By Kaitlin Johnstone

5 Children's Books that Promote Kindness

Recently we shared some of our favorite children’s books that support mental health. After receiving such a wonderful response, we wanted to share with you some of our other top picks that we have donated throughout the years!

This week’s theme is true kindness. Below are 5 titles that we feel encompass our vision of kindness that centers inclusion, justice, empathy, compassion, and love. We are forever humbled and grateful to be able to proudly state that we have now donated over 30,000 books to children thanks to your continued support!

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stovie-Bodeen often reminds me of a student I taught whom I adored with Downs syndrome, the beauty surrounding the love she had for our classroom family, and how much each of them adored her right back. In this story, Emma is desperately wanting a little brother or sister. When Isaac is born, Emma is curious about what Isaac can and cannot do because he has Downs. She is assured that with some unconditional love and patience, Isaac can do anything. There is also a set of commonly asked questions about Downs syndrome that my class found immensely helpful. INCLUSION is a topic we must explore each day with children and this book is a perfect fit.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara is a brilliant text to introduce the importance of being a co-conspirator. This rhythmic book focuses on racism and environmental JUSTICE in a way that truly makes you realize that no child is ever too young to learn about race. It is imperative and this book happens to be one of my daughter’s personal favorites.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig is also one of my all-time favorites! So much so, that we purchased over 800 of these to be a part of our annual Books and Blankets event in which we donate a book to every child at a designated school. The past year our partnership was with Harmony Elementary School in Georgia. This book radiates EMPATHY. It is such an important reminder to focus on the importance of friendship and belonging. Trudy does a beautiful job explaining how sometimes it is the small gestures that go a long way. Fun fact: author Trudy Ludwig purchased some Kind Cotton tees recently and I have to admit I was a bit star struck and beyond honored!

I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes is hands down one of the most powerful stories of self LOVE I have ever read. It is no secret that Kind Cotton loves Derrick Barnes, as we have already purchased over 200 copies of Crown an Ode to the Fresh Cut for the Manasota Black Lives Matter literacy initiative. I am Every Good Thing was a recent add on to our personal library at home and it is my belief as a mother that every child needs a copy of this book. It is a beautiful tribute to all Black boys and Barnes does a phenomenal job highlighting Black joy. This is the perfect book for Black children to feel successful and worthy. Alternatively, it is the perfect book for white children to see the beauty in Black boys, the humanity that so often is stripped away from them.

The Good Egg by Pete Oswald and Jory John is a comical story about an egg that does everything right, but when around all the other bad eggs he starts to crack under the pressure of needing to be perfect. The authors of this story do a tremendous job of not only outlining the importance of self-compassion, but also focus on showing COMPASSION for others and accepting who they are. This book was a hit at Joseph A. Fowler Elementary School this past year for World Kindness Day when you all helped us put over 900 copies of this book into the hands of kids!

We are really enjoying sharing these book list with you and hope you share some of your favorites with us too as we are always looking for new titles to purchase and donate. Thank you all for your continued support of our dream!


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