We love picture books and use them all the time in our classroom as mentor texts or to illustrate a writer’s craft. We love books that highlight kindness and use them all year with our students. We’re always on the search for new books, but here are some of the best kindness books we’ve found and use all year.
We want to point out that we use these books mostly with our fourth and fifth graders, but they would be great with any age. Don’t forget that older students love pictures books too (and they enjoy being read to). You can demonstrate or model so many reading skills and strategies simply by reading aloud to your students.
We can’t afford to keep every book in stock in our classroom (Mr. Ninja has put a book ban on it), so take these titles to your school librarian or look them up at your local public library to keep your costs down!
Our books lists do not contain affiliate links. We encourage you to shop at your local book store instead. This is better for the environment and supports your local economy.
Check out these great kindness books!
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Wilson: This is a powerful story great for all ages (but older students resonate with the message). What happens when no one is nice to the new girl? What happens when the new girl stops coming to school?
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller: A picture that book that shows children tangible examples of kindness they can share each and every day.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson: Highlights how one simple act of kindness can snowball around the world.
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson: A fictional story about animals planting seeds of kindness and compassion, until a rabbit plants a seed of selfishness.
Listening With My Heart by Gabi Garcia: This one was a little young for our fifth graders, but it is a wonderful story about mindfulness and kindness, listening to your inner voice and doing what is best.
What if Bunny is Not a Bully? by Lana Button– This is a great one that helps kids talk about what it means to be a bully.
I Am a Wolf by Kelly Leigh Miller: This one was a pleasant surprise (and just plain fun!) A dog finds herself in an animal shelter and insists she’s a wolf, but finds kindness from others allows her to be herself.
We Are All Wonders by R. J. Palacio: A picture book based on the novel Wonder (and movie with the same name) that shows respecting differences and choosing kind is always best.
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry: A quick read about how sticking it out with a friend even when times get tough can get you through anything.
So many kindness books…
A World of Kindness by Ann Featherstone: This book is great for getting students to start thinking about how children can influence the world around them.
The Jelly Donut Difference: Sharing Kindness With the World by Maria Dismondy: Do you have students who are constantly nitpicking at each other? This is the perfect book for that! Leah and Dexter are brother and sister and drive each other crazy (on purpose). This one gives students the chance to see how kindness can be paid forward.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig: Another amazing read by Trudy Ludwig who truly understands children and how they respond to each other. My students loved this story of an introverted boy who makes friends with the new kid.
Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole: This one is really cute and my fifth graders loved the illustrations. Animals try to demonstrate acts of kindness.
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler: This one was a little young for my fifth graders, but it was a great one for them to read to their kindergarten buddies. Mrs. Ruler’s class starts filling up a bulletin board with kind deeds. This is a great one to lead into a schoolwide kindness bulletin board.
I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët: This is a wordless picture book (perfect to use with your English language learners) about how a simple act of kindness can change a person’s life.
Shh! We Have a Plan! by Chris Haughton: When a group of friends goes for a walk and discovers a bird high in a tree. They want to keep it for themselves, so they devise a plan. But, one member of the group surprises everyone with an act of kindness. This one is quite cute and lots of fun!
Kindness books for all ages too…
Super Buns!: Kindness is Her Superpower by Diane Krendensor: Superbuns has kindness as her superpower, but no one (especially Superbuns’s sister) thinks it’s really a superpower. You decide!
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell– Molly Lou stands out a bit and when she moves to a new school a bully takes her on. Find out what she does in return.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev and Taeeun Yoo– This is a great read all about including others.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische- This poetry book has lots of ways people can be kind to each other as told through animals.
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds and Matt Davies– Because everyone deserves to be treated with kindness.
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson– This is a great story about how just one person speaking up can make all the difference in the world.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates– This is a great story about how there’s always room for everyone.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead– This is a wonderful story about how looking after your friends and returning kindness is important.
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld– This is a great example of how listening to others is more important than trying to solve their problems.
