Picture Books for Our Youngest Do Gooders

A growing list of books for our youngest do gooders.

Nurture roots of kindness in the heart of you little one.

Nothing is as comforting for a parent or child as snuggling in with a good book. We gathered our favorite, simple stories for young readers in a collection designed to inspire your young helpers to grow kind hearts.


Conversation Starters

  • How is the character in this story feeling? Have you ever felt this way?

  • Talk about a time when you faced a challenge or an adventure like the one in the story.

  • Together, look closely at the illustrations. Do you notice anything new?

  • Work together to draw or color a picture inspired by the story.

Bear Feels Sick and other Bear Books by Karma Wilson
These simple, rhyming stories cover topics from gratitude to fear to friendship.

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
In this culture nearly paralyzed by a fear of failure, we are hearing time and again that children aren't being allowed to make mistakes. This book is certainly part of the cure! Discover the beauty in a mistake, then set out to make a few of your own!

Books by Mem Fox
It's no wonder Fox has won dozens of awards. Each of her stories is unique. Each is bewitching in its own way. And each speaks to even the youngest among us.

Books by Todd Parr
Parr's entire collection is work checking out. He covers topics like peace, gratitude, and being different in a charming, bright, funny, and heart-felt way that speaks to people of every age.

The Color Monster: A Pop Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
Under standing nuanced emotions is a crucial step to developing empathy. This fun, new book takes kids on a journey through a rainbow of emotions.

The Empty Pot by Demi
Simply told and beautifully illustrated, this story shares the beauty of telling the truth. Everyone wants to win the Emperor’s competition: the grower of the most beautiful flower will become the next emperor. But when one boy’s seed won’t sprout, he learns  that bravery and honesty are more important to becoming emperor than a dramatic presentation.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLoud
I know this book pops up on every list. If you are wondering why, then perhaps you haven't read it in a while. The message is so clear and so motivating, even the youngest children will set out at once to fill buckets. Perhaps even more remarkable, even the oldest readers find it inspiring too!

Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell
This is another gem from the author of The Gift of Nothing and the comic series Mutts. Jules the kitten takes off on a mission to hug the world, teaching kids, and their parents, to start changing the world one small gift of kindness at a time.

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
This award-winning illustration of Aesop's much-loved fable gives kids the opportunity to tell their own story. Though wordless, the intricate details on each page will have kids and their grownups thinking about who can be a helper.

Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond
This vibrant, funny, simple story gently teaches the trouble caused by jealousy and the joys of self-acceptance and friendship.

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Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

Picture Books about Refugees

A growing list of books to build compassion and emathy for the refugee experience.

Open your hearts to the refugee experience.

With so many news stories about families fleeing Syria and other war-torn places, your children may be asking questions about these heartbreaking situations. It's hard to know what to say. It's important to protect our kids from traumatizing images and information, but we also want to encourage empathy for those who are struggling -- and, of course, to empower our children to know they can make a difference. These children's books will build understanding.

Conversation Starters

  • What would it be like to be forced to leave home suddenly? What would you pack if you had just a little time? What would you miss?
  • What could help make a refugee feel more comfortable and less scared in their new home?

  • With older children, explain what "refugee" means -- someone who is forced to flee their home because they fear they will lose their lives or freedom if they stay.

  • Together, imagine arriving in a new country without knowing the language or customs. Help your child "walk in the shoes" of a refugee child by asking:

    • What would it be like to have to leave home quickly and suddenly?

    • What would you pack if you had just a little time? (Many refugees leave their homes with little warning and cannot even bring basic necessities.)

    • What would you miss?

    • How would you feel?

    • What could help make a refugee feel more comfortable and less scared in their new home?

  • Always reassure children that they are safe, and focus on positive ways to make a difference rather than on despair.

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams
Based on true events, this touching tale follows orphaned boys walking from their war-ravaged village to a refugee camp. Ages 7 and up.

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding
After losing his parents in a tragic attempt to reach the United States from Haiti, Henri has retreated within himself. His uncle and a neighbor help Henri connect with his past by connecting to the beat of his own drum.

The Color of Home by Mary Hoffman 
The story of a recent immigrant from Somalia and his first day in an American school. The amazing watercolors help tell of this little boy's fears and hopes. Ages 4 and up.

Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom by Dia Cha
The story cloth, Southeast Asian folk art, provides a beautiful back drop for this sweet story.  of Ages 6 to 11.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
Two girls in a Pakistani refugee camp decide to share a pair of sandals given to them by a relief worker. A simple story of friendship. Ages 6 and up.

How many days to America? A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting
A family is forced to flee their Caribbean island and set sail for America in a small fishing boat. They arrive on Thanksgiving Day, having experienced fears and hardships very similar to those faced by those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving. This is a very moving story sure to open a conversation about compassion and courage. Ages 4 to 7.

Joseph's Big Ride by Terry Farish
Follow Joseph, a new refugee, on his mission to learn to ride a bike. Ages 4 to 7.

The Journey by Francesca Sanna
Explore the impossible decisions people must make when leaving their homes behind. Ages 3-7.

Leaving Vietnam: The Journey of Tuan Ngo, a Boat Boy by Sarah S. Kilborne
Join Tuan Ngo and his father as they escape Vietnam by boat, spend time in a refugee camp and ultimately arrive in the United States. Ages 6 and up.

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat
Mama records bedtime stories for Saya to help her cope while Mama is in an immigration detention center. Ages 5 and up.

My Name is Sangoel by Karen Williams
Join this Sudanese refugee on as he attempts to find belonging in the new, noisy world of the United States. Ages 6 to 10.

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Tanya Simon
Set in 1938, Oskar is a Jewish immigrant new to the U.S. Follow him as he walks through New York City experiencing small acts of kindness, making him feel welcome in his new home. Ages 4 to 8.

Stepping stones. A Refugee Family's Journey by Margaret Ruurs
This story about the Syrian refugee crisis began when Rurrs, a Canadian children's author, encountered the breathtaking stone art of Syrian artist Nizar Bdr. This dual language book is warm and beautiful in spite of its harsh subject matter. Ages 4 and up.

