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Celebrate Valentine’s Day (February 14th), National Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17th), and Send a Card to a Friend Day (February 7th) by reading some of these children’s books about friendship and kindness.
Pass it On by Sophy Henn
This book shows how simply passing on goodness can make someone else’s day. The phrase “grab your wellies and your coat” made me pause at first, but then I realized the book had originally been published in Great Britain. How can you “pass it on” throughout your day?
Kindness Makes us Strong by Sophie Beer
What is kindness? Simple text throughout this book gives multiple answers to what kindness is by giving examples of what children can do to show kindness.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton
Brian doesn’t get chosen to be on a team or to attend a birthday party. He is often alone at school. He is the “invisible boy”. Then, a new student named Justin shows up. One simple act of kindness from Brian leads to some new friendships and a boy who is no longer “invisible”. The illustrations throughout this book definitely add to the emotions of the story.
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
All the animals are grumpy but hats apparently make things better. Hooray for the hats and “hooray for friends!”
Lola’s Rules for Friendship by Jenna McCarthy and Sara Palacios
Lola has at least 347 friends. Then, she must move with her family and find ways to make new friends. Thankfully, she knows exactly what the rules for friendship are.
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtensheld
Limited rhyming text tells a simple story of how stick and stone go from a one and a zero to “a perfect ten”.
Rescue & Jessica: A Life Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes, and Scott Magoon
This was a beautifully written story based on a real-life friendship of Jessica Kensky, who became a double amputee as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and her service dog, Rescue. The story captures the feelings of Rescue and Jessica (who is portrayed as a girl in the story) as it goes back and forth between each of their points of view. Through hard work and determination, they are able to move forward together and become friends.
Friendship Quilt by Cecil Kim and HaJin Jeong
Hank tries very hard to make Raddie happy again after her grandmother passes away but nothing seems to work until he comes up with a great idea. He and his friends sew a quilt using fabric that has a special meaning to each of them (including a piece of fabric from Hank’s mom who had also passed away). The quilt filled with memories is then gifted to Raddie, and the friends are able to make more memories together.
This story is told through illustrations only, but there is a brief explanation of the characters on the book jacket’s flap. The illustrations show the story of a new girl at school being picked on by a boy. Another girl decides to stand up and befriend her.
This is Not That Kind of Book by Christopher Healy and Ben Mantle
The characters in this book are not sure what kind of book they are in. Is it an alphabet book, a fairy tale, or some other type of book? After much debate (and humor), the characters decide to work together and be friends.
Shy by Deborah Freeman
Shy is so shy he doesn’t make an actual appearance in the book until the end. He loves birds and sees one particular bird he wants to talk to but is too shy to say anything. The bird leaves. Shy goes out and searches for the bird and discovers the beauty of the world. But he is still too shy to say anything to anyone. He heads back home. Finally, he has enough courage to call out to the bird. And the two become friends.
Stubby: A True Story of Friendship by Michael Foreman
A soldier is preparing for war and is befriended by a dog, which he names Stubby. The soldier bonds with Stubby as he teaches him tricks and prepares with the other soldiers. He later sneaks him in his bag as he heads to battle. Stubby becomes a very important member of the soldier’s group. He alerts them of enemy soldiers, warns them of poison gas attacks, and snuggles during the cold, gunfire-filled nights. There are a few intense pages as Stubby is injured during battle, but he rejoins the soldier after six weeks of healing. Stubby returns home after the war as a hero. Based on a true story of a dog named Stubby during WWI.
We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices by Lauren Murphy Payne and Melissa Lwai
Sometimes people get along with each other and sometimes they don’t. This book explores the feelings based on the choices people may make and talks about how people can get along. There are additional pages in the back of the book for discussion.
Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children by Carol McCloud, Katherine Martin, and David Messing
Everyone has his or her own invisible bucket. People are happy when their buckets are filled with love and happiness, but they are sad when their buckets are empty. The book explains ways to fill other people’s buckets, so they can be happy.
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill
A young girl reflects on how she could have shown kindness when another kid in her school spilled grape juice all over herself. Being kind isn’t always easy, but maybe she can start small. And maybe those small things will turn into something big!
What is your favorite children’s book about kindness and friendship?
Check out these posts for more themed books: