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Best books for teaching children kindness

Books are a fantastic tool for teaching children kindness because they help children see the world through someone else’s eyes. They also provide clear illustrations for younger children on what kindness looks like (and what isn’t kind).

Raising kind kids is all about modelling, and having lots of opportunities to practise. Reading books together extends children’s awareness and gives them access to experiences that may not have in the real world. Here is my pick of the best books for teaching children kindness (ages 1-11yrs).

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Book cover for Plant A Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, one of our 10 best books for teaching children kindnessPlant a Kiss

Plant A Kiss (by Amy Krouse Rosenthal) is a beautiful board book for little ones. As the title implies, it is all about how small acts of love and kindness can grow and bloom into something beautiful. (1-3yrs)


Book jacket for Be Kind, one of our recommended books for teaching children kindnessBe Kind

Perfect for pre-schoolers and children who have just started school, Be Kind (by Pat Zietlow Miller) is all about being kind in group dynamics and standing up for someone who needs support and compassion. (3-5yrs)


Ned and the Great Garden Hamster Race

Book jacket for Ned and the Great Garden Hamster Race by Kim HillyardIs it more important to come first or to be kind? That’s the theme explored in Kim Hillyard’s engaging storybook Ned and the Great Garden Hamster Race. The illustrations and theme will appeal to slightly older children (and it’s a lot less sickly sweet than many book for teaching children kindness) but very little ones will also enjoy this story. (3-6ys)


Book jacket of Kind by Alison Green, one of our recommended books for teaching children kindnessKind

Kind (by Alison Green) explores all the different ways we can be kind to each other, and how small gestures can have a really big impact. With contributions from lots of different amazing illustrators. (3-6yrs)


Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire

Book Jacket for Once Upon A Dragon's Fire by Beatrice BlueI could have listed this as a book about friendship but what I like most about Beatrice Blue’s Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire (in addition to the gorgeous artwork) is the central message that sometimes people’s unkindness is a cover for something different, and that when we meet unkindness with kindness, we can all move forward. (4-7yrs)


Book cover for the children's book The Smile Shop by Satoshi KitamuraThe Smile Shop

The Smile Shop (by Satoshi Kitamura) is such a sweet book, with beautifully detailed illustrations. Ultimately, it’s a simple story about how kindness can triumph over disappointment and other negative emotions and situations – but told in a way that young children can really identify with! (4-7yrs)


Book cover for The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty, one f our top 10 books for teaching children kindnessThe Story Book Knight

Another dragon book! This one has brilliant rhymes and more complex vocabulary that make it wonderful for reading out loud. The Story Book Knight (by Helen Docherty) subtly undermines the traditional knight vs. dragon tale, replacing animosity with the power of empathy and storytelling. The UK version is titled The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight (4-8yrs)


Book jacket of children's book Wonder by Palacio R.J.Wonder

When it comes to older children, Wonder (by Palacio R.J.) hits the spot on all fronts. It promotes empathy (standing in someone else’s shoes and imagining what it is like to be them), it movingly illustrates the impacts of kindness and unkindness, and it shows children what kindness looks like in practice. A must read. (9-11yrs)


For more ideas on teaching children kindness, take a look at:

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click through from this post and buy a book, the Positive Parenting Project will receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you. This helps us keep providing free content. For more info, see  Disclosure Notice

montage of book covers showing the best books for teaching children kindness

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