Kids books that inspire kindness
When the outside world reflects otherwise, books can impart powerful messages to kids about being a good friend, staying true to yourself, giving a helping hand, and more.
These are a few of our favorites that inspire all of us to be better, kinder people — and they're full of beautiful illustrations to boot.
Quit Calling Me a Monster by Jory John, illustrated by Bob Shea
Floyd Peterson might like hiding under beds and howling at the sun and the moon, but that doesn’t mean you should call him a monster –– he’s so much more than that! This hilarious story wonderfully details the problems with stereotyping and why it’s important to consider other’s feelings.
Splashdance by Liz Starin
When a new policy at the community pool restricts bears from swimming, Ursula is cut from the water ballet competition that she worked so hard to prepare for. But, when she encounters a group of animal swimmers at a local pond, they team up together to figure out a way to participate in the contest and ensure everyone is welcome at the pool. This heart-warming story filled with humor teaches a timely lesson on inclusion and fairness.
The Kraken's Rules for Making Friends by Brittany R. Jacobs
In this witty book, the lonely Kraken is desperate to make friends, but his bad reputation keeps other sea creatures away. When pretending to be someone else fails, he tries asking a popular great white shark how to make friends. The book is filled with wisdom and lessons on how to be a good friend.
Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead
After falling asleep during a snowstorm, a wooly mammoth seeks shelter from the weather and, in turn, finds an unlikely friend. This is a sweet story that shares a lesson on the importance of empathy, lending a hand to those in need, and taking care of friends and strangers alike.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
We featured The Journey on Tinybop Loves when it was first published and we’re still touched by this compassionately-told story about refugees and migration. The book follows a family in search of safety after they are forced to flee their home country when a war breaks out. Told through a child’s point-of-view, this book can be used to prompt thoughtful reflection and discussion.
Holy Moly Roly Poly by Steve Duman, illustrated by Sarah Menzel
When a little pill bug named Polly is faced with big competition on the day of a race, she has two options: curl up into a safe ball and give up or use her individual strengths to finish the race. This powerful story teaches kids the value of perseverance, sticking up for yourself, and using your personal strengths and skills to reach your goals.
What Do Grown-ups Do All Day? by Virginie Morgand
Detailing over a hundred jobs in fifteen work scenes, this brightly-illustrated picture book gives kids insight into what grown-ups do all day and how everyone contributes to society. It doubles as a fun reference for kids to flip through and a great conversation-starter for imagining the future and talking about growing up.
Mervin the Sloth Is About to Do the Best Thing in the World by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Ruth Chan
When Mervin the Sloth is about to do the best thing in the world, all of his animal friends gather around to watch while shouting out their own ideas about what it is he’ll do. But, only one friend stays around for long enough to see just what the slow-moving sloth does. Filled with silly humor, this picture book shows the value of being patient and a true friend.
Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal
Using simple text and whimsical, expressive illustrations, this book explores the universality of emotions and invites kids to reflect on their own feelings. Kids are reassured that it’s normal to feel different emotions at once or have their feelings change from one moment to the next. The book ends with the positive and empathetic message that emotions connect all people.
Kids can tell their own stories about their friends, family, and feelings in Me by Tinybop, our first app to support kids' social and emotional growth.
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