Picture Books

Picture Books about Illness & Hospitals

Picture Books about Illness & Hospitals

Serious or sudden illness can be a scary issue to deal with at any age. Yet caring for and reaching out to those who are sick is an essential lesson in compassion, even for very young children. Whether you are caring for a loved one or volunteering to provide comfort, this collection of picture books will help your whole family get started.

Picture Books for Bibliophiles

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Share your love of reading with a child in your life.

Bibliophiles - or book worms - of every age will be delighted by these creative stories. They explore reading as a superpower, reading as magic, and reading as a grand adventure. Then use our discussion questions to make the most of story time.


Conversation Starters

  • What is a bibliophile?

  • What do you love most about reading?

  • Can you name a favorite book or two? A favorite character or two?

  • How could you persuade someone who doesn't love to read to try your favorite book?

  • Do you like to visit the public library?

  • Do you think it's important to make books available, for free, to everyone? Why or why not

Featured Title

A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader edited by Maria Papova and Claudia Bedrick
Perfect for book lovers ages 10 and up, this collection of deliciously inspiring essays features writers from Neil Gaiman and Jane Goodall to Rebecca Solnit and Regina Specktor.

For everyone who has ever fallen in love with a book, this is a gift-worthy treasure.


More DGT Favorites

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
This whimsical, reality-bending book is full of food for thought. It even inspired an Academy Award-winning short film.

The Old Woman Who Loved to Read by John Winch
This lovely lady moves to the country for a quieter life, with the hope that she’ll have time to read. Alas, she finds that country life brings with it new and hilarious demands on her time, one of which lands her in a bathtub with her ever-present animal pals.

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Palocco
If you are looking for an adventure story celebrating books and reading, this is the one. Master story-teller Palocco introduces us to Aunt Chip and her quest to unplug a generation of tech-crazy kids in a tale that will stick with readers long after the last page.

A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood
This beautiful book empowers children to discover the quiet places that feed their spirits, including the many adventures that await between the covers of a good book.

Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
Can a librarian take on a motorcycle gang to protect her precious books? Find out in this exceptional tall tale!

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 inspire your family to share kindness with your own creativity.

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 for Your Thanksgiving Table

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Deepen your holiday experience through story.

Thanksgiving can seem like a very self-conflicted holiday.

On one hand, this national day of feast has grown into a wonderful ritual of coming together to celebrate our blessings. On the other hand, it is still rooted in deeply problematic representations of native peoples and our national history.

Here’s another contradiction. As its title implies, Thanksgiving is a spirited, ready-made opportunity to celebrate the abundance in our lives. Unfortunately, this holiday also marks the unofficial kick-off to holiday shopping, wish lists, and a nationwide plague of “the gimmes.”

Don't let tired stereotypes and holiday greed overshadow your family’s Thanksgiving. Explore this growing list of picture books with your children, and take time to deepen your holiday experience.


Conversation Starters

  • Why is it so easy to forget the many things we are grateful for when we discover something new that we desperately want?

  • How can we remind ourselves to be satisfied with the good things already in our lives?

  • What if we woke up tomorrow and only had the things we expressed gratitude for today?

  • How can we tell the difference between what we need and what we want?

  • Is it wrong to want something more when you have so much?

  • Is it hard to feel grateful when you’ve had a difficult day? What can we do to remind ourselves of gratitude even when we’re not feeling very happy or grateful?

Featured Title

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Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp
This is a special children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations. Its celebration of so many things we universally cherish – love, nature, gratitude – make this a wonderful book to revisit throughout the year or read around the Thanksgiving table.


Additional DGT Favorites

The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac
This collection features works by Native American tribes including Cherokee, Kwakiutl, Pawnee, Navajo, and Papago. The assorted poems and songs offer wonderful food for thought on the topic of gratitude, family, and the rituals of celebration.

Grateful: A Song of Giving Things by Jon Bucchino
Including sheet music and a CD, this song-in-a-book invites readers to consider all they are thankful for in a peaceful, meditative way.

Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
This poetic and joyful story introduces us to a young biracial boy as he celebrates the many reasons he feels thankful.

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.