Teacup by Rebecca Young
The beautiful allegory is sure to become a family treasure, and it will speak to the difficult journeys that we all must face. Ages 4 to 8.

The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden
This remarkable story is perfect for literature buffs of any age. Ages 7 and up.

The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
A simple but eloquent story of a young Vietnamese girl who brings a lotus seed with her to America as a way to remember her homeland. Ages 6-9.

 

We at Doing Good Together are committed to expanding this list over time, and look forward to hearing your recommendations in the comments.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

Haven't found what you're looking for?
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Or check out these projects to inspire your next act of kindness.

Big-Hearted Story Collections that Inspire Compassion

Read and reflect as a family with these big-hearted literary collections.

Teach empathy and discover exceptional stories.

Literary compilations of stories and poems can be incredibly helpful. Keep one in the car for road trips or the unexpected traffic jam. Or toss one in your purse or diaper bag, to entertain weary little ones in the waiting room.

However you use them, your family will delight in the variety of the stories in these hand-picked collections.


Conversation Starters

  • How would you feel if you faced the situation in the story?

  • What would you do differently?

  • What does it mean to be wise? To have courage? To live generously?

  • How would we know if someone was having a bad day and may need a little extra kindness?

  • What are some safe and simple ways to share kindness with a stranger?

  • What acts of kindness have others shared with you recently? How did they make you feel?

  • Have you ever thought of doing a kind thing for a stranger, but decided not to out of nervousness? How could you overcome your shyness in the future?

Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for you to Read withYour Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire by Dharmachari Nagaraja
This book contains 20 modernized versions of ancient Buddhist stories. Most are full of whimsy and wonder, spurring on creative play, even as they teach about kindness, courage, and peace. Each story ends with a short restatement of the moral for reinforcement.

Children’s Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett
You may have read this classic as a child. Former secretary of education William Bennett shares stories, fables, and poem conveying virtues we all hope to share, including courage, compassion, and loyalty among many others. Some of the stories are very familiar (as in Aesop’s fables) others are quirky and new. One or two are somewhat dated, but on the whole, this is a wonderful book to read and discuss together.

Frederick and His Friends: Four Favorite Fables by Leo Lioni
Younger readers will love Frederick, the fieldmouse poet, and friends from the other tales, teaching friendship, courage, and speaking p.

I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children by Margaret Wright Edelman
This collection is exceptional with a wonderful combination of stories, poetry, and art. The works in this treasury do not simply teach and inspire. They are literary jewels, beautiful in and of themselves, making them a delight to sit down with your children to savor words so perfectly crafted.

James Herriot’s Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children by James Herriot
The author of All Creatures Great and Small brings us eight heart-warming, occasionally heart-breaking tales. Little animal lovers will go nuts for these stories.  While morals and virtues are not so heavily emphasized in this collection,  the stories easily lend themselves to big-hearted discussions.

Kids' Random Acts of Kindness by Conari Press
This collection is sure to inspire your family’s next kindness activity. Nothing motivates kids – or adults – like a good example, which is exactly what these stories provide. While they may not be classic children’s literature, they will certainly spark the spirit of giving.

Tales of Wisdom and Wonder (with CD) by Hugh Lupton
The musical CD included with this collection makes it ideal for road trips or traffic jams, and it is sure to captivate your audience. This book features seven stories from a variety of cultures. They are expertly crafted, and perfect for reading aloud repeatedly to young children. As the title declares, there is a bit of wisdom in each tale to get a conversation started.

Haven't found what you're looking for?
Visit our Complete Resource List.

Or check out these projects to inspire your next act of kindness.


Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

Chapter Books to Fuel a Movement

A growing list of fiction and nonfiction for older kids interested in promoting social justice.

A growing list of fiction and nonfiction for older kids interested in promoting social justice.

Explore history and get motivated to champion equality.

The fiction and nonfiction books below will raise awareness about the history of the United States and the movements that are pushing us closer to equality. Scroll through our extensive list to find books on Civil Rights, Disability Rights, the LGBTQ Movement, Women's Rights, and the Native People's Movement.

Fascinating new research demonstrates that commitment to social justice is a skill that must be practiced and reinforced. By reading these books together, your family can launch a conversation to inspire you to champion equality.

There is significant overlap and interplay between the various movements. Whether you read deeply about a single issue or choose intriguing titles from each section, you'll be learning a great deal about the courage, hope, and compassion behind the legends of American history.

Conversation Starters

  • What does justice mean? What about injustice?

  • Discuss the injustices you learned about in the book. What surprises you?

  • Imagine how you would have felt as the main character.

  • Imagine how you would you have reacted if you had witnessed one of the scenarios or events in the book.

  • Can you relate this story to anything happening in our community – or our country – today?

  • What would social justice look like in our community? Our state? Our country?

  • What is difficult about discussing social justice? What can we do better?

  • Let's brainstorm actions we can take, inspired by this book, to make our community more just.

Choose a category or scroll the extensive list below.

Activism in General

Books for Elementary Students

Generation Fix: Young Ideas for a Better World by Elizabeth Rusch
A series of inspiring stories of young people who have made a difference. These preteens and teens raised money for school supplies for needy children, testified against a ban on gay marriage, collected boxes of cereal for the hungry and initiated a variety of other community service and social action projects. Ages 8 and up.

Stand Up, Speak Out: A Book About Children’s Rights
An examination of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child through the drawings and writings of young people around the world. Ages 9-12.

Young Adult Books

Celebrate People’s History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution  edited by Josh MacPhee 
A visual history of revolutions in America. Each poster is paired with the historical background of the event. Ages 8 and up.

Peace Jam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace by Ivan Suvanjieff
This inspiring book profiles Nobel Peace Laureates (such as the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu) and their work with teens in the Peace Jam movement, and provides tips on how the reader can get involved. Ages 12 and up.

