These six books for kids can help parents teach their children about kindness.
If you want to raise a caring, compassionate kid, it helps to set a good example, of course. That’s what Jeff and I have been working to do with our two-year-old daughter, Leah, and she’s turned out pretty great so far, if we say so ourselves. But we’ve also found some books to help her learn about treating others with kindness. Here are a few of our favorite stories that can help children learn to share and treat others with respect.
The Night Tree by Eve Bunting - This beautiful Christmas story doesn’t feature Santa or materialistic presents. Instead, it uses words and lovely pictures to tell the story of a family who decorates a tree in the woods with birdseed-covered pinecones and other natural goodies for the woodland creatures that live there. Reading the book—and decorating your own night tree—is a wonderful holiday tradition to start for your own children.
The Giving Tree - The Shel Silverstein classic tells the story of a tree that gives everything—leaves, branches, and eventually trunk—to a boy who eventually turns into an old man who needs the tree’s stump to sit on. The story shows what it means to be truly selfless.
Corduroy - This sweet story about a disheveled teddy bear who finds a home in a New York City apartment with a young girl shows that material goods aren’t important when it comes to happiness—all that matters is having someone who cares enough to sew the missing button back on your green overalls.
Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia - This charming picture book set in the African nation of Liberia tells the story of Koi, a young man who is cheated out of his inheritance, but for a sack of kola nuts. The book shows children how even if you don’t have much to offer, a little kindness can go a long way.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift - This watercolor-illustrated book tells the story of a greedy king who longs for a beautiful quilt. The quiltmaker will only give it to him if he agrees to give away all of his material possessions, and soon he realizes that the less he has, the happier he is. The story illustrates the king’s transformation with vibrant illustrations of quilt panels.
When You Are Happy - One of my daughter’s favorites, this beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of how an entire family comes together to care for a little girl, making her feel loved and safe. It’s a wonderful book to show the closeness of family ties and help children understand unconditional love.
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