The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood
In the soothing, inspirational style Douglas Wood is famous for, this book unlocks the secret of gratitude. Parents will look forward to spending time with this gentle book.

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac
Learn about the Pokanoket tribe, in Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac, an author of Native descent. This exceptional biography is perfect for thoughtful grade-schoolers. The overarching tone is both tender and realistic, as it introduces aspects of the history that are too often glossed over or misrepresented. This book will help ground your holiday celebration in a nuanced and respectful historical context.

The Table Where Rich People Sit by Bryd Baylor
A young girl learns from her family that being rich is not just about material wealth.

Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon by Grace Lin
Expand your conversation from American history to a similar fall tradition: the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Grace Lin’s story is simple and wonderful to read aloud.  The Moon Festival is one of the most important holidays of the year, and though it usually falls in September, this book’s theme of thankfulness, togetherness, and harvest celebrations fits nicely with the other books on this list.

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Explore gratitude through 16 beautiful poems sure to illuminate the power of saying thanks.

The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose
This classic picture book introduces children to some of the hundreds of groups that made their homes in America long before Columbus set sail. Learn more about the traditions and lives of a variety of native peoples across the continent.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

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

Or check adopt your next big-hearted holiday tradition
with one of these projects.

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).

Featured Title

Small Things by Mel Tregonning
This powerful graphic picture book helps us all recognize and overcome the little everyday worries that can sap our energy and rob us of happiness. When a young boy is overcome by his inner demons, he beings to do poorly in school, lashes out at his family, and feels utterly alone. Discussion opportunities arise naturally throughout the story, especially as the boy discovers that people everywhere cope with various worries, and that help is never far away.


More DGT Favorites

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.

In My heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
This book is the perfect introduction to a the big feelings we all experience. It is beautiful, lively, and fun to read aloud again and again.

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.

You are Your Strong by Danielle Dufayet
This sweet, empowering book is perfect for starting a conversation about coping with strong emotions. We love the gentle way it helps children notice the skills adults use to address their emotional needs, and how it inspires kids to develop their own strategies to cope with everyday aggravations and disappointments.


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.

The Grumpy Goat by Brett Helquist
Grumpy Goat has a difficult time making friends at the new farm. But his somehow, he learns to stop and smell the flowers.

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

A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook
This creative story from the best-selling author of My Mouth is a Volcano!, reminds children that dark clouds can be temporary and asking for help is always okay. We all have times when we need to borrow a little hope from someone else.

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.

Pilar’s Worries by Victoria Sanchez
Pilar loves to dance. But the prospect of upcoming tryouts fills her with fear. Thankfully, she’s learned some helpful coping strategies that help her stand up to her worries and put her ballet skills on full display.

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

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
This charming story will captivate your whole family, even as it soothes anxieties and reminds us all that we have the ability to overcome whatever obstacles we face. This book is sure to be an award-winner this year!

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.

Growing up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life by Carol McCloud
From the brilliant author of Have You Filled a Bucket Today, this book takes the bucket-filling concept one step further. Did you know your bucket has a lid? And you can use your lid to protect yourself from bucket dippers, to preserve your reservoir of good thoughts and feelings, and to nurture your own resilience?

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.

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.

Featured Title

The Big Umbrella by June Bates
This is a beautiful, open-ended book shows helps kids see that there’s always room to include others. Young readers may enjoying knowing that this book was cowritten by a mother-daughter team that imagined the story on their way to school in the rain.


Additional DGT Favorites

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.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Fall in love with the latest picture book from the incomparable Jacqueline Woodson. This book is a beautiful reminder to take pride in our own stories, watch for what we have in common with others, and delight in our fabulous differences.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu and A. G. Ford
What should you do if someone calls you a very mean word? How do you know when to forgive someone? This compassionate story, inspired by Desmond Tutu's childhood in South Africa, is sure to inspire big conversations.

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.

My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin, Ph.D. and Barbara Kiwak
Bilal and his sister Ayeesha are the only two Muslim students in their school. When other students tease Ayeesha about her headscarf, Bilal finds the courage to stand up for her.

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.

Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds
Differences are no reason to treat people poorly, but being different - or feeling different - can make for a pretty lonely life. Readers will empathize with Nerdy Birdy’s as he struggles to find his flock.

