16 Books About Kindness

Check out these book recommendations to inspire kindness in your kid!

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Inspire your kids to be kind by picking up one of these books all about kindness, compassion, and friendship.
16 Books About Kindness


1. ABCs of Kindness

By: Samantha Berger

Illustrated by: Ekaterina Trukhan

Ages 2-5

From A to Z, this sturdy book illustrates many ways young children can make the world a kinder place. Whether it be donating blankets to the animal shelter, helping with chores, or standing up for what's right, there are plenty of things in the book that will resonate with every family.

2. Kindness Counts

By: R.A. Strong

Illustrated by: Ekaterina Trukhan

Ages 2-5

This sweet countdown is a perfect book to read aloud at home or share with friends, to spark conversations about simple acts of kindness, and help young children learn about empathy, compassion and gratitude. The joyful illustrations and simple words encourage children to be their best selves wherever they go.

3. A Splendid Friend, Indeed

By: Suzanne Bloom

Ages 2-5

Bear wants to read and write and think. Goose wants to talk and talk and talk. Can Bear and Goose be friends? Suzanne Bloom's picture book says volumes about friendship with a few select words and charming illustrations.


4. Cy Makes a Friend

By: Ann Marie Stephens

Illustrated by: Tracy Subisak

Ages 4-8

Cy is a Cyclops who knows how to make just about anything—except a friend. Funny and satisfying, this is a tale that celebrates being yourself and following your dreams.

5. Friendship Over

By: Julie Sternberg

Illustrated by: Johanna Wright

Ages 8-11

Ten-year-old Celie has quite a few things on her mind—fights with her sister Jo, secrets at school, an increasingly forgetful grandmother, and worst of all, a best friend who won’t speak to her. How can a girl who hates change survive, when everything in her life is changing? By writing, of course. Celie’s often comical and always heartfelt diary entries include notes, e-mails, homework assignments, and pages from her top-secret spy notebook.

6. This Orq. (He Cave Boy.)

By: David Elliott

Illustrated by: Lori Nichols

Ages 3-7

Meet Orq, cave boy. And Woma, woolly mammoth. Orq love Woma. Only one problem: Mom is not a fan of Woma, who sheds and smells and is definitely not cave-trained. How can Orq convince his mother that Woma belongs with them? Orq has a plan to get Woma back in the cave... A satisfying story about friendship and loyalty, filled with humor and heart.

7. Weird? (Me, Too!) Let's Be Friends

By: Sara Holbrook

Illustrated by: Karen Sandstrom

Ages 9-11

Poetry that pokes, prods, and punches its way right to the heart of friendship. Celebrated performance poet Sara Holbrook shows readers that a good poem is like a good friend, "something to keep close, never lose, or leave behind at a bus stop." This collection of forty-four poems explores the territory of friendship with a hard-edged honesty rare in children's poetry. From schoolmates to teammates, pets to pests, Holbrook explores the heart—and the heartache—of friendship.

8. Good Night, Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel!

By: Paul Meisel

Ages 4-8

In this fresh and funny picture book from Geisel Honor-winning author-illustrator Paul Meisel, a lonely bat thinks he has found a perfect home—until he discovers that it’s already inhabited by a persnickety squirrel. Since each is asleep during the other’s waking hours, the two begin exchanging notes. With these notes, Squirrel does her best to oust her unwelcome guest, but Bat misunderstands and thinks Squirrel is happy to have a new friend. This is a sweet opposites-attract friendship story that gently shows how to find common ground despite outward differences.

9. Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green

By: Christine Pakkala

Illustrated by: Paul Hoppe

Ages 7-10 

Lola Zuckerman hates being last for everything. If only she were Lola Adams or Lola Appleby or anything but Z for Zuckerman. And she is having a particularly hard time right now. Her best friend Amanda Anderson is now her ex-best friend. Her grandparents have moved back to Texas, and her mother is launching a new career. Why is everything always changing? What would make things much, much better is if Lola were to win the Going-Green Contest at school and beat Amanda Anderson, who is determined to win first place, too. How can Lola, who is always last, prove that she’s not least? This first book in the Last-But-Not-Least Lola series is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming, and intensely satisfying story about the importance of friendship and creative problem-solving.

10. Words with Wings

By: Nikki Grimes

Ages 8+

Gabby’s world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents’ arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.

11. Revolutionary Friends

By: Selene Castrovilla

Illustrated by: Drazen Kozjan

Ages 8-12

Young fans of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton will enjoy this narrative nonfiction picture-book story about the important friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette has come to America to offer his services to the patriotic cause. Inexperienced but dedicated, he is a much-needed ally and not only earns a military position with the Continental Army but also Washington’s respect and admiration. This picture book presents the human side of history, revealing the bond between two famous Revolutionary figures. 

12. Jasmine and Maddie

By: Christine Pakkala

Ages 9-12

To grieving Jasmine, Maddie’s a rich kid with no problems. To lonely Maddie, Jasmine is all cavalier-cool in their tame Connecticut town. True friends they are not. Yet each hopes the other might save her. Can Maddie give Jasmine what she needs? Could Jasmine rescue Maddie from the outskirts of the crowd? When Jasmine steals Maddie’s heirloom ring, just how far will she go to keep it? In alternating chapters, Maddie and Jasmine take turns weaving their story about friendship and coming of age.

13. Garvey's Choice

By: Nikki Grimes

Ages 8-12

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also obese, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

14. Time for (Earth) School, Dewey Dew

By: Leslie Staub

Illustrated by: Jeff Mack

Ages 4-8

Click-Clack Waddle-Waddle Dot-Dot Dewey Dew from Planet Eight Hundred Seventy-Two Point Nine does not want to go to school. Not on his planet, and definitely not on Planet Earth. At Earth school, everything and everyone is new for Dewey—and uncomfortable. Earth words sound strange, Earth clothes don’t feel right, and no one looks even a little bit like him. In this first-day-of-school story about just how hard it is to feel different, a classmate with a friendly smile helps nervous Dewey Dew learn about the importance of acceptance and facing new experiences.

15. Catching a Storyfish

By: Janice N. Harrington

Ages 8-12

Keet knows the only good thing about moving away from her Alabama home is that she’ll live near her beloved grandfather. When Keet starts school, it’s even worse than she expected, as the kids tease her about her southern accent. Now Keet, who can “talk the whiskers off a catfish,” doesn’t want to open her mouth. Slowly, though, while fishing with her grandfather, she learns the art of listening. Gradually, she makes her first new friend. But just as she’s beginning to settle in, her grandfather has a stroke, and even though he’s still nearby, he suddenly feels ever-so-far-away. Keet is determined to reel him back to her by telling him stories; in the process she finds her voice and her grandfather again. This lyrical and deeply emotional novel-in-verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice.

16. Percy, Dog of Destiny

By: Alison McGhee

Illustrated by: Jennifer K. Mann 

Ages 4-8

Percy may be a small dog, but he more than makes up for it in attitude and energy. Holding tight to his precious toy ball, he makes his way to the dog park, coming across three friends along the way—Molly, with her kerchief; Oatmeal Cookie, with his Frisbee; and lovable giant Fluffy, with his bone. At the park, the four friends have fun running, digging, and sniffing—until a sneering, jeering squirrel shows up...