Practice Kindness

Discuss Every Story with Printable Conversation Cards

cover image conversation cards for every story.jpg

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.

Browse Doing Good Together's picture book collections.

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
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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 To Inspire Gratitude

A growing list of picture books to inspire gratitude.

Be more mindful of your treasures with this growing book list.

Gratitude shines a spotlight on the abundance of love, of comforts, and of freedoms that surround us. Research shows that people who regularly express gratitude are happier and healthier than their counterparts, regardless of measurable wealth.

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?

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

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.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
In signature Dr. Seuss style, this book is sure to help any child recognize their blessings and discover how gratitude can cheer up a bad day.

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.

 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, inspiration 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 Books for Our Youngest Do Gooders

A growing list of books for our youngest do gooders.

Nurture roots of kindness in the heart of your 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.

Back to Read Together for more book lists

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

 


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.

global conflict.jpg

Global Conflict (Children in Our World) by Louise Spilsbury ad Hanane Kai
When international conflicts saturate the headlines, children may have complicated questions. This well-crafted book is designed to help you answer questions about global conflict in a straightforward way.

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?
Visit our Complete Resource List.

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 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.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost is on his way to becoming a track star, but can he run fast enough to put his past behind. This book is full of complicated characters, difficult decisions, and opportunities to ask, "What is the right thing to do when you're being bullied?"

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?

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
This stunning story is drawn from the author's own experience as a refugee. Told through poetic verse, this novel is known for its illumination of the immigrant experience, but watch for heart-wrenching lessons in the importance of treating people well even when they speak, look, and act differently.

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.

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.

The Saturday Boy by David Flemming
Engaging and funny, this story captures the spirit of life as a 10-year-old boy, when the right thing to do or say is never very clear.

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

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