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Children’s Books about Kindness: Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week with Quality Read Alouds

If you are looking for children’s books about kindness for an SEL lesson, Random Acts of Kindness Week, or World Kindness Day, then you found the right place! This list of kindness picture books can be used any time of the school year. They are great for building a community of learners who are kind to one another, which will help your classroom run smoother. Check out the list of children’s books about kindness below!

This post highlights the following books about kindness:

  • Be Kind
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
  • Last Stop on Market Street
  • Those Shoes
  • Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed
  • What Does it Mean to be Kind?
kids listening to a read aloud about kindness

6 Children’s Books about Kindness

Below are 6 quality children’s books about kindness. Your students will love listening to these kindness read alouds!

1. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

The first read aloud on this list of kindness books for kids is Be Kind. In this story, the main character’s classmate, Tanisha, spilled grape juice all over herself one day during snack time. Everyone laughed except the main character. She was about to but remembered her mother always tells her to be kind. She tries to think of something she can do to make Tanisha feel better. Should she pour grape juice all over herself? The main character starts to think about what being kind really is.

She lists all different examples of kindness, things that are easy to do. You can call someone by their name, ask someone to play, and pay attention to others. In the end, the main character decides to sit near Tanisha during art and paint a picture for her. She realizes that the small acts of kindness she can do might encourage others to do them too, and they will spread all around the world. 

Be Kind book coverA Sick Day for Amos McGee worksheet

2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip C. Stead

The second story on this list of picture books about kindness is A Sick Day for Amos McGee. In this story, Amos McGee wakes up and gets ready for work each morning. He takes the bus to the zoo, where he has many friends waiting to see him. Although he is busy, Amos makes time to visit with each one of his zoo animal friends. He plays chess with the elephant, reads to the owl, and runs races with the tortoise. One day, Amos wakes up feeling too sick to go to work. The animals are anxiously waiting for him and start to worry.

Amos is surprised to see his animal friends at his house. They have come to take care of him! The rhino lends Amos a handkerchief when he sneezes, the owl reads him a story, and the penguin keeps his feet warm. After a cup of tea and spending time with his friends, Amos starts to feel better. The friends head to bed so they can get an early bus back to the zoo in the morning.

3. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

The third story on this list of the best children’s books about kindness is Last Stop on Market Street. In this story, CJ and his Nana ride bus to get around their town. CJ enjoys his bus ride on most days. He does start to question his Nana about why they have to ride the bus, wait in the rain, why they do not have a car, and why they always need to visit with the passengers on the bus.

CJ asks many questions and Nana is always happy to answer him with an honest response. He wondered how his Nan always found beautiful where he never even thought to look. CJ realizes that his Nana helps him see the beauty in all they do and he finally realizes that Nana knows best!

Last Stop on Market Street book coverThose Shoes book cover

4. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

The fourth story on this list of read alouds about kindness is Those Shoes. In this story, everyone in Jeremy’s class is getting new high-top sneakers, and he really wants a pair. His grandma says the new shoes are a want, not a need. One day at school Jeremy’s shoes fall apart and he must wear an old velcro pair from the guidance counselor. When he returns to class, everyone except Antonio laughs.

Grandma saved up some money and took Jeremy to the shoe store to see if they could afford them. Unfortunately, they were too expensive so they decide to look at thrift shops. In the window of the third thrift store, Jeremy sees the shoes he wants! When he tries them on, Grandma says they’re too small. Even though they hurt his feet, Jeremy buys them anyway. The shoes are so small that they are too uncomfortable to wear. Jeremy notices Antonio’s shoes are falling apart, and smaller than his. He gives Antonio the new pair of shoes he bought that were too small. This story will quickly become one of your favorite children’s books about kindness!

5. Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson

The fifth story on this list of books that teach kindness is Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed. In this story, an ordinary girl name Mary walked by a bush filled with blueberries one day. She decided to pick them and leave a bowl full of berries on her neighbor Mrs. Bishop’s porch. This act of kindness inspired Mrs. Bishop to make blueberry muffins and give a basket to five people she thought could have left the berries. Each of those people felt so good about receiving the muffins that they wanted to do something kind for someone else. This set off a chain reaction of random acts of kindness. Each person that received an act of kindness did something kind for five others in return.

Soon, kindness and love spread throughout the whole world and made its way back to Mary. Her aunt, who had been treated with kindness, surprised Mary with a necklace. Everyone was thankful that one ordinary girl was able to change the world.

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary DeedWhat Does it Mean to be Kind? book cover

6. What Does it Mean to be Kind? by Rana DiOrio

The sixth story on this list of read aloud books about kindness is What Does it Mean to be Kind?, which answers the question, “What does it mean to be kind?”. Throughout the story, many possible definitions are introduced such as being “sort of” something, or paying with something other than money. Being kind means smiling at the new student in class, giving compliments, standing up for others, forgiving, being patient, and much more. Being kind means having the courage to treat others the way you’d like to be treated. With beautiful accompanying illustrations, this book teaches students all the different ways that they can be kind. It’s one of the best children’s books about kindness!

If you are looking for lesson ideas and worksheets for teaching kindness through picture books, then check out the Starts With a Story resources below!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is be-kind-activities-worksheets-1024x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11-a-sick-day-for-amos-mcgee-activities-worksheets-1024x1024.jpgLast Stop on Market Street book companion
Those Shoes book companionThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ordinary-marys-extraordinary-deed-activities-worksheets-1024x1024.jpg

Grab the Free Reading Resources!

We hope you found this list of children’s books about kindness helpful! Your students will love these children’s stories about kindness, many of which are part of our Starts With a Story collection. They make great winter read alouds for celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week, but can be used any time of the year! If you want to get more book ideas to read aloud to your elementary students, then grab this reading freebie. It includes read aloud books lists, reading logs, and reading challenges for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classroom teachers. It will have you covered for the entire school year, as well as the summer months! Grab this free elementary reading packet now!

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