I Will Make a Difference: Students Aspire to Inspire by Gary Martin Hayes and Adam Christopher Wear
In this inspiring collection, 35 students tell of how they plan to make a difference in the world, and how the steps that they take now and in the future will allow them to reach their full potential.

It’s Your World  If You Don’t Like It, Change It: Activism For Teenagers by Mikki Halpin
A guide for teenagers who wish to become activists, It’s Your World provides an overview of several topics, including animal rights, women’s rights, and civil liberties, and provides ideas for getting involved. Includes a list of additional resources. Ages 12 and up.

Photography as Activism: Images for Social Change by Michelle Bogre
Images can be used to bring attention to much-needed subjects.  An alternative to writing letters and protesting, photography and the pictures taken can have just as much of an impact on its audience.

Take Action: A Guide to Active Citizenship by Marc Kielburger and Craig Kielburger
Learn the practical tools you’ll need to take action on issues that matter, including raising funds and awareness, writing petitions, surveys and letters, using the media and holding meetings.

Civil Rights Movement

Books for Elementary Students

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Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
First published in 1951, Amos Fortune, Free Man is the story of a man who is captured and sold into slavery, but is eventually able to buy his own freedom and that of other slaves. Ages 10 and up.

Belle Teal by Ann M. Martin
The story of a little girl who stands up for her beliefs when her community is shaken by the controversy resulting from desegregation. Ages 9-12.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The story of Bud Caldwell, a young African-American boy growing up in 1930s Michigan who is on the run from abusive foster homes and is convinced that a famous stand-up bass player is his father. Ages 9-12.

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
The story of Elijah, the first free-born African-American in his Buxton, Canada settlement and his brave attempts to help free a group of slaves. Ages 9-12.

Frederick Douglass: Rising Up From Slavery by Frances E. Ruffin
Biography of the former slave who became one of the central figures of the abolitionist movement. Ages 9-12.

Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen S. Levine
This series of compelling eye-witness accounts of key events in the civil rights movement share the perspective of children. Ages 10 and up.

The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor
The Friendship is the story of the devastating effects of racism on the friendship of a white man and a black man in Mississippi in the 1930s. Ages 9-12.

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry
Biography of the courageous woman who led over 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Ages 9-12.

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume
When an African-American family movies into Winnie’s neighborhood, she must confront prejudice in her community. Ages 9-12.

The Jacket by Andrew Clements
A young boy learns about prejudice after wrongfully accusing an African-American boy of stealing his brother’s jacket. Ages 9-12.

Just Like Martin by Ossie Davis
Written by a famous Civil Rights activist, Ossie Davis’ story tells the tale of fourteen year-old Martin, who is a proud supporter of the Civil Rights Movement until his faith and dedication are shaken following the death of his friends. Ages 10 and up.

Little Rock Nine by Marshall Poe
Written in graphic novel form, Little Rock Nine is the story of two high school friends, one black and the other white, caught in the middle of the conflict surrounding desegregation of public schools. Ages 9-12.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
When the town of Phippsburg, Maine threatens to turn nearby Malaga Island, settled by former slaves, into a tourist spot, Lizzie Bright and the minister’s son, Turner Buckminster, must join together to preserve her home. Ages 9-12.

Mississippi Bridge by Midred D. Taylor
Mississippi Bridge is a powerful and haunting story about the effects of racism and segregation on a town in Mississippi in the 1930s. Ages 9-12.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
The Newberry Award-winning story of Cassie Logan, a young girl living in Mississippi in the 1930s whose family must deal with poverty and racism. Ages 9-12.

Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins
Rosa Parks’ first-hand account of her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Ages 9-12.

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
The story of Jesse Boller, a teenager who is kidnapped and forced to work on a slave ship and the horrors he witnesses there. Ages 9-12.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong
The classic story an African-American family affected by poverty and racism in the South, and their loyal dog, Sounder. Ages 9-12.

Students on Strike: Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Brown, and Me by John A. Stokes
Stokes, one of the students who took part in the strike at R.R. Moton High School in 1951 to protest separate schooling for blacks and whites, gives his own first-hand account of the Civil Rights Movement. Ages 9-12.

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
An account of the life of Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student at an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, as seen through her own eyes. Ages 9-12.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
When Kenny’s parents decide that his older, troublemaker brother, Byron, should be removed from the bad influences of the city for the summer, the family heads to Birmingham, Alabama, just in time to witness one of the most terrible incidents to occur in response to the Civil Rights Movement: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside. Ages 9-12.

Witness by Karen Hesse
When a small town in Vermont is infiltrated by the Ku Klux Klan, it is met with both support by some of the townspeople and trepidation by others. Told through the voices of both the victims and victimizers, the story shows how a small town can be gripped by prejudice, and how ultimately, the rights of the many overcome the hatred of the few. Ages 9-12.

Young Adult Books

A Good Time for Truth: Race in Minnesota by Sun Yung Shin.
Various Minnesota authors share their moving, impassioned perspectives about what life is like as a person of color in one of the whitest states in the nation. Ages 12 and up.

A Wreath for Emmet Till by Maryln Nelson
This collection of sonnets pays tribute to the fourteen-year-old lyched for whistling at a white woman. Ages 12 and up.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
An act of violence with an officer causes a basketball team, a school, and a town to take sides, forcing two boys, one black and one white, two grapple with modern racism. Ages 12 and up.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Written as a letter to his fifteen-year-old son, Coates' critically acclaimed, award-winning book beautifully advises “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” Ages 14 and up.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Nine months before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat, a fifteen-year-old girl fed up with the indignity of Jim Crow kept to her own bus seat. Unlike Parks, Colvin was shunned by her community for her actions. Undaunted, Colvin went on, just a year later, to be plaintiff in the landmark case that took down Jim Crow. This wonderful biography is a celebration of her determination.  Ages 12 and up.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
This timely, critically-acclaimed novel confronts the issues of uncertainty when a community wants to know exactly what happens when a young white man shoots a young black man. Ages 14 and up.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
From her teen years to her young life, Linda Brent struggled to survive at the height of slavery prior to the Civil War, even living in an attic for seven years to hide from her master. Based on Jacobs’ own personal experience. Ages 14 and up.

