and life-changing interviews.
14. The Harry Potter Series
The Harry Potter books set is a sure option always.
J. K. Rowling is the author of 7 amazing Harry Potter books. These are epic tales about a wizard boy whose mission is to defeat evil and protect the world from Lord Voldemort’s intentions to destroy it.
In the end, Harry completes his mission. And he does it through kindness, friendship, compassion, and bravery.
15. Growing Up With The Bucket Full Of Happiness
Carol Mccloud wrote a sequel of her “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” for older kids, though the main idea is the same.
The story inspires children to hone their skills to be bucket fillers. Through daily practice, readers will experience the value of kindness, compassion, understanding and gain the courage to make the world better and caring.
Awesome drawings and lovely concepts make sense to children indeed.
16. The Mouse And The Motorcycle
The book tells the story of the thrilling adventures of a mouse named Ralph.
Ralph lives in a motel where a boy named Keith and his family check-in. The boy brings some toys. And a cool red motorcycle is among them. When no one is in the room, Ralph rides the motorcycle but falls into the wastebasket.
When Keith finds the mouse, they make friends. The boy kindly shares his red motorcycle with Ralph and even teaches him how to ride it. And one day, the mouse repays to the boy and saves his life.
17. Charlotte’s Web
The classic tale shares a real beauty of friendship – the friendship between Wilbur the pig, a girl named Fern, who takes care of Wilbur, and a wise spider named Charlotte.
All of them are so different and unique but still become best friends. This is an adventure that thrives only due to the kindness of other farm animals.
This beautiful, touching story is worth reading indeed.
18. The One And Only Ivan
Ivan is a gorilla who has a boring life in captivity. His world is limited. But Ivan has great friends, Bob and Stella, who cheer the gorilla up and make his life bearable.
Then a small girl inspires the gorilla. And Ivan also shows his greatest kindness of all to a cute baby elephant.
The story conveys a profound message. And it is recommended to read for adults as well.
By the way, its best part is the bunch of activities that provoke much space for discussion.
19. Because Of Winn-Dixie
This heart-warming story deserves a long-term place on your library shelf. It proves that showing kindness to others can change one’s own life considerably.
A lonely girl, India Opal Buloni, goes to a supermarket as usual, but this time she finds a dog and names her new friend Winn-Dixie. The dog literally draws the girl out of her shell.
Through sharing empathy with her dog, Opal experiences a lot: makes a new friend, learns about faithfulness, and finds a way to self-acceptance.
20. The Secret Garden
Newly orphaned Mary comes to her uncle’s mansion, which is full of secrets. Her uncle is a bitter man and keeps himself locked up.
One night Mary hears strange sounds that groan through the long corridors. Curious and brave, the girl follows the mysterious noises and uncovers the secret garden.
With the kindness of heart and the stubbornness of mind, Mary heals the wounds of the past and gives the garden a new lease of life.
21. Lubna and Pebble
Lubna’s best friend in a new world is a small pebble. The pebble is always there for her when she needs to talk to someone, confess something, or hear reassuring words.
When a lost boy arrives in the city, he is so scared. Lubna gifts the pebble to the boy because he needs it more than she.
22. The Rabbit Listened
Sometimes silence is more powerful than reassuring words.
When something bad happens, Taylor doesn’t know what to do with himself. He doesn’t feel like chatting, listening to reassuring words, smashing something, or crying.
And only a rabbit knows how to comfort Taylor. The rabbit simply listens to him. And that is what the boy truly needs.
23. I Walk With Vanessa
This touching picture book proves that a simple act of kindness can make the whole community help the innocent.
The book tells the reader a story about one family who is new in the town. Their daughter is a new student at school and experiences teasing from her classmates. Luckily, she makes friends with kind and brave Vanessa, who changes things in a much better way.
24. I Am Loved: A Book Of Compassion
The book teaches kids compassion and the value of love for themselves. When the child is scared and feels hurt or angry, “I Am In Love” can help return the light.
25. Wolf In The Snow
The book tells the story of a little girl who gets lost on her way home from school. At the same time, a wolf puppy gets separated from its pack. The girl finds the pup and saves it from a piercing cold. And the little wolf howls to help the girl attract the people searching for her.
26. What Is Given From The Heart
James and his mother do not have a lot of wealth. Still, they have enough to live a happy life. They are healthy and strong. They have each other, after all.
Later, they find out that a new family in their church has lost everything in the fire. And that is the point where kindness and generosity play the most important role.
27. The Invisible Boy
Brian is an “invisible” boy for his peers. No one pays any attention to him. He has no friends. His classmates do not invite Brian to their birthday parties. He’s already put up with being alone until a new boy named Justin arrives.
Brian is the first one who makes the newcomer welcome at class. When they get a class project, the boys team up for the work. And that is when Brian finds a way to become noticed.
28. Be Kind
This wonderful book presents the story of two friends. Accidentally Tanesha spills grape juice on her clothing. Her friend wants to cheer the girl up and make her feel better.
This heart-warming story shows how kind deeds, small or big, can make someone happier.
29. Each Kindness
Maya is a new girl at school. But the other girls (Chloe and her friends) reject her attempts to join their play. Eventually, Maya stops attending school.
When their teacher gives a speech to the class that even a minor act of kindness can change the world, Chloe thinks about what could have happened if she’d treated Maya differently and showed some kindness to the new girl.
30. Kindness Grows
This book is a real antidote to mean and angry words. It proves that kindness can heal, create magic, and make the world a better place for us, especially when we show kindness to all the people around us.
This cleverly illustrated, stunning book is all about friendship and forgiveness, hope and respect.
Hopefully, this article inspired you to pay more attention to encouraging empathy and kindness in your children. After all, the benefits of kindness are endless. Being a kind person means being happier, less stressed, and more connected to others.
Nurturing kindness in kids is the key to a successful, calm, and joyful life. Fortunately, every day provides plenty of great opportunities to learn, teach, and model kindness. And books take up a worthy place there.
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