Kindness Matters

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

These picture books emphasize the importance of being kind to everyone.

  • The Hide-and-scare Bear

    2016 by Bates, Ivan

    Bear never thinks about the other creatures in the forest. He doesn’t behave himself, he uses bad manners, and worst of all, he loves to play hide and scare. After a meeting to discuss Bear’s inappropriate behavior, the forest animals decide that someone needs to confront Bear. Only Rabbit steps forward and courageously offers to teach Bear how to behave through kindness. The rhyming text and engaging illustrations offer a sweet example of what can happen when you practice empathy and kindness to others.

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  • The Big Umbrella

    2018 by Bates, Amy June

    Simple text and vivid watercolors tell the story of how a single, smiling umbrella offers shelter from the rain to all those who need it, no matter what they look like or where they come from. Although seemingly simple, this delightful story powerfully demonstrates to even the youngest reader the beauty of inclusion and the power of kindness.

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  • Last Stop on Market Street

    2015 by de la Peña, Matt

    As CJ and his grandmother take their weekly bus ride to the last stop on Market Street, CJ learns that although they may not have as much as others, there is beauty in the people and everyday things that surround them. By the time they arrive at Market Street to serve food to those in need, CJ understands how much he actually has to give. The poetic text and vibrant illustrations underscore the loving relationship between grandmother and grandson and celebrate the joy that can be found in service to others.

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  • Each Kindness

    2012 by Woodson, Jacqueline

    When a new girl named Maya is introduced in Chloe’s class, Chloe and her friends decide to exclude her from their social group, even after Maya repeatedly tries to play with them. Woodson’s text matter-of-factly tackles issues including bullying, rejection and regret for lost opportunities while emphasizing how even the smallest acts of kindness can mean so much to others.

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  • Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace

    2009 by Proimos, James

    This is a story about an ordinary kid who, through simple acts of kindness, achieves peace at home and school. After deciding to extend his mission to achieve peace all over the world, he realizes that he will need some help. The fun, colorful illustrations perfectly capture Paulie's playfulness and enthusiasm. This is a great choice for reading aloud.

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  • Pass It on

    2017 by Henn, Sophy

    This is another great read aloud. The uncomplicated text and vibrant illustrations convey to children that when they experience joy they should savor the moment, and then share their joy with someone else, because sometimes that joy will be passed back to them when they least expect it.

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  • The Invisible Boy

    2013 by Ludwig, Trudy

    Brian feels invisible at school. He’s not the loudest, the best at kickball or anyone’s best friend. One day a new student, Justin, is introduced to the class and at first Brian is the only one to welcome him. As Justin becomes accepted by the others he doesn’t forget about Brian’s kindness and he helps the entire class see Brian's unique gifts. Questions for discussion are included at the end of the story, providing an opportunity to talk about classroom issues many kids may be experiencing.

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  • One Good Deed

    2015 by Fields, Terri

    One day Jake sees an opportunity to do a good deed for his neighbor. This one act sets off a chain of kindness that transforms his entire street. An engaging story about how kindness can be contagious and how big changes can come from one simple act. Back matter includes an explanation of the Jewish tradition of doing a Mitzvah or good deed.

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  • If You Plant A Seed

    2015 by Nelson, Kadir

    Rabbit and Mouse plant seeds for a garden and watch them grow into delicious fruits and vegetables. When some other animals want to share their bounty, they learn a lesson on what happens when you plant seeds of selfishness versus seeds of kindness. The sweet illustrations underscore the message that the rewards of choosing kindness can be so much more powerful than being selfish.

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  • Brunhilda's Backwards Day

    2016 by Tenney, Shawna J. C.

    Brunhilda is a witch who loves to cause trouble in her town. One day she wakes up on the "right" side of the bed and everything is turned upside down. This funny story will keep kids engaged while teaching them an important lesson about the benefits of being kind.

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