from the Big-Hearted Families program of

Inspire Everyday Acts of Kindness

Read & Reflect to Grow Big Hearts

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

After reading all of these (or even just one!), you’ll be ready to head out into the world with a kindness activity or two. Check out these printable labels to leave with your next random act of kindness, along with other fun tips on our Quick Acts of Kindness project guide.

And don’t forget to reflect about the books you've read. Here are a few questions to get you started!

  • 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?

1. 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.

2. 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. This book was featured in the our Big-Hearted Families™ Book Club (December 2014)

3. 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!

4. Kiki’s Hats by Warren Hansen

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.

5. 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.

Interested in more resources to inspire everyday kindness, check out our complete collection here.

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