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers
The Glory Field traces the history of one African-American family, the Lewises, all the way from the beginnings of slavery, through the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, to a family reunion in the 1990s. Ages 14 and up.

March: Books One, Two, and Three by John Lewis
This series of graphic novels by an icon of the civil rights movement details his personal experiences for a young, modern audience. Ages 14 and up.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The story of two children, Scout and Jem, and their father’s attempt to defend the honor of an African-American man who has been wrongfully accused of a serious crime. Ages 14 and up.

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
The first-hand account of one of the nine black students who was part of the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Ages 12 and up.

We Troubled the Waters by Ntozake Shange
The inspiring collection of poems celebrates a wide range of famous and forgotten milestones in the civil rights movement. Ages 12 and up.

Disability Rights Movement

Books for Elementary Students

Deaf Child Crossing by Marlee Matlin
The earnest story of a growing friendship between a deaf child and a hearing child. Ages 8-12.

The Disability Rights Movement by Deborah Kent
A narrative history of the struggle for people with disabilities to be heard. Ages 9 and up

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Two boys, a tough guy with a learning disability and genius in leg braces, forge a friendship and overcome a bully. (Ages 8-12).

Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson
The story of Helen Keller and her friendship with Annie Sullivan, the woman who taught Helen to read and speak. Ages 7-10.

Louis Braille: The Boy Who Invented Books for the Blind by Margaret Davidson
Biography of Louis Braille, a man who was born blind and went on to develop the Braille system of printing for the blind. Ages 7-10.

Looking After Louis by Lesly Ely
When Louis, a boy with autism, joins Miss Owlie’s class, his classmates are unsure of how to respond to him and think it’s unfair that he sometimes gets special treatment. However, through Miss Owlie’s encouragement, Louis’s class learns about sensitivity and how they can include Louis in their activities. Ages 7-10.

Petey by Ben Mikalesen
This story of friendship between an older man with cerebral palsy and an awkward teenager, this story illustrates how far we've come in the movement for equal rights. And it shows us just how strong the human spirit can be. Ages 9-12.

Wonder and Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories  by R. J. Palacio
The story of Auggie Pullman captured the attention of the world when it was first published in 2012. Auggie's unusual face and charming personality inspires an entire community to discuss what compassion, empathy, and kindness means in practice. Ages 8 and up.

Young Adult Books

Extraordinary People with Disabilities by Deborah Kent and Kathryn A. Quinlan
Brief stories of 48 famous people who dealt with disabilities, including Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and Tom Cruise. Ages 11 and up.

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Helen Keller's remarkable personal account of her early life. Ages 11 and up.

Owning It: Stories about Teens with Disabilities by Donald R. Gallo
A collection of stories about individuals coping with disabilities and trying to lead normal teenage lives. Ages 12 and up.

LGBTQ Movement

Books for Elementary Students

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
This delightful, laugh-out-loud story elegantly teaches older readers lessons in kindness and tolerance. Twelve-year-old Dennis is learning to cope with a stressful home life by finding his own passions and making his own choices, however unorthodox they may be.

Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen
Broaden your understanding of the fight for LGBT rights with this engaging history stretching from Sappho to modern days. Ages 9 and up.

George by Alex Gino
George has grown used to keeping her secret. She goes along with everyone that assumes she's a boy. But more than anything she wants to play Charlotte in Charlotte's Web, so badly that she and a friend make a plan to unveil her secret and be who she really is. Ages 8 to 12.

Young Adult Books

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This though-provoking story follow two loners, each with challenging home lives and both reacting differently to their homosexuality. Ages 12 and up.

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living by Dan Savage and Terry Miller
This collection of essays of testimonials from a wide variety of authors illustrates the challenges of growing up LGBT and reminds us all that we can build the life we wish to have. Ages 14 and up.

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Named one of Time Magazine's "25 Most Influential Teens of the Year," Jazz shares her transgender experience and her search for acceptance. Ages 12 and up.

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rightsby Ann Bausum
This outstanding historical account of the movement is written with teens in mind. Ages 12 and up.

Native People's Movement

Books for Elementary Students

The Birchbark House and The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich
Follow Omakayas and her family through traditional lives and changing seasons, in this award-winning series. As the family faces the challenges of life in the 1860s, readers get a culturally accurate historical account along with a bewitching and nuanced story.  Ages 8-12.

Children of Native America Today by Yvonne Wakim Dennis and Arlene Hirschfelder
A gorgeously-photographed journey through childhood contemporary Indian Country visits children from 26 Nations, including Native Hawaiians and urban Indians. Ages 8-12.

Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond by Joseph Medicine Crow
History comes to life in this remarkable autobiography, detailing the life of Crow tribal historian Joseph Medicine Crow.  Ages 5-9.

Navajo Long Walk: Tragic Story of a Proud Peoples Forced March From Homeland by Joseph Bruchac
Beautiful paintings add emotional depth to this detailed exploration of the shameful treatment of the Navajo people, and the ways in which this history continues to impact their communities.
Ages 8-12.

The Unbreakable Code by Sarah Hoagland Hunter
This is the inspiring story of how the Navajo language was used as a military code to save thousands of lives during WWII. Ages 6-8.

Young Adult

Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today by Lori Marie Carlson
The ten short stories from contemporary American Indian writers connect past, present, and future hopes of Native young people. Ages 12 and up.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This semi-autobiographical tale of a teen growing up on a reservation tells the story of Indian identity, both tribal and personal. It's also a laugh-out-loud account of a richly drawn, resilient young man coming of age. Ages 12 and up.

The North American Indians Today Series by various authors from Mason Crest Publishers
The fifteen books in this young adult series provide a broad and detailed portrait of modern Native American life. Ages 12 and up. 

Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee by Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior
This historical account offers a nuanced introduction to the challenges, setbacks, and successes of the Indian movement in the last half of the twentieth century. Though it has the heft of a textbook, it is a compelling and engaging read. Ages 14 and up.

