November 13th is World Kindness Day, a day to reflect on one of the most universal and unifying principles. Acts of kindness, no matter how big or small, start ripples of change that can transform the lives of children, families, and communities across the world. This selection of picture books and board books are the perfect additions to any home or school library––teaching young readers the importance of being kind.
“It all starts with a crack that we can hardly see. It happens when we shout or if we disagree.” Harsh words, disagreements, and shouting can cause friendships to bend and sometimes break. Friends are sad when they’re left out, and once a mean word is spoken, it’s impossible to take it back. Tiger Tales’ Kindness Grows, written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, shows that by offering words of encouragement, sharing, caring for others, and playing together, friendships can become stronger than ever. Die-cut pages feature a sapling that grows into a flowering tree with each turn of the page as kindness is spread.
If you could, what would you carry in your bag of kindness? In My Bag of Kindness, written by Danielle McLean and illustrated by Lisa Koesterke, toddlers will meet a young narrator who describes the objects contained in a treasured bag that help to spread kindness and good feelings to everyone. There is a teddy bear that helps comfort him when he feels sad, and a pair of socks reminds him of the time at school when his teacher gave him a clean, dry pair of socks after a day of splashing in puddles. He carries a box of crayons for his best friend, who enjoys drawing pictures with him, and a book from Grandma, who reads books to him. Finally, a note from Mom reminds him to spread kindness to all he meets.
Join the Planetwalker, John Francis, on an exploration of kindness great and small in What on Earth Books’ Human Kindness: True Stories of Compassion and Generosity that Changed the World––a nonfiction deep-dive into the history of how kindness has shaped our laws, morals, and communities around the world. Over the whole history of humankind, kindness has been key to our survival and to making our world a better place. Learn about important figures, including: Harriet Tubman, who risked her life to help others escape from slavery; the Nomads Clinic, which sends doctors trekking into the Himalayas to tend to patients; Joshua Coombes, a hairdresser who gives free haircuts to the homeless; and many more.
Gecko Press shows that kindness can be funny in New York Times Illustrated Book Award winning author Leo Timmers’ Kind Crocodile. Animals are in danger––help, kind crocodile! One by one, a terrified mouse, frightened hog, and an antelope seek shelter on Crocodile’s long back, while his big teeth scare their enemies away. But, the load becomes too heavy and Crocodile doesn’t feel so kind anymore, turning on his friends. Not for long, however: “Just Kidding!” says Crocodile. Featuring trademark detailed illustrations full of expression and a satisfying twist ending, this larger format sturdy board book is ideal for reading with toddlers and preschoolers who can join in with the fun repetition.
Pajama Press united nine of their celebrated children’s illustrators to create a picture book about the many ways a small child can make the world a kinder place. In a series of simple yet evocative questions, A World of Kindness asks young readers how they will show kindness and consideration for others. The stunning artwork sparks meaningful discussion and storytelling, and transcends rhetoric to examine everyday social interactions where a kind word or act could have a transformative effect on others.
“If we loved, much like the moon, then would we be as kind?” In Soaring Kite’s The Love of the Moonlight, from creators Sarah Buckner and Paula Ortiz, it’s on a sleepless night that a child realizes the world would be a better place if we acted with empathy and understanding. Around the world, we look upon the same moon as it shines down on each person equally. The moon isn’t afraid to share its sky with the stars; the moon knows the stars don’t take away its ability to shine. Heartfelt with illustrations capturing all walks of life, this rhyming story is a great conversation starter on kindness and equality for young kids.
Lastly, fans of Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, Lisa Frank, and retro comic books will adore with Bunnygirl: The First Adventure, a picture book told in comic panels that brims with cuteness, accessible quirk, and a feel-good message of kindness. Written and illustrated by Holly Jayne and published by Berbay Publishing, readers will meet Bea––an aspiring superhero who loves helping friends. While Bea’s world is anything but ordinary, the things she accomplishes with her creativity and preparedness are all things a regular kid––with a big heart, a healthy dose of confidence, and an inflatable turtle––could do! This book is a perfect intro to reading stories told in sequential pictures and a way for emerging readers to take an active role in following the narrative. Plus, when readers fall in love with Bunnygirl, they won’t have to worry because she has another adventure coming spring 2024!
So, what will you do to show some kindness today? Hopefully these books can spark the imagination and inspire all ages to make a difference!