10 Books to Inspire Kindness

Curated by Emma Kerr, Early Childhood and Elementary Librarian

Our BFIS Core Value celebrated throughout February is kindness.  Here are some books that carry a heartfelt message and will spark important conversations at home. We hope they will bring a smile to your day and help you to see the world with the eyes of others. 

Elementary Young Readers


By Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand—until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count. (From Goodreads)

Quit Calling Me a Monster!

By Jory John

Floyd Peterson is so much more than shaggy purple fur and pointy monster teeth — why can’t people just see him for him? Jory John and Bob Shea have struck gold in creating a knee-slapping, read-it-again story that will start a valuable discussion about how we treat others and how it feels to be seen as “different.” (From Goodreads)

Tough Guys Have Feelings Too

By Keith Negley

A boldly illustrated picture book read-aloud about how everyone gets sad—ninjas, wrestlers, knights, superheroes, everyone . . . even daddies have emotions! Did you know wrestlers have feelings? And knights. Even superheroes and ninjas feel sad sometimes. In fact everyone has feelings—especially dads who love their children!

Children will love recognizing their feelings in Keith Negley’s bold illustrations which accompany a fun-to-read-aloud narrative. Parents can joyfully engage with children in a lighthearted discussion about emotions and how they affect us all! (From Goodreads)

Hey, Little Ant

By Phillip Hoosse, Hannah Hoose, Debbie Tilley

What would you do if the ant you were about to step on looked up and started talking? Would you stop and listen? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Originally a song by a father-daughter team, this surprising conversation between a tiny ant and a little girl is bound to inspire important discussions about caring, kindness, and respect for both animals and humans. (From Goodreads)

The Sneetches and Other Stories

Dr. Seuss

1 The Sneetches
The unfortunate Sneetches are bamboozled by one Sylvester McMonkey McBean (“the Fix-it-up Chappie”), who teaches them that pointless prejudice can be costly.

2 The Zax
A South-Going Zax and a North-Going Zax seem determined to butt heads on the prairie of Prax.

3 Too Many Daves
Mrs. McCave had 23 sons and named them all Dave. After, she prefers different names, like Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face or Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate.

4 What Was I Scared Of?
Spooky trousers start in the dark forest but appear closer and more often, even in broad daylight.

(From Goodreads)

Elementary Older Readers

Paper Boy

By Vince Vawter

An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything.

The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble–and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger. (From Goodreads)

Freak the Mighty

Rodman Philbrick

Two boys – a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant and a tiny Einstein in leg braces – forge a unique friendship when they pair up to create one formidable human force. A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss. (From Goodreads)

El Deafo

Cece Bell

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend? (From Goodreads)

Ramona the Pest

By Beverly Cleary

Ramona doesn’t think she’s a pest – she knows that she isn’t a pest on purpose. So how in the world does Ramona get in trouble? Why does her crush Davy run away whenever Ramona comes near him? And how does she manage to disrupt the whole kindergarten class during their rest time? (From Goodreads)


Judy Blume

Blubber is a good name for her, the note from Wendy says about Linda. Jill crumples it up and leaves it on the corner of her desk. She doesn’t want to think about Linda or her dumb report on the whale just now. Jill wants to think about Halloween.

But Robby grabs the note, and before Linda stops talking it has gone halfway around the room.

That’s where it all starts. There’s something about Linda that makes a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they can go — but nobody, least of all Jill, expects the fun to end where it does.

New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year

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