Women's Rights Movement

Books for Elementary Students

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX - The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America by Karen Blumenthal
This powerful account of persistence and bravery will be an eye-opener for any young athlete that can't imagine a time when girls weren't allowed to participate. Ages 8-12.

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan
The story of Charlotte Parkhurst, a woman who spent most of her life disguised as a man and became the first woman to vote in the state of California. Ages 9-12.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History... and Our Future by Kate Schatz
Discover some amazing, inspiring stories you may not have heard about before. Even better, this book reminds us all that even though working toward equality isn't easy and isn't always personally successful, every effort pushes us closer to justice as a society. Ages 8 and up.

Secrets on 26th Street by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
This charming fictional account of the suffragette movement gives a sense of what it might have been like to be come of age at that time. Ages 9-12.

You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz
Introduce young readers to the suffrage movement with this entertaining look at the life and passions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Ages 8-12.

Young Adult Books

The Feminist Revolution: The Most Inspiring and Empowering Women in American History - Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, and Betty Friedan by Jules Archer
This fascinating biography of three women too often overlooked in classroom history books will inspire and motivate a new generation. Ages 12 and up.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterley
Now a major motion picture, this book reveals the inspiring true story of some of the brightest minds of a generation and the barriers they faced. Ages 12 and up.

With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote by Ann Bausum
This book offers an engaging chronicle – including exceptional photographs – of the suffrage movement. Ages 12 and up.

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This historical novel brings to life the tragic Triangle Waist Company disaster, weaving together the captivating stories of three immigrant girls. Ages 12 and up.

 

We at Doing Good Together are committed to expanding this list over time, and look forward to hearing your recommendations in the comments.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

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Visit our Complete Resource List.

Want to take the lessons further on this important subject? 
Order the DGT™ Hunger Curriculum which uses stories and discussions to empower kids to help others!

Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

Picture Books that Nurture Emotional Awareness

An evolving list of picture books teaching emotional awareness and empathy, including books about anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy, resilliance, and more!

Explore strong emotions through story.

Research tells us that children who understand emotions are more likely to act kindly toward others. Encourage this by reading these amazing stories and completing the unique workbooks listed below.


Conversation Starters

  • Why is it helpful to recognize and talk about our feelings?

  • How can talking about feelings help us be more understanding of others?

  • Can you tell about a time when you’ve felt surprised, happy, angry, nervous, etc.?

  • Make a list of the emotions each family member experienced throughout the day, along with the events that accompanied them. Discuss what you have learned from your list.

  • How do you think you would feel if [a character's experience or a classmate's experience] happened to you?

  • What helps you calm down when you are experiencing strong emotions? Put together a "calm down box" by filling a shoe box with a few things that make you feel better (a special book, a small stuffed animal, your favorite figurine etc).

Books about General Emotions

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
These simple, colorful illustrations of basic emotions will have your child exploring nuanced feelings through mimicry.

Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings by Ed Emberly
Let Ed Emberly's brightly illustrated monsters help your young child explore strong emotions. You'll enjoy the cut-out masks that allow your child to "try on" different emotions.

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
This book describes the moods of our days in true Dr. Seuss fashion – silly, simple and imaginative.

Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis
Like Dr. Seuss's My Many Colored Days, this story is as enjoyable to read as it is emotionally enlightening.

There Are No Animals in This Book (Only Feelings) by Chani Sanchez
Remarkable contemporary artwork is paired with charming, highly-re-readable language to create a one-of-a-kind gem of a book.

Understanding Myself: A Kid's Guide to Intense Emotions ad Strong Feelings by Mary C. Lamia
The stories, quizzes, and fact boxes in this book help older kids understand and develop coping skills for strong emotions.

Books about Anger

Crabby Pants by Julie Gassman
This hilarious story will have young readers laughing out loud even as they discover how shallow, fleeting, and silly crabbiness can be.

Curious George (assorted titles) by H. A. Ray
George's adventures inevitably lead to a bit of trouble. These classic stories provide the perfect opportunity to discuss why adults sometimes get angry - often because we worry about the safety of our children when they break important rules.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox
Children and parents alike will recognize themselves is Mem Fox's classic story. The well-meaning but accident-prone child. The parent straining to be remain calm. The all-too-human boiling point. And the loving conclusion that provides an elegant reminder: even when family members are angry or embarrassed or sorry, we still love each other.

Sometimes I'm a Bombaloo by Rachel Vail
Let's be honest, tantrums sometimes happen. This book offers smart, funny insight into what happens when one child becomes – as she puts it – a bombaloo.

What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anger by Dawn Heubner
This creative workbook teaches children and their parents practical tools for managing, redirecting, and diffusing strong feelings of anger.

Books about Jealousy

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Have you ever longed for the latest trend? Have you ever been told they are too expensive. This story will help families discuss the difference between want and need. Plus this powerful story of friendship and family is sure to inspire compassion.

Percy and Tum Tum: A Tale of Two Dogs by Jen Hill
When the new dog moves to town, launches new trends, and enchants the neighborhood, Percy can't help but feel jealous. The colorful illustrations and clever humor are sure to make this story a family classic.

Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond
This vibrant, funny, simple story gently teaches the trouble caused by jealousy and the joys of self-acceptance and friendship.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
The second story in this classic collection features Gertrude McFuzz, of Seussical the Musical fame. Gertrude desperately wants a glamorous tail, bigger even than La-La Lee Lou. Though she goes through great lengths to enhance her own tail, in the end she comes to appreciate her own.

Books about Fear & Anxiety

Lilly's Purple Purse by Keven Henkes
The clever author of Chrysanthemum and other childhood classics gives children a dose of calming perspective: "Today was a hard day. Tomorrow will be better."

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
Using humor, multi-media design, and grandiose language, this little book does an elegant job of encouraging young readers to face their fears through storytelling and journaling.

"The Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid." Grandmother Stories:  Wise Woman Stories from Around the World by Burleigh Muten
This story, tucked inside a beautiful anthology of "wise woman" fairy tales, gives children a mantra: "I will not be afraid. I will think of something." Though her tale is somewhat frightening, her bravery and self-reliance will inspire readers of every age.