One by Kathryn Otoshi
This story may seem sweet and simple, but at it’s core is an important lesson about embracing differences, the power of standing up for others, and empathy.

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 lesson, 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.

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
This delightful story of acceptance, friendship, and empathy is sure to become a family favorite. When one young boy’s tiny pet elephant isn’t allowed at the local Pet Club, he gets creative and finds an adorable solution. The overall message is that all are welcome, and it is delivered in the most entertaining, delightful way possible.

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.

Picture Books to Celebrate Winter Holidays

An evolving list of picture books celebrating winter holidays

Cozy up with compassionate holiday tales.

The spirit of wonder, hope, and generosity in each story below helps us see clearly that people everywhere have so much in common, even amid our beautiful differences.


Conversation Starters

  • What did the holidays look like in your grandparents' homes when they were children?

  • What did the holidays look like in your parents' homes when they were children?

  • How did some of the favorite holiday traditions get started in your family?

  • What would your holiday be like if you didn’t receive any presents?

  • What would it feel like to receive holiday gifts from a stranger instead of family and friends?

  • What kind gestures have others done for you over the holidays?

  • What are some ways you can show others you care during the holidays? Or what are some ways you have shared comfort and cheer with others?

  • Snag our free printable count down to the New Year for holiday kindness ideas!

    Featured Title

The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
This mesmerizing story beautifully captures the magical spirit of the holiday season. Its soothing, serene pace is a nice break from the frenzy of year-end traditions. And its inclusive, expansive message of hope and inspiration make this book perfect for everyone on your list.


A Hanukkah with Mazel Joel Edward Stein
Misha, a lonely artist, befriends a cat, Mazel. He works to make Hanukkah special for his new friend. Though they have very little, young readers will learn that holidays can be very special with the simplest gifts and a little creativity. Ages 3 to 8.

 

A World of Christmas Cookies: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World by M. E. Furman
Featuring delicious recipes from around the world, this creative story will add flavor and global appreciation to your holiday. Ages 4 to 8.

 

A Winter Candle by Jeron Ashford
Residents of one apartment building are each celebrating family traditions during the holidays. One by one, each family discovers they are missing an important part of their holiday - a candle. This lovely story follows the candle as it is passed from family to family, lighting a gatherings for the Sabbath, Saint Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, and others. Ages 5 to 11.

 

December by Eve Bunting
Simon and his mom don’t have much–the cardboard house they built for themselves, a tiny Christmas tree, and a picture of an angel on the wall. On Christmas Eve they take in a frail stranger who needs a place to keep warm, and the next morning Simon wakes early to find that the woman has vanished. Instead, he sees the angel from the picture, with her wings fanned out over their cardboard house. Could she be real?

 

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Rich Simon and Tanya Simon
Set in 1938, Oskar is a Jewish immigrant new to the U.S. Follow him as he walks through New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. Along the way, he takes in New York landmarks and experiences small acts of kindness from many strangers, making him feel welcome in his new home. Ages 4 to 8.

 

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
What do you get for the friend who has everything? Nothing, of course! Patrick McDonnell’s The Gift of Nothing is the light-hearted tale of one dog’s quest to find just the right nothing to give his special friend. Ages 4 to 8.

 

The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
A talented seamstress makes beautiful quilts for the poor and the homeless. When the king who has everything decides he must have one of her creations, she tells him he must give away everything; then she will give him a quilt. In the process of shedding his many possessions, the king finds true happiness. No summary can do justice to the mesmerizing, fairy-tale quality of this beautifully illustrated tale. Ages 4 to 8.

 

The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
This story featuring the joy of giving is told with the incomparable sensitivity and bewitching style of all Polacco's books. Young Trisha and her family are preparing for Hanukkah when they learn that their Christian neighbors are coping with a scarlet fever epidemic. Unable to celebrate while their neighbors are suffering, Trisha’s family reaches out to help. Ages 5 to 10.

 

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
This is one of the sweetest, most elegant books of the season. Great Joy is the tale of an organ grinder, his monkey, and the little girl who worries over whether he has a place to go in the storm. Ages 4 to 8.