Golden Threads by Suzanne Del Rizzo- This is a beautiful story about repairing instead of replacing things that are damaged. It is about caring for others and fits into so many wonderful discussions.
Rock On, Kindness! Pass It On! by Stepheni Curran and Samantha Williams- This book follows a girl painting rocks for her friends. She finds similarities and differences with all of them but still includes everyone.
Because kindness is for everyone.
When We are All Kind by Monique Gray Smith– This is a great book to talk about what it feels like to be kind and how to identify simple acts of kindness. This is also a great way to bring in Indigenous stories, authors and images.
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett– We love this story. A girl works hard to earn money to purchase a bicycle of her own-then the story takes an unexpected turn toward kindness.
Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank
This is a great one for slightly older students because it’s written as poems, but talks about the importance of giving to others. Giving comes in many forms.
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards– This is an adorable story to talk about doing things for others and it talks about perseverance too (always a bonus).
Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems– This is an amazing story about including others. And it’s Mo Willems-so it’s super cute.
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds– This is the book that reminds us all to speak up because that is what makes us special.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts– A young boy discovers what is important about helping others.
Salma and the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan– Salma wants to cheer up her family with a familiar dish.
The Last Stop of Market Street by Matt de la Peña– This is a great story to teach children about helping out others who are less fortunate.
And the world can always use more kindness
Everybody’s Welcome by Patricia Hegarty– This is the story of several animals in a row losing their home, but they all end up living together.
Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen– Sometimes our world feels a little divided and people seem to be more short-tempered than ever. This one might change your thoughts on that.
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal– What if you planted a kiss? Would it grow? Would there be a kiss for everyone? This is a sweet book about kindness and generosity.
Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
Mr. Hatch has to figure out who his secret admirer is.
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson– This is a wordless picture book with a powerful message. A little girl picks wildflowers as she walks along and then starts handing them out spreading cheer where she goes.
Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour– This is a beautiful story of a girl living in a refugee camp who gives away the only thing she has that means something to her. This one has so many things that can be discussed and is great for all ages (depending on which topics you choose to talk about and emphasize).
Most People by Michael Leannah– There are a lot of people in the world and there are lots of things that aren’t good, but most people are good. This book will restore your faith in humanity.
Come With Me by Holly M. McGee– This book shows how simple actions can make big changes.
And when you need even more kindness ideas…
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold– This is the perfect book for any classroom. Understanding that we all come into the classroom with different traditions and customs is the first step to being kind.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson– There’s a saying, Kill them with Kindness! Well, what does that mean exactly? This book looks to answer that very question.
Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes– This is a great book about doing something kind for others.
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson– This is a sweet story of an unlikely friendship between a snail and a whale. It tells how something small can become something big.
Hey Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose– This one reminds children to think about the feelings of others.
Pass It On by Sophy Henn– This book has a simple and clear message about passing along positivity every day.
More Kindness Classroom Ideas
Are you looking for a kindness challenge you can do in your classroom with your students? Look no further than our Be Kind Challenge. Students work to complete one hundred acts of kindness in their classroom with their classmates. It’s available in our Resource Library and we can even email it to you.
If you live in an area that celebrates Pink Shirt Day, you might want to check out our free resource that you can use in your classroom. We also have a blog post about it called Pink Shirt Day and all kinds of activities that will help you bring kindness into your classroom all year long.
Kindness all year long helps build classroom community, helps with classroom management and overall makes all of our lives better.
We have book lists for other occasions:
Books for Ramadan
Asian Heritage Month Books
Books for Lunar New Year
Orange Shirt Day
Christmas Books We Love
Winter Books for Cozy Reading
Books for Holi Festival of Colours
Black History Month Books
Books with Great LGTBQ+ Characters
Social Emotional Learning Books
Books for Remembrance Day
Books For and About Powerful Women
Books by Indigenous Authors
Do you have a great book about kindness we’ve missed? We’d love to add it to our list. Please share it in the comments below or send us a link or message!