Kids can be kind, empathetic, and compassionate – but not always. As we head toward the new school year, we know that new friendships will be formed, old friendships may fall away, and there are bound to be hurt feelings before too long. By teaching about kindness in a conscious way, we can arm young people to go into complex situations ready to be kind and to model kindness to others. Books present a perfect springboard for having discussions about kindness and engendering a deeper level of understanding and appreciation for what it means to be kind.
The book list below was put together by Dr. Sylvia M. Vardell, a Professor at the Texas Woman’s University School of Library & Information Studies. Dr. Vardell originally put this list together for a presentation she did at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference last fall, and was gracious enough to let us reshare it here.
Selected Books for Young People About Kindness:
Bunting, Eve. 2006. One Green Apple. Clarion.
Cuyler, Margery. 2007. Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler. Simon & Schuster.
Dillon, Leo & Diane. If Kids Ran the World. Blue Sky Press.
Frank, John. 2014. Lend a Hand. Ill. by London Ladd. Lee & Low.
Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost. Philomel.
Hennessy, B. G. 2011. Because of You: A Book of Kindness. Candlewick.
Jules, Jacqueline. Never Say a Mean Word Again. Wisdom Tales.
Lord, Cynthia. 2006. Rules. Scholastic.
Ludwig, Tracy. 2013. The Invisible Boy. Knopf.
Myracle, Lauren. 2014. The Life of Ty: Non-Random Acts of Kindness. Dutton.
Newman, Leslea. 2012. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Candlewick.
Palacio, R. J. 2012. Wonder. Knopf.
Pearson, Emily. 2002. Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed. Gibbs Smith.
Raschka, Chris. 2011. A Ball for Daisy. Schwartz & Wade.
Stein, David Ezra. 2012. Because Amelia Smiled. Candlewick.
Snow, Todd and Snow, Peggy. 2008. Kindness to Share from A to Z. Maren Green.
Woodson, Jacqueline. 2012. Each Kindness. Penguin.
Recommended Professional Resource Books
Ferrucci, Piero. 2007. The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life. Tarcher.
Goldman, Carrie. 2012. Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. HarperOne.
Laminack, Lester and Wadsworth, Reba. 2012. Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations. Heinemann.
Mah, Ronald. 2013. Getting Beyond Bullying and Exclusion, PreK-5: Empowering Children in Inclusive Classrooms. Skyhorse Publishing.
Pearson, Ferial. 2014. Secret Kindness Agents: How Small Acts of Kindness Really Can Change the World. WriteLife.
Rice, Judith Ann. 2013. The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts. Redleaf Press.
Rue, Nancy. 2014. So Not Okay: An Honest Look at Bullying from the Bystander (Mean Girl Makeover series). Nelson.
Here’s an infographic we created based on the book Lend a Hand about random acts of kindness:
What are your favorite books for children, adults, and professional educators about kindness? Please share in the comments!