Every parent wants their kids to be kind: to share, to be generous, to be thoughtful. Books and the practice of reading together are an incredible tool to help your child learn valuable life skills. Here we’ll share our top recommendations for picture books for young children that focus on themes about generosity and kindness.
Generosity: Teaching Kids How to Give
Generosity is more than sharing toys at preschool or on the playground. It’s a life skill that can have a tremendous impact on children’s mental health and happiness.
Studies suggest that from an early age, children have a natural drive to be kind and help others. Some researchers have found that toddlers enjoy giving to others more than receiving gifts or treats themselves. As parents, it’s our job to cultivate this innate altruistic quality at every turn.
Encouraging kindness starts at home; leading by example is one of the best ways to teach children about generosity.
Young children — and even babies — are eager to copy parents’ behavior. However you choose to display small acts of kindness — whether it’s bringing a meal to a sick neighbor, saying thank you, or volunteering — you’ll be well on your way to demonstrating the importance of giving firsthand.
Top Picture Books for Kids That Teach Kindness and Generosity
Reading is another great way to connect with children and teach them about kindness, empathy, and generosity. The best stories allow children to put themselves in different characters’ shoes and experience lives that look different from their own.
Children’s literature is filled with depictions of friendship, kindness, compassion, and generosity. Below: some of our favorites.
1. It’s Mine!, by Leo Lionni
This picture book has an inspiring message about the importance of sharing and kindness. The story is based around three selfish frogs who spend their days bickering. Their most-used famous phrase? “It’s mine.”
When a bad storm rolls in, however, a brown toad help teach the amphibious trio that sharing can be fun — and that it’s much more rewarding than arguing. (Available on Penguin Random House, Barnes & Noble, and ThriftBooks).
2. Under the Lemon Moon, by Edith Hope Fine
This story focuses on Rosalinda, a Mexican girl who learns the value of generosity and forgiveness in an unexpected way.
One night, she encounters a man taking lemons from her favorite tree. In the following days, as she struggles to come to terms with her anger, she sees the man selling the lemons on the side of the road. And she learns the reason for his taking them is not at all what she had imagined. (Available on AbeBooks and Barnes & Noble).
3. Last Stop On Market Street, by Matt de la Peña
An award-winning book, Last Stop on Market Street celebrates finding joy in unexpected places.
Centered around the special bond between a boy and his grandmother, the story shows children how to find beauty and have fun in their daily routines — and in the world around them. (Available at Penguin Randomhouse and on Barnes & Noble)
4. What is Given From the Heart, by Patricia C. McKissack
This sweet picture book tells the story of a young, poor boy who comes to realize how much he has to give in life.
James and his mother have fallen on hard times. But when a local family loses all of their belongings in a fire, James and his mother put their own struggles aside and do all they can to help out. When James wonders what he has to give, he realizes the answer lies within him. (Available at Penguin Randomhouse and on Barnes & Noble).
5. The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig
This sweet and gentle story shows that a simple act of kindness can have a big impact on those who need it the most.
Brian is an “invisible boy,” a quiet child who’s always excluded from games and birthday parties. He’s always on the outside looking in — that is, until a new boy joins the class. Through a simple act of kindness, Brian welcomes the new boy — and with that, a new friend. (Available at Penguin Randomhouse, Barnes & Noble and BulkBookstore).
Why Vivvi Uses Storytelling Time to Focus on Developing Kindness
At Vivvi, we understand the role of stories in teaching children about generosity, compassion, and kindness. The Vivvi Learning Model ensures that children can develop their literacy, listening, emotional and social skills in a warm, welcoming environment.
Our programs help children reach all their developmental milestones while fostering their natural imagination and curiosity. For more information about our learning model, or to schedule a virtual tour of our New York City campuses, contact the Vivvi team today.