4 Books to Teach Your Kid Kindness

Children's books with powerful themes of kindness and compassion
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Children that learn kindness at an early age can carry it forward throughout their lives.

With the world premiere of Last Stop on Market Street at ImaginOn (based on the children’s picture book by Matt de la Pena), your child may be interested in reading other books with themes of kindness. This play is the first in The Kindness Project, a new initiative from Children’s Theatre of Charlotte dedicated to producing plays for children and families that support messages of showing kindness to everyone and everything.

Here are four wonderful books to kickstart a conversation about kindness with your kiddo.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness, written and illustrated by Kerascoet.

The new girl in school is feeling isolated as everyone chatters around her. When she’s outright bullied, she runs home in tears. One other schoolmate notices the interaction, and the next morning shows up to walk the new girl to school. Along the way they are joined by others in a show of solidarity, smiles and support. Told entirely through pictures, this wordless book is heart-wrenching and uplifting, and there are end pages with notes on how to help someone who is being bullied. Ages 4 to 8.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead.

Amos McGee loves his job helping the animals at the city zoo, from playing chess with the elephant to sitting quietly with the shy penguin to helping the rhino blow his runny nose. When he wakes up sick one day and stays home from work, the animals decide to take the bus to his house and cheer him up. This selfless story is tender and sweet with whimsical illustrations, and it happens to be next up on stage—with puppets galore—at Children's Theatre of Charlotte for the Kindness Project in May 2019. Ages 3 to 6.

Side by Side by Rachel Bright & Debi Gliori.

Deep in the heart of Wintermouse Wood lived a tiny little mouseling. One day she’s left behind by her siblings, and as it starts to grow dark, she has trouble finding a fellow woodland creature to stay by her side, until an equally tiny black vole dries her mouserly tears and offers her his paw in friendship. This tiny tale told in beautifully cadenced rhyme tells a sweet story of friendship that spans differences. Ages 3 to 6.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton.

Brian, unlike his classmates, is a quiet kid who doesn’t take up a lot of space and doesn’t make a lot of noise. Most of the time he feels completely invisible. When a new Korean student is singled out and made fun of at lunch one day, Brian draws him a picture and slips it in the boy’s cubby, and soon they have formed a friendship that makes Brian feel like he’s visible for the first time. The story is a lovely and well-told tale of helping others feel valued and appreciated, and the brilliant illustrations take Brian from smudgy black and white into bold color as he begins to be seen. Bonus: it includes discussion questions to guide conversation. Ages 6 to 9.

Check out these and other books about kindness from any of your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branches.