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LaVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
This tale within a tale helps children - especially children who have experienced a traumatic storm or loss - cope with big fears. The rhyming verse and engaging illustrations draws readers right into rhinos world, where a storm has upended his home. The description of the Rhino's inner turmoil after "swallowing the storm" is recognizable to every child who has experienced fear and worry. In the end, focusing on the helpers and on hope helps the rhino release his storm.

The Scariest Thing of All by by Debi Gliori
Little Pip the rabbit keeps a list of the things he's afraid of, and that list is unbelievably long. When he gets lost in the woods, Pip must confront the scariest thing of all, and he finds an inner fierceness he never knew he had.

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Hueber.
Techniques, examples and activities to get kids thinking about how to handle their worrying.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
The clever author of Chrysanthemum and other childhood classics brings his talent to the challenging issue of childhood anxiety over the first days of school.

Wilma Jean, Worry Machine by Juila Cook
This humorous book offers practical tools for helping children understand the source of anxiety and how to cope with it.

Books about Loneliness

An Angel for Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant
Lonely Solomon wanders into "The Westway Cafe - Where All Your Dreams Come True" and finds himself sharing his wishes, along with his orders, with the waitress - Angel.

The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig
This charming story will inspire every reader who has ever felt invisible (hint: that's everyone at some time or another!).

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Moving to a new city can be a lonely experience, but Lydia hasn't come alone. She's packed a suitcase full of garden seeds and enough grit to make the best of a tough transition.

The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant
She names her car, her house, her big, comfy chair, but she will not name the shy, brown puppy that visits her front gate each day. This beautiful tale gives us insight into how lonely aging friends and family members might feel, and it just might inspire your family to reach out to a senior in your life.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
This story about a sweet country cottage consumed by the big city is surprisingly good at conveying loneliness and nostalgia. This is a heart-warming classic you won't want to miss.

Books about Resilience and Grit

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
This incredible, modern fable features a young hero named Liam who is just curious and adventurous enough to change the world.

Flight School  by Lita Judge
A young penguin believes he has "the soul of an eagle," but he's having trouble getting off the ground. His plucky perseverance, and a little help, make his dreams a reality.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Have you ever set out to make something magnificent? Have you ever had a vision, but wondered how to make it a reality? Have you ever been so frustrated by a project that - vision or no vision - you decided to quit right then and there? This charming book may help you look at your project from a whole new angle.

Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candice Flemming
An avid but imperfect inventor is in search of a great idea. Who could have guessed that a family fishing trip and his inquisitive daughter would give him just the inspiration he needs.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

Haven't found what you're looking for?
Visit our Complete Resource List.

Or check out these projects and book lists to help raise your family's emotional awareness.

Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

Chapter Books About Bullies, Bystanders, and Being Kind

A growing list of chapter books dealing with bullies

Empower your tween or teen to be an "upstander."

This growing collection of resources is provides the perfect starting place for a conversation about challenging social conflicts. Pick a book that interests your family. Read it together. Then, use the discussion questions to take the concepts further.

Also check out our collection of picture books about bullying.


Talk about the issue.

  • What are some other ways the main character could have dealt the main challenge? How would you have acted differently than the character in the story?

  • What do you think is the difference between bullying and teasing?

  • Do you ever feel lonely or left out? What do you do to feel better? What else can you do?

  • Do you ever see other kids at your school being bullied? How does it make you feel?

  • How do you think you could help a friend who is being bullied?

  • Let's make a list of great qualities about each of us. Why do you think it is important to think positive thoughts about yourself?

  • Check out this popular edition of the DGT™ Newsletter on "Raising Upstanders" for more strategies to prevent bullying.

Blubber by Judy Blume
This classic gives readers a clear picture of both the pain bullying can cause and the speed with which teasing can transform into bullying.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
This delightful, laugh-out-loud story elegantly teaches older readers lessons in kindness and tolerance. Twelve-year-old Dennis is learning to cope with a stressful home life by finding his own passions and making his own choices, however unorthodox they may be.

Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet by Catherine DePino
This is a simple chapter book, perfect for younger readers. Steve is determined to stand up to his bully. He turns to his parents to help him formulate a plan, but will it work?

Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Trudy Ludwig is an expert storyteller on the subject of bullying, and this sweet book is no exception. By giving readers the perspective of an engaging bully, Ludwig's book gives readers much to discuss, along with an excellent story.

Drita My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard
Ten-year-old Drita and her family have fled war-torn Kosovo to find safety in America. When Maxie is assigned to show Drita around the new school, the two struggle to find common ground. Sometimes friendship blossoms when you least expect it. And when you need it most.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Sudden tragedy during the great depression forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance and bullying she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances. It’s a powerful, award-winning and much-loved story.

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
Readers will instantly love Frannie, an 11-year-old who strives to be good and "be the one" who stands up for others, in spite of so many challenges. Some days the whole world seems to bully us, but if we learn to stand up and have hope, we can turn things around.

Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt
This is the perfect book for everyone struggling with the sense that they don't fit in. “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Two boys, a tough guy with a learning disability and genius in leg braces, forge a friendship and overcome a bully. (Ages 8-12).

Jake Drake Bully Buster by Andrew Clements
This edition of the popular Jake Drake series reminds us that sometimes even bullies need a little kindness and understanding.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Teens will be fascinated by the unique situation explored in this eloquent book. When Valerie and her boyfriend Nick created the list of everyone and everything they hate, she had no idea he intended to open fire on their school. Though Valerie is wounded in the attack while attempting to protect another student, she is also implicated in the shootings when the hate list is discovered. Bullying, guilt, regret, and overcoming hard mistakes are just some of the issues that arise in this poignant story.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Looking for one more thing to love about this enchanting series? Emerging research demonstrates that Rowling’s work is an incredible tool for teaching empathy and tolerance. Harry is the subject of significant bullying and badgering at the hands of his nemesis Draco Malfoy. Explore this series together and discuss the many-faceted issues of justice, bullying, and courage found in each of the books.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Wanda is teased by her classmates for wearing the same tattered dress to school each day. They don't believe her when she tells them of her collection of one hundred beautiful dresses at home. The bullying escalates until Wanda is pulled out of school, and one girl realizes she missed her chance to stand up for Wanda.