 

Gus and Grandpa and the Christmas Cookies by Claudia Mills
When Gus goes to Grandpa’s house to bake Christmas cookies, they discover that they don’t have any sprinkles. On the way to the store, they pass a Santa collecting money for the poor. Gus contributes two quarters and is rewarded with a “God bless you.” Returning home, Gus and Grandpa are visited by three neighbors, each bringing two dozen cookies. What are they to do with so many cookies? Gus knows! Ages 5 to 8.

 

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert
Celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah with a haiku for each night and a clever, beautifully design book that is lovely to read again and again. Ages 4 to 8.

 

Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore
Young Gita is excited to celebrate her favorite holiday for the first time after her family immigrated from India: Divali, a festival of lights. But when Gita's plans fall apart, Gita gets very homesick. With the help of family and friends, Gita discovers that she carries the light of Diwali inside her wherever she goes. Ages 5 to 8.

 

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis
This charming fable introduces readers to the seven principles of Kwazaa and life lessons everyone can appreciate.

 

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
Learn about the way various cultures throughout history have observed the Winter Solstice.

 

Walk this World at Christmastime by Big Picture Press & Debbie Powell
This beautifully illustrated lift-the-flap book takes children on a tour of Christmastime around the world, as well as other winter holidays that bring families together.

 

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

Or check out these ideas for sharing kindness this holiday season.

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.

Discuss Every Story with Printable Conversation Cards

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Turn story time into a family book club!

Making time and space to read together is the simplest, most effective way to nurture compassion.

A good book invites you to see the world from another point of view, which is key to strengthening your whole family's empathy muscles. You can  deepen this impact by asking a question or two after each story. If you follow your children's lead and encourage them to think deeply - at every age - about the world in your story, a beautiful thing will happen.

You'll find almost any book will start a big-hearted, empathy-building conversation.

 Some days, this may lead to a super-silly “what if” conversation. Other days, you may find yourself answering big questions about hunger or hurt or loneliness. 

Encourage this reflection. Follow their lead. And enjoy these thoughtful, mindful family moments.


Make it a habit to ask a question or two after every story time. If you follow your child’s lead and encourage them to think deeply - at every age - about the world in your story, a beautiful thing will happen. You’ll find almost any book will start a big-hearted, empathy-building conversation.
— Sarah Aadland, Doing Good Together™

Conversation Starters

  • Did you enjoy this book? Why or why not?

  • What challenge was the main character facing? How would you have reacted in that situation?

  • How did the main character(s) feel at key moments throughout the book? How would you have felt at each of those moments?

  • What do you think about how the main character faced the main conflict? What else could he or she have done?

  • Imagine how this story might be different if it were set in a different culture or time?

  • Do you know anyone in real life who reminds you of a character in this story? Who and in what way?

  • What would you change about this story if you were the author? Let's take a moment to imagine that story. 

  • Does this story remind you of any other stories you've read? How are they the same? Which story did you enjoy more? Why?

Browse Doing Good Together's most recent favorites.

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Browse Doing Good Together's chapter book collections.

Haven't found what you're looking for?
Go back to Read Together for more book lists.
Or visit our Complete Resource List.

Or check adopt your next big-hearted holiday tradition
with one of these projects.

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 To Inspire Gratitude

A growing list of picture books to inspire gratitude.

Be mindful of your treasures with this growing collection.

Research shows that people who regularly express gratitude are happier and healthier than their counterparts, regardless of measurable wealth. Plus, regularly practicing gratitude shines a spotlight on the abundance of gifts in our lives, gifts we might otherwise overlook.

You may also want to browse our list of Chapter Books about Mindfulness and Gratitude.


Conversation Starters

  • Why is it so easy to forget the many things we are grateful for when we discover something new that we desperately want?

  • How can we remind ourselves to be satisfied with the good things already in our lives?

  • What if we woke up tomorrow and only had the things we expressed gratitude for today?

  • What is the difference between what you need and what you want?

  • Is it wrong to want something more when you have so much?

  • Is it hard to feel grateful when you’ve had a difficult day? What can we do to remind ourselves of gratitude even when we’re not feeling very happy or grateful?

  • What would you do with a money tree if one appeared on your doorstep?

