It may be a constantly changing world for our students, but one thing is for certain: Being kind is just as important now as ever before. Send students the message that kindness is a top priority—and honor the reality that showing it can take courage, creativity, and persistence—by including books about it in your curriculum. Here are 23 of our favorite kindness books for the classroom.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Boo Who? by Ben Clanton (Pre-K–1)
It can be hard to find ways to include someone new—especially when that someone is invisible—but it’s worth the effort. Simple and sweet, it’s easy for kids to “see” the possible connections between this story and their own lives.
Buy it: Boo Who? on Amazon
2. What Does It Mean To Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio (Pre-K–1)
Concrete but engaging, this title answers an essential question.
Buy it: What Does It Mean To Be Kind? on Amazon
3. Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller (Pre-K–2)
Who better to teach kids the nitty-gritty details of being nice than … otters? Trust us, it works.
Buy it: Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners on Amazon
4. The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates (Pre-K–2)
Being kind means making space for everyone, as this “big, friendly umbrella” shows. Read it, and then leave an umbrella propped by your classroom door as a reminder to be inclusive.
Buy it: The Big Umbrella on Amazon
5. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller (Pre-K–2)
A girl tries to follow her mother’s advice to “be kind” when others tease a classmate, but her attempt doesn’t help … at first. Talk with students about how kindness can gain momentum over time.
Buy it: Be Kind on Amazon
6. Most People by Michael Leannah (Pre-K–3)
This title is a lovely tool for reassuring children that the world is full of kind people with good intentions. Diverse illustrations highlight the kindness of “most people.”
Buy it: Most People on Amazon
7. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Pre-K–3)
Teach children that no one is too small to be kind with this timeless fable, reimagined by a masterful illustrator.
Buy it: The Lion and the Mouse on Amazon
8. The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (Pre-K–2)
A simple assignment leads to a school-wide kindness-fest. We guarantee students will be asking to make their own Kindness Quilt by the end of the story.
Buy it: The Kindness Quilt on Amazon
9. Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler (K–2)
Mrs. Ruler is to kindness what Ms. Frizzle is to science. Instead of punishing kids who act up in class, she challenges them to find opportunities to be kind.
Buy it: Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler on Amazon
10. I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët (K–4)
This wordless story of how one child wrestles with the decision to become an ally, and her eventual impact, is a powerful one. The back matter provides some helpful talking points for class discussion.
Buy it: I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness on Amazon
11. Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss (K–4)
How could we leave out this Dr. Seuss classic, which taught us the adage “a person’s a person, no matter how small”?
Buy it: Horton Hears a Who! on Amazon
12. The Jelly Donut Difference: Sharing Kindness With the World by Maria Dismondy (K–3)
Twins Dexter and Leah enjoy the back-and-forth nature of kindness when they decide to reach out to their elderly neighbor.
Buy it: The Jelly Donut Difference on Amazon
13. How To Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham (Pre-K–3)
No one notices a hurt pigeon except young Will, who takes it home and tenderly nurses it back to health. This story celebrates the capacity of children to provide kind, gentle care.
Buy it: How To Heal a Broken Wing on Amazon
14. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (K–5)
CJ’s wise and patient grandmother shows him that kindness resides in both one’s mindset and actions in this quietly evocative award winner.
Buy it: Last Stop on Market Street on Amazon
15. A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards (K–5)
How do you acknowledge the efforts of someone who is perennially kind? Return the kindness, of course. Little Sophia sets out to show Mrs. Goldman how much the neighborhood appreciates her handmade gifts.
Buy it: A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love on Amazon
16. Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine (Grades 1–5)
When a man steals the lemons Rosalinda and her family intended to sell at the market, a wise advisor encourages her to be empathetic. Invite students to consider responding to others’ transgressions with kindness.
Buy it: Under the Lemon Moon on Amazon
17. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau (Grades 1–5)
This beautifully illustrated saga of a greedy king’s transformation into a traveling ambassador of kindness will keep students captivated until the last page.
Buy it: The Quiltmaker’s Gift on Amazon
18. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (Grades 1–5)
Jeremy’s quest for a pair of “those shoes” that his family can’t afford doesn’t end as he originally hopes, but it does create an opportunity to be kind. This is one of the classic kindness books that is a mirror for some students and an important window for others.
Buy it: Those Shoes on Amazon
19. One Green Apple by Eve Bunting (Grades 1–5)
For Farah, everything feels new. Her classmates’ small acts of kindness go a long way toward making her feel like she belongs.
Buy it: One Green Apple on Amazon
20. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Grades 1–5)
This classroom must-have shows how another’s kind acts can mean the difference between feeling unseen and living in full color.
Buy it: The Invisible Boy on Amazon
21. Buckets, Dippers, and Lids: Secrets to Your Happiness by Carol McCloud (Grades 1–5)
If you love sharing Have You Filled a Bucket Today? with your kiddos, consider adding Carol McCloud’s most recent title to your library—because being kind to yourself is as important as being kind to others.
Buy it: Buckets, Dippers, and Lids on Amazon
22. Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank (Grades 1–5)
This diverse collection of poems offers plenty of concrete examples of kindness, from keeping an elderly neighbor company to encouraging a struggling classmate to paying it forward.
Buy it: Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving on Amazon
23. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Grades 1–5)
Jacqueline Woodson never fails to give us lumps in our throats. When you’re ready to take your class discussion of kindness to a more nuanced level, share one of the best kindness books we wish we’d shown, and the opportunity to make a change.
Buy it: Each Kindness on Amazon
What are your favorite kindness books for the classroom? Share your thoughts in our WeAreTeachers Helpline group on Facebook.
Plus, check out our favorite books to teach social-emotional skills, and our favorite anti-bullying books.