If You Believe in Mermaids…. Don’t Tell by A.A. Philips
Especially if your a boy, Todd Winslow knows there are some things you just can do, say, or be in front of others. He tries so hard to fit in at summer camp. He tries so hard to hide his love of mermaids and dressing up. Will he find the courage to overcome expectations and be himself?

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L. Going
Gabe needs liberation from his fears, fears of spiders, corpses, cows, and fifth grade. Gabe's new friend Frita makes it her mission to rid him - and incidentally herself - of fear. This exceptional story covers a lot of ground, including race relations, bullying, politics, and integrity.

Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Newbery-winning author Spinelli gives readers a beautifully written reminder that sometimes being different is exactly what it takes to be spectacular.

The Loser List (series) by H. N. Kowitt
Watch the trailer then read the book to discover how quickly one kid can move from being bullied to being one of the bullies and back again.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Winner of the Newbery Award in 1990, this is a modern myth featuring a homeless boy struggling with a sense of belonging. When Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee begins running, his myth really begins. Big conversations about racism, bullying and homelessness are sure to come out of this amazing story.

The Misfits by James Howe
Discover what happens when a group of bullied misfits decides to speak out, stand up, and be themselves.

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Bullying hurts most when it comes from a former friend. This book depicts an all-too-common scenario and offers discussion ideas at the end.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
This newly updated edition illuminates the transgender experience, and the pain the comes with being shamed for your very identity.

Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully by 50 Cent.
How does a kid become a bully? And what really happened on the playground that day that landed one student in the hospital and another in therapy? This story is sure to get teen readers talking.

A Smart Girl's Guide: Drama, Rumors & Secrets: Staying True to Yourself in Changing Times by Nancy Holyoke
Full of quotes, tips, quizzes, and great advice, this straightforward manual is a great book tohave on hand before bullying is a problem.

Smile by Raina Telgemeir
When Raina trips and smashes her two front teeth, she embarks on a long, embarrassing journey of dental treatments. Fitting in in sixth grade is hard enough, but this sweet, funny book will encourage kids to believe they can get through troubled times.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo.
From the moment he is born Despereaux is distrusted for being different. Who's ever heard of a mouse who doesn't scamper, who reads books, and who falls in love with a human princess? This Newbery winner is a great read-aloud book, and an essential to any big-hearted book collection!

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt
This vivid, often-funny, coming of age story shows us how hard it is to know and do the right thing. Can this sixth grader come to terms with his unmentionable act of bullying?

Wonder and Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories  by R. J. Palacio
The story of Auggie Pullman captured the attention of the world when it was first published in 2012. Auggie's unusual face and charming personality inspires an entire community to discuss what compassion, empathy, and kindness means in practice.  Auggie & Me tells the same story from three other perspectives, including that of Julian, the bully who let's his fear of Auggie's difference rule his behavior. These books are essential reading material for all who practice kindness.

Back to Read Together for more book lists.

Haven't found what you're looking for?
Visit our Complete Resource List.

Or check out these projects to start big-hearted conversations with your family.

 


Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

A Growing List of Picture Books about Bullies, Bystanders, and Being Kind

Inspire big-hearted conversations

Teach your child to be an "upstander."

Give your child the tools to take a stand with this growing collection of books, conversation starters, and links.

You may also want to browse our collection of Chapter Books about Bullies, Bystanders, and Being Kind for your older child or your next family read-aloud title.

 

 


Talk about the issue.

  • What do you think is the difference between bullying and teasing? (Hint:  One of these is more intentionally mean, recurring, and involves a difference in power between two or more people.)

  • Do you ever feel lonely or left out? What do you do to feel better? What else can you do?

  • Do you ever see other kids at your school being bullied? How does it make you feel to be a bystander to such behavior?

  • How do you think you could help a friend or classmate who is being bullied? (At DGT™ we proudly call these helpers "Upstanders!")

  • Let's make a list of great qualities about each of us. Why do you think it is important to think positive thoughts about yourself?

  • Check out this popular edition of the DGT™ Newsletter on "Raising Upstanders" for more strategies to prevent bullying.

Recommended Picture Books

Big Red and The Little Bitty Wolf: A Story About Bullying by Jeanie Franz Ransom
This modern twist on a classic fairy tale is an excellent starting point for any conversation about bullying.

Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel
Young readers will be empowered by this story's fun use of fairy tales as inspiration to stand up to a bully. Seven-year-old Leroy sure is!

Bully on the Bus (The Decision is Yours Series) by Carl W. Bosch
Nostalgic fans of choose-your-own-adventure books will love this format. And young readers will be empowered to make meaningful decisions about bullying in this compelling, if somewhat dated book.

Chrysanthemum by Keven Henkes
Too often our most unique feature becomes a target for bullies. Chrysanthemum must learn to love her name, and herself, enough to overcome her classmates negativity in this childhood classic.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
This funny, sweet story features the sort of neighborhood conflict all kids experience. The secret recipe the only cure for conflict, enemy pie, may just inspire your kids to make a few new friends of their own.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
When Chloe and her friends reject new girl Maya, she learns a valuable lesson about accepting people. And the regret of missing an opportunity to share kindness.

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others by Rob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
Teach your kids how not to be a bystander with this story. One classroom has pledged to stand up for one another and to earnestly live by the golden rule. When the new kid starts to cause trouble, these classmates challenge one another to stay true to their pledge, ultimately teaching their new classmate what it means to be part of their community.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLoud
I know this book pops up on every list. If you are wondering why, then perhaps you haven't read it in a while. The message is so clear and so motivating, even the youngest children will set out at once to fill buckets. Perhaps even more remarkable, even the oldest readers find it inspiring too!