Featured Title

The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni
The heartwarming story of a snail who dreams of having a bigger shell. When his father tells him about another snail that had the same dream, he begins to rethink his wish.


Additional DGT Favorites

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
This Caldecott Honor book is the perfect tool to help young readers see the beautify and gifts in everyday life. Follow a small group of family and friends through their day and discover the importance of all things great and small, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to the warmth of family connections, to the widest sunset sky.

An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
This whimsical book for any age child or adult reminds us of all we have to be grateful for. Wonderful illustrations.

Grateful: A Song of Giving Things by Jon Bucchino
Including sheet music and a CD, this song-in-a-book invites readers to consider all they are thankful for in a peaceful, meditative way.

Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
This poetic and joyful story introduces us to a young biracial boy as he celebrates the many reasons he feels thankful.

Members, visit our  Exclusive Downloads Collection  to print conversation cards for this story.

Members, visit our Exclusive Downloads Collection to print conversation cards for this story.

The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
Follow the greedy triangle to learn how wanting more and more and more can change your life in ways you might never expect. And reinforce those basic geometry skills along the way.

The Money Tree by Sarah Stewart
Miss McGillicuddy’s simple country routine continues throughout the year in spite of a very unusual tree growing in her yard.

No One But You by Douglas Wood
Take a close look at the astonishing, everyday wonders that make life beautiful. And consider how your own personal experiences, great and small, combine to make you absolutely unique.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
A talented seamstress makes beautiful quilts for the poor and the homeless When the king who has everything decides he must have one of her creations, she tells him he must give away everything; then she will give him a quilt. In the process of shedding his many possessions, the king finds true happiness. No summary can do justice to the mesmerizing, fairy-tale quality of this beautiful tale.

The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood
In the soothing, inspirational style Douglas Wood is famous for, this book unlocks the secret of gratitude. Parents will look forward to spending time with this gentle book.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
“Want what you have” is the important lesson, brought to life by the magical, and somewhat alarming, adventures of Sylvester.

The Table Where Rich People Sit by Bryd Baylor
A young girl learns from her family that being rich is not just about material wealth.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Especially great for your youngest readers, Todd Parr's bright and simple style gives kids a practical, and sometimes silly, way of talking about gratitude.

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Explore gratitude through 16 beautiful poems sure to illuminate the power of saying thanks.

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts.
This book, about a boy who wants to fit in by owning a pair of trendy shoes, contains a powerful lesson about differentiating between wants and needs.

Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern
Gratitude versus “I want more” is simply a matter of perspective. This exceptionally simple story makes that clear. When the old man searching for silence is told to bring home a variety of barnyard animals, even the youngest child can see the folly in his quest

Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine
In this multicultural picture book, young Rosalinda sets out on a quest to heal her broken lemon tree and find the thief who hurt it. During her magical adventure, she learns the power of empathy, forgiveness, generosity, and gratitude.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

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

Or check adopt your next big-hearted holiday tradition
with one of these projects.

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 Boooks to Celebrate Halloween

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Add heart to this spooky holiday.

What child (or child at heart) doesn't love the imaginative aspects of Halloween, a celebration of candy and costumes?

Of course, this Holiday lends itself to some difficult conversations, when young children observe costumes, advertisements, and television previews that may be beyond their emotional readiness. Some are just downright yucky. These books will help your child navigate this tricky season.


Conversation Starters

  • What is courage?

  • Does everyone get scared?

  • What should you do when you are afraid?

  • Can you imagine a situation when you could be very brave, like the character in your story? Color a picture or tell a story about your brave moment.

  • Why is it fun to dress up as someone or something else?

  • How can we help others during this fun, creative holiday?

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter
There is nothing wrong with being shy or fearful. But even the most timid among us have the capacity for great bravery. Full of hilarious illustrations, this book is perfect for any cat lover or any kid looking to unlock his inner courage.

Zen Ghosts by Jon Muth
Reconnect with Addy, Michael, and Karl from Zen Shorts as they celebrate Halloween with their good friend Stillwater. A ghostly tale and Muth’s signature poetic prose set a wonderful tone in this story.

