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Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellness. That good feeling you get when you help someone is caused by the release of endorphins, those “feel good” hormones, in your brain. Kindness and acts of service can improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Kindness also plays an important role in overcoming conflicts and creating empathy. Children who engage in acts of kindness are also less likely to bully others.* As important as modeling kindness to others for our children is, so is learning about how impactful receiving acts of kindness can be. A great way to explore both is through books and sharing stories that convey the power kind acts, both great and small, can have. We invite you to be inspired by some of our favorite books exploring the power of kindness.

 *Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being | PLOS ONE

Loving Kindness

by Deborah Underwood (Author) Tim Hopgood (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

You are a blessing. / You are beautiful just as you are. / You are loved, / and you love. / You make mistakes, / and it’s okay to make mistakes, / because that’s how you learn. Lyrical and poignant, Loving Kindness encourages us to be tender with ourselves and others and to open our hearts to the world. This vibrant picture book celebrates connection, compassion and life.

The Little Things: A Story About Acts of Kindness

by Christian Trimmer (Author) Kaylani Juanita (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

One girl’s simple act of kindness causes ripples in her community in this witty, heartwarming story about paying it forward. The day after a mighty storm, a little girl finds a sea star that has washed up on shore, and she returns it to the ocean. Seeing her small act of kindness, an old man heads to an animal shelter with his grandson to pick a dog in need of a home. His grandson feels inspired to help an elderly woman clean up her yard, which inspires a teenager to pack an extra lunch for someone in need, and on and on until each small gesture builds toward a magnificent conclusion. Full of humor, heart and proof of the generosity that we all have inside of us, Christian Trimmer and Kaylani Juanita’s story is a welcome reminder: It’s the little things that make a big difference.

When We Are Kind

by Monique Gray Smith (Author) Nicole Neidhardt (Illustrator

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Explore celebrating simple acts of everyday kindness and encouraging children to express how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.

I Am a Kindness Hero

by Jennifer Adams (Author) Carme Lemniscates (Illustrator)

Series: I Am a Warrior Goddess

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Children will learn the importance of treating others with love, kindness and respect. Follow the adventures of a young boy as he practices kindness throughout his day, from rescuing a puppy to standing up to bullies to helping his young sister tie her shoe. I Am a Kindness Hero celebrates gentleness and vulnerability in boys and shows that true strength and leadership come from treating those around you with love and respect. I Am a Kindness Hero provides parents, teachers and childcare providers with a beautiful picture book that offers a new kind of role model for young boys. A standalone title, it also serves as a companion to I Am a Warrior Goddess, by the same author and illustrator, which inspires strength, leadership and empowerment in young girls.

Sincerely, Emerson: A Girl, Her Letter, and the Helpers All Around Us

by Emerson Weber (Author) Jaclyn Sinquett (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

One tiny act of kindness can have a huge impact. And in this heartwarming, hopeful, true story, a simple letter does just that. A true story that quickly went viral, this is now a timely, extraordinary picture book. Sincerely, Emerson follows eleven-year-old Emerson Weber as she writes a letter of thanks to her postal carrier, Doug, and creates a nationwide outpouring of love. This is a story of gratitude, hope and recognition: for all the essential helpers we see every day and all those who go unseen. Perfect for sharing alongside such favorites as Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill’s Be Kind and Matt de la Peña and Loren Long’s Love. There are lots of ways to help the world go round: Some people collect the trash. Some stock grocery shelves. Some drive buses and trains. Some help people who are sick. Some deliver our mail. And some people write letters.

Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy

by Maria Dismondy (Author) Donna Farrell (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

It’s Gabe’s first day of school in America, and he doesn’t speak English. This story shows how a simple act of kindness is worth more than a thousand words. Kindness really is a universal language.

Project Go Green (Alyssa Milano’s Hope #4)

by Alyssa Milano (Author) Eric S Keyes (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Series: Alyssa Milano’s Hope

Hope Roberts saves the planet! In the fourth book in Alyssa Milano’s funny and relatable middle-grade series, Hope Roberts is determined to save the world, literally. Hope has already gotten her school to add more recycling bins and coordinate a carpooling program. But it’s not enough. Hope wants to do more to protect the environment before it’s too late. But will Hope’s plans to help the planet backfire? Hope’s relatability, kindness, empathy and can-do attitude will inspire a generation of do-gooders. This series is a response to the very palpable feeling that not only can young people save the world, they will! This story will include Hope’s tips about recycling and protecting the environment in the back of the book!

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