The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig
This charming story will inspire every reader who has ever felt invisible (hint: that's everyone at some time or another!).

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Girls can be mean in particularly fierce but subtle ways. This book is perfect for any family coping with a "mean girl" scenario.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
What's in a name, Shakespeare asked. For a child whose whole world is changing, the continuity of her own name may mean an awful lot. And friends who are willing to take the time to learn her name may mean even more. This is a great book about acceptance, friendship, and change.

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neil
I'm a big fan of this book, because my instinct has always been to turn to humor in tight situations. It's fun, it rhymes, and best of all, this book gives you ample opportunity to discuss how bullying begins and how to shut it down.

Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Soronson, Ph.D.
The big idea of empathy is boiled down to the simple act of noticing the lives, experiences, and emotions of others. One part mindfulness, one part social skills lesso, and one part sweet story, this book is a helpful tool for your home library.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by David Catrow
Teach your children (and remind yourself) to be true to their own idiosyncrasies, in spite of teasing. This book will have your whole family cheering one another on for much-loved quirks.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
This funny story about kindness and friendship is certain to be an on-demand favorite for parents and kids alike.

One by Katheryn Otoshi
The simple text and calming watercolors in this book disguise a complicated story about friendship and standing up for others.

Tease Monster by Julia Cook
Discover the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with someone in this silly story.

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Palacco
Master storyteller Palacco shares her own childhood experience with a learning disability, bullies, the teacher that made a difference.

The Weird Series by Erin Frankel (Weird, Tough, and Dare)
Featuring three books from the perspective of three different third graders, this series is touching, thoughtful, and a certain conversation starter!

 

Back to Read Together for more book lists!

Haven't found what you're looking for?
Visit our Complete Resource List.

Or check out these projects to practice kindness with your family.

 


Disclaimer:  Doing Good Together™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.

Creative Picture Books to Inspire Everyday Acts of Kindness

Picture books to inspire everyday acts of kindness for families from DoingGoodTogether.org

Teach empathy with these excellent stories!

Simple acts of kindness can have a big impact on the world, as one good deed inspires the next. This evolving list of picture books will motivate your family to help others in ways great and small every day.


Conversation Starters

  • How would we know if someone was having a bad day and may need a little extra kindness?

  • What are some safe and simple ways to share kindness with a stranger?

  • What acts of kindness have others shared with you recently? How did they make you feel?

  • Have you ever thought of doing a kind thing for a stranger, but decided not to out of nervousness? How could you overcome your shyness in the future?

Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for you to Read withYour Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire by Dharmachari Nagaraja
This book contains 20 modernized versions of ancient Buddhist stories. Most are full of whimsy and wonder, spurring on creative play, even as they teach about kindness, courage, and peace. Each story ends with a short restatement of the moral for reinforcement.

Chicken Soup for Little Souls: The Goodness Gorillas by Lisa McCourt
This feel-good story teaches the importance of reaching out to others – even the class bully.

Clifford’s Good Deeds by Norman Bridwell
While he has good intentions, Clifford’s good deeds always seem to result in wacky situations.

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
When Cornelia Augusta catches hearts from the sky, she must decide what heart to give to what friend.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
When Chloe and her friends reject new girl Maya, she learns a valuable lesson about accepting people. And the regret of missing an opportunity to share kindness.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
A wonderful story for inspiring a discussion about the power of friendship, appreciation for what we have, and the true meaning of gift giving.

The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving by Ellen Sabin
This book is a wonderful tool to help elementary school kids understand and set their own charitable priorities. This book is one part journal, one part work book, and one part cheerleader for the task of doing good.

The Giving Box: Create a Tradition of Giving with Your Children by Fred Rogers
The folktales and fables in this small volume encourage children in the spirit of giving. A “giving box” is also included — a simple way to make donating to charity a family ritual.

Have you Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
This is the book that’s sweeping elementary schools across the nation. It’s likely you’ve encountered it somewhere, but this list would be very incomplete without it. The bucket provides a perfect metaphor for the way our words and actions can make others overflow with happy feelings, or the way we may lash out at others when we’re feeling depleted and empty. Even the youngest readers will set out to fill a bucket near them!

If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover
This funny book has a nice message about the impact of your actions on others.

Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness by Dawna Markova
Stories of loving kindness written by kids of all ages.

Kiki's Hats by Warren Hanson
Kiki’s story is another variation on the theme of how love and kindness can touch the world. Kids are inspired to start right now, sharing their own talents in whatever way they can. My five-year-old is especially in love with this simple story.

Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler
 When Mrs. Ruler’s class is challenged to perform as many good deeds as possible, they find creative and fun ways to give back to people.

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
When the students in Mrs. Cooper’s class are challenged to do acts of kindness and depict them in drawings, their work is so impressive, they create a “kindness quilt” that continues to grow. Don't let the cute, simple design of this book fool you. Children are universally inspired to mimic the activity in this book as soon as reading time ends!

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Introduce the idea that kindness is contagious, and watch kindness circle the globe in just a few days. Mary, as ordinary as any other kid, starts it all with a special delivery. The rhythm and rhyme of this book make it a fun read aloud experience, too.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
A great read and the perfect antidote to the season’s all-too-common messages of materialism and greed.

Reach Out and Give by Cheri Meiners
This book is very straight forward, and it’s definitely more a teaching tool than a story. It is simple, effective, and a quick read. After a brief discussion of gratitude, this book illustrates a number of different ways kids can be helpers in their community. In the back it includes discussion questions, a philanthropy role-play, generosity games, and ideas for service projects.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz
A grumpy, lonely man discovers the importance of friendship when he receives an unexpected package from an admirer. A compelling message about the power of kindness.

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, The Three Questions is the story of a little boy’s quest to discover the secret to being a good person.

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Muth weaves three Zen fables into a whimsical story of three siblings who befriend their new panda bear neighbor. Each fable provides openings for discussions about anger and forgiveness, wealth, manners, imagination, patience, luck, and many other big ideas.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...