Tuesday by David Weisener
If you haven’t had a chance to fall in love with David Weisener’s work, now is the time, and this is the book! Though it may not be a Halloween book explicitly, the unexpected nocturnal flight of frogs sets a perfectly eerie, charmingly fantastical tone for the holiday. 

Stellaluna by Janel Cannon
Nothing sets a Halloween mood quite like bats. But this little tale of a lost baby bat and her attempt to fit in with a kindly bird family is fun in any season. Stellaluna’s adventures teach kids all about bats, and, even more importantly, all about how good friends can appreciate their differences.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
A witch and her cat are off on a moonlit broom ride when her hat is blown off into the darkness.  As they attempt to recover the witchy hat, they wind up taking on passengers, dodging a dragon, and solving their space conundrum with style! Axel Scheffler’s illustrations make the whole thing incredibly fun!

Beneath the Ghost Moon by Jane Yolen
This powerful lesson in forgiveness and courage is also a delightfully fanciful story. The dreaded creepie-crawlies nearly ruin the Halloween ball for all the excited mice. This adventure may inspire your own little mice to stage a Halloween dance party!

Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
Page by page the monster grows, until your little one is ready to show him who is boss. Then page by page, watch that monster disappear. This book is sure to vanish Halloween fears.

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPuchio
Full of silliness and heart, this book is sure to put a positive spin on your Halloween antics.

Looking for a chapter book? Older children might also enjoy this:

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
In one of his few books for children, Bradbury brings kids on a ghostly time travel adventure to search for their lost friend and the meaning of Halloween. In the end, the boys in the story are courageous enough to make an important sacrifice to save their friend and get home again.

Back to Read Together for more book lists...

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

Or check adopt your next big-hearted holiday tradition
with one of these projects.

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 Death & Grief

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Find solace in healing words.

This tender subject is too often avoided -- that is, until it is unavoidable. When children have questions about death and grief, let's do our best to answer them honestly and compassionately. Here are a few beautiful books to help your family begin a conversation about death, grief, and the cycles of life.

You may also want to explore our collection of Chapter Books about Death and Grief.


Wondering how to approach a conversation about death and grief?

Featured Title

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfield
This deeply moving story is a powerful tool for helping young children understand how to support a friend who is sad. It is a perfect meditation on loss, friendship, and the power of listening.


Always Remember by Cece Meng
This poetic tale illustrates the role of memory in keeping our loved ones alive. The sea creatures are recalling their favorite moments with Old Turtle, and find comfort in the fact that he's not truly gone, as long as they have these memories.

Angel Catcher for Kids: A Journal to Help You Remember the Person You Loved Who Died by Amy Eldon
The simple prompts in this well-loved journal may help younger children explore and record their memories of their lost loved one.

Cry Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
This simple, beautifully-told story from award-winning Danish author Glenn Ringtved, features death as a gentle houseguest. He then tells four children a story to help them understand grief, loss, and the importance of saying goodbye.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: a story of Life for all Ages by Leo Buscaglia
This classic story is perfect, both simple and comforting. A little leaf named Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Our hearts are connected by an invisible string, even when we can't see each other. This sweet book will reassure young children coping with separation or loss.

Ida, Always by Caron Levis
Based on two, beloved polar bears from the New York City Zoo, this book explores the loss of a good friend with great tenderness.

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryon Mellonie
"All around us, everywhere, beginnings and endings are going on all the time. With living in between." This is a book to fall in love with, a book to read even when death is not a major topic around the house.

The Next Place by Warren Hanson
This simple non-denominational poem beautifully expresses the release, relief, and freedom death might bring.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst
This book is on the secular end of the spectrum. The writing is beautiful, the story is simple, and both children and adults will find comfort in its pages.

Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney
This gracefully adapted fable features a water bug that changed into a dragonfly in order to explain death to a five-year-old. This book is more traditionally religious than The Next Place (see above). Children may be interested in the metaphor of the dragonfly larva, who live below the surface of the water, and their transformation into adult dragonflies, to illustrate the notion of someone going beyond our sight to a marvelous place.

Please share your recommendations in the comments below. 

We realize the topics of death and grief are deeply entwined with personal spiritual beliefs, so feel free to share whatever speaks to you and your family. There are likely many others just like you who will be grateful for an additional resource.

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