As parents we teach our children about the importance of kindness from infancy. From the pre-school mantra of “kind hands, kind feet” to the primary-school age conversations about treating others as you’d like to be treated yourself, it’s a message that’s all around them.
However there’s always room for kids to be reminded about the benefits of kindness and see the many varied ways that it can be practised. Which is where books about kindness for kid can be a fantastic tool in parents’ kindness kit bag!
Chapter books in which the characters demonstrate kindness can be inspirational and motivational for us all. They highlight the positive benefits of kindness and help us truly understand the impact of unkindness. In this way, books about kindness for kids are not only modelling kind behaviours but helping them practise important empathy skills. We’ve recently written more on reading fiction and empathy: the amazing benefits of books for children.
We’ve pulled together this list of our favourite chapter books, suitable for 5 to 14-year-olds, that feature particular acts of kindness and would make a welcome addition to any bookshelf:
Books about kindness for early readers
Both of these recommendations are short with plenty of illustrations, making them perfect for any child aged 5+ that’s ready for chapter books. They focus on the thorny issue of making friends and the importance of kindness and compassion, for yourself and others.
The Worries: Sohal Finds a Friend by Jion Sheibani
Sohal is surprised to wakes one morning any discover that his many worries have come to life as troublesome, furry little creatures. He’s anxious about managing a day at school with these creatures in tow, but manages it and finds a friend in the process.
We sent this book to subscribers a few months ago, along with a fun-filled activity pack. We have a few copies left, why not grab one here?
Five Ways to Make a Friend by Gillian Cross
When Ella arrives at a new school she’s keen to make new friends but discovers it’s hard. When she discovers a book listing 5 tactics for making friends she sets out to follow the advice, with unexpected consequences.
Chapter books about kindness for kids aged 8+
These middle grade books highlight complicated, emotional situations and the power of children to bring kindness and compassion to their interactions with others.
Lost by Ele Fountain
Lola and her brother are used to living in comfort but when their dad fails to return from a business trip after devastating storms, they quickly discover what life is like on the street. Sometimes gritty but ultimately uplifting, this is a story about discovering who you are and what you stand for in the face of adversity.
We have a few copies of this powerful book and our award-winning accompanying activity pack available to buy here.
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
When a new boy joins their class, a group of children quickly learn that he’s a refugee from Syria and that he’s been separated from his family. The set out to befriend him and the power of small acts of kindness to make a big difference is revealed.
The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan
This is a moving story about family separation and connection between humans and animals. Sila’s mother is stuck in Turkey awaiting the immigration papers that will allow her return to the USA. With her life in limbo Sila discovers new friendships with an elderly lottery winner, an autistic boy in her class and a former circus elephant!
Subscribers enjoyed this book earlier in the year, find out more and purchase your copy here.
The Soup Movement by Ben Davies
Jordan is embarrassed that his mum gives him homemade soup for lunch at school every day. When he gives the soup to a homeless man he passes, not only is it the start of a new friendship but a campaign to share food with other homeless people in the community.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
This powerful story explores the cruelty and kindness that Auggie, a 10-year-old boy with rare facial disfigurements, encounters when he heads to school. It’s ultimately uplifting and features this fantastic suggestion:
““If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary, the world would be a better place.”
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
11-year-old Addie is autistic and struggling at school - her teacher is cruel and former friends are teasing her. But when Addie learns about the witch trials in her small town, she feels a deep connection with their mistreatment and is determined to organise a memorial. Can Addie challenge people’s beliefs about her (and the witches) and make her voice heard?
For more reading recommendations and information on how books can boost empathy and understanding, our might like to check out our guide to Empathy Day and children’s books that encourage reading for empathy.
We also share loads of book recommendations for 5 to 14-year-olds here.