Kindness isn’t necessarily something we’re naturally born with, it’s something we’re taught. Which is why engaging children’s books that teach kindness are such a valuable tool.

In fact, you could argue that one of our most important jobs as parents is developing our kids’ emotional intelligence

Stories can play an important role in your empathy, kindness and gratitude lessons!

Research shows that reading kindness books for kids helps little ones understand and empathize with different perspectives. Which, in turn, leads to them treating others more kindly.

That’s the power of kindness! It only takes a few simple acts of kindness to kickstart a chain reaction.

By reading stories centered around acts of kindness for kids, you’ll be starting a chain of positivity in your own home. How cool is that?

Check out these amazing books that teach kindness to children. We’ll bet you discover a few new family favorites.


Our 9 Favorite Children’s Books That Teach Kindness


1. How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids

Author: Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

Age: 3-8 Years Old

What It’s About: In How Full Is Your Bucket, Felix wakes up one morning and finds an invisible bucket floating overhead.

When the bucket is full, he feels great. When it’s empty, he feels awful. 

Why It’s Important: Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. He realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.

It’s the ultimate lesson in the power of kindness.



2. I am Kind (Positive Power)

Author: Suzy Capozzi

Age: 4-6 Years Old

What It’s About: I Am Kind follows a little girl who sees kindness all around her. She sees her mother, her neighbor, even her nature troop all acting kindly.

Why It’s Important: The little girl realizes that she, too, has the power to be kind, and that even small actions can have a big impact.

This book encourages everyday kindness. It also includes 2 sheets of stickers, which kids love!



RELATED: Inspiring Children’s Books About Courage


3. Sally Sore Loser: A Story About Winning and Losing

Author: Frank J. Sileo

Age: 4-8 Years Old

What It’s About: In Sally Sore Loser the title character of Sally loves to be first at everything! This also means Sally hates losing, which can lead to hot tempers and hurt feelings.

That’s how she gets the nickname “Sally Sore Loser” from her classmates at school. 

Why It’s Important: With the help of her teacher and her mom, Sally learns the rules for being a good winner and a good loser.

It’s one of our favorite books that teach kindness, but it also teaches that win or lose…the most important thing is to have fun.



4. The Energy Bus for Kids

Author: Jon Gordon

Age: 4-8 Years Old

What It’s About:  In the Energy Bus For Kids, George is a regular kid having a really bad day. But when Joy, the bus driver, invites him on board… his attitude starts to change. 

Why It’s Important: Joy helps George understand that he has the power to choose his attitude.

If George believes in himself and fuels his ride with positive energy, he can find the strength to overcome any challenge.

This is a key lesson in all our books that teach kindness.



5. The Jelly Donut Difference: Sharing Kindness With the World

Author: Maria Dismondy

Age: 3-8 Years Old

What It’s About: The Jelly Donut Difference is for anyone who’s had trouble getting along with their siblings.

Leah and Dexter are brother and sister. And yes, the don’t always get along.

In fact, there are times they can be downright mean to each other. Then jelly donuts enter the picture and the two learn to be kind. 

Why It’s Important: This earnest story of being a good sibling, neighbor, and friend can inspire kids to find ways to be generous in their own lives.



RELATED: Dealing With Sibling Rivalry


6. I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Author: Susan Verde

Age: 4-8 Years Old

What It’s About: Sometimes life is so hectic that it pushes us out of balance. I Am Peace is a story that teaches kids how to find a still place within themselves so that they can calm the noise around them and find their peace.

Colorful illustrations offer a bit of humor regarding what it could look like when our emotions carry us away. 

Why It’s Important: Scenes of the child in a balance pose, feeding birds, and meditating beneath a tree reinforce messages of kindness, compassion, and self-awareness as worry melts into happiness.

This is a simple, helpful tool for cultivating kid mindfulness.



ALSO IN BEENKE: Bring Calm To Chaos – 6 Simple Mindfulness Exercises For Kids


7. Zach Apologizes (Zach Rules Series)

Author: William Mulcahy

Age: 5-8 Years Old

What It’s About: In Zach Apologizes, Zach knows he did something wrong. Even so it’s hard to apologize, especially when he thinks his brother kind of deserved it!

Zach tries to ignore the problem, but finally, with his mom’s help, he learns the four steps of apologizing.

Why It’s Important: This book teaches kids the right way to apologize. Which includes not only stating what you did that was wrong, but acknowledging how it made the other person feel.

It’s a powerful lesson in meaningful apologies.



8. Listening with My Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion

Author: Gabi Garcia

Age: 5-8 Years Old

What It’s About: Listening With My Heart is the story of Esperanza who finds a heart-shaped rock and sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world.

But when the school play doesn’t go like she expected, will she remember to love herself too?

Why It’s Important: Kids often believe that their worth is attached to their accomplishments and making a mistake is something to be ashamed of.

This story reminds us to treat ourselves like we would treat a friend.



RELATED: Amazing Children’s Books About Diversity Celebrate Differences


9. The Invisible Boy

Author: Trudy Ludwig

Age: 6-9 Years Old

What It’s About: Brian is the Invisible Boy in this story. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party…until a new kid comes to class.

When Justin arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to flourish.

Why It’s Important: This sweet story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to shine.

It also reminds kids not to overlook quieter children because everyone has something to offer.



If you’re looking for more great tips on teaching children kindness, be sure to check out our Step-By-Step For Raising Kind Kids and the Random Acts Of Kindness For Kids: 30 Day Challenge.

And if you LOVE these books and want to see more like this, check out our list of Acts Of Kindness Books For Kids.


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