Hopefully all of you are trying to figure out some act of kindness you can do. It would be amazing to see a little more thoughtfulness ... an outreached hand to lift up those in need ... in the world today. Try to focus this week on "small-acts-of-kindness" or "pay-it-forward" moments you can create! Because ...
Recently I read an article that focused on kindness. In it, they talked about all the benefits we can give our children by teaching them to be kind to others. Not only does it help those on the receiving end, but it also helps the one giving the service. Without going into tons of details, here are the things your child will learn from being kind.
They will be more happy and caring.
They will have increased peer acceptance.
They will have a greater sense of belonging and improved self-esteem.
They will have improved health and less stress.
They will have increased feelings of gratitude.
They will have better concentration and improved results.
There will be a reduction in depression.
And ultimately ... there will be less bullying.
In the article, Patty O'Grady, PhD, an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology ... stated this:
“Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.”
That got me thinking. What better way to get a child to "feel" something than by reading them a story. I find so many expressions can be felt by the written word. I have read books with my family where we have laughed together, swooned together, were scared together, and cried together. So, in honor of our "Week of Kindness" on My Title Wave, I compiled a list of books that children will love! Each book has a similar message ... being kind to others.
My challenge to you is to pick one book to read together with your children. However, don't just read it ... stop and discuss what they are hearing. Get them to express their feelings to you. And at the end, ask them what they learned from listening to the story. You will be amazed at what insight these precious young ones may have.
Read further to learn more about the books pictured.
The Invisible Boy – by Trudy Ludwig
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Bear in Love – by Daniel Pinkwater
Could the bear have a secret friend? Who is leaving him surprises? The ever-lovable Daniel Pinkwater spins a funny and sweetly offbeat story.
One morning, the bear finds something just outside his cave. It is orange and long and pointy and has bushy green leaves at one end. And it’s sweet and crunchy! Where did it come from? Did someone leave it for him? Then there are two more of the sweet crunchy things the next morning! The bear knows that someone nice is leaving him these treats. If only he could discover who it is! Should he leave something tasty in return? With the help of Will Hillenbrand’s endearing illustrations, the inimitable Daniel Pinkwater spins a charming little mystery about unexpected kindnesses and finding that extra-special someone.
The Kindness Quilt – by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Random acts of kindness pictured on a paper quilt
Minna and her classmates have been asked by their teacher, Mrs. Bloom, to work on a Kindness Project. Mrs. Bloom wants them to do and draw and share an act of kindness. Minna and her family do lots of kind things, but Minna can’t decide which one is right for her project. Then she starts writing and drawing and cutting—and an idea for a paper quilt picturing many acts of kindness begins to take shape!
I See Kindness Everywhere – by Shelley Frost
Where do you see kindness? No matter who we are or where we come from, when we take a moment to look around, we can see kindness everywhere. With an engaging message and vibrant illustrations, this little book can help children learn how to notice and appreciate everyday blessings.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee – by Philip C. Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
Hey, Little Ant – by Phillip M. Hoose , 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? What if your friends saw you hesitate? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Originally a song by a father-daughter team, this conversation between two creatures, large and small, is bound to inspire important discussions. It might even answer that classic childhood question: To squish or not to squish?
How Kind! – by Mary Murphy
Hen gives Pig an unexpected present. "How kind!" says Pig. Pig is so touched, in fact, that he decides to do something kind too. So Pig gives Rabbit a gift. "How kind!" says Rabbit, who does something kind for Cow, who is kind to Cat, who wants to be kind in turn. Where will all of this kindness lead?
Stone Soup – by Jon J Muth
Award-winning artist Jon J Muth retells the favorite tale of a selfish community who is tricked into creating a delicious soup from stones. Set in China in Muth's hauntingly beautiful watercolors.
Three strangers, hungry and tired, pass through a war-torn village. Embittered and suspicious from the war, the people hide their food and close their windows tight. That is, until the clever strangers suggest making a soup from stones. Intrigued by the idea, everyone brings what they have until-- together, they have made a feast fit for a king!
In this inspiring story about the strength people possess when they work together, Muth takes a simple, beloved tale and adds his own fresh twist.
Enemy Pie – by Derek Munson
It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids – by Tom Rath
Through the story of a little boy named Felix, this charming book explains to children how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. As he goes about his day, Felix interacts with different people — his sister Anna, his grandfather, other family and friends. Some people are happy, but others are grumpy or sad. Using the metaphor of a bucket and dipper, Felix’ grandfather explains why the happy people make Felix feel good, while the others leave him feeling bad — and how Felix himself is affecting others, whether he means to or not. This beautifully illustrated adaptation takes the original book’s powerful message — that the way we relate to others has a profound effect on every aspect of our lives — and tailors it to a child’s unique needs and level of understanding.
Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores – by James Howe
Will their friendship ever be the same?
Horace, Morris, and Dolores have been best friends forever. They do everything together -- from sailing the seven sewers to climbing Mount Ever-Rust. But one day Horace and Morris join the Mega-Mice (no girls allowed), and Dolores joins the Cheese Puffs (no boys allowed). Is this the end? Or will Horace and Morris but mostly Dolores find a way to save the day -- and their friendship?
The Giving Tree – by Shel Silverstein
'Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy.'
So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk...and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.
Each Kindness – by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.
The Golden Rule – by Ilene Cooper
This book is a gentle reminder of a timeless rule for parent and child: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Everyone knows a version of the Golden Rule. But what does it really mean? And how do you follow it? In this gorgeously illustrated book, a grandfather explains to his grandson that the Golden Rule means you “treat people the way you would like to be treated. It’s golden because it’s so valuable, and a way of living your life that’s so simple, it shines.” And though it may be a simple rule, it isn’t easy to follow. Fortunately, following the Golden Rule is something everyone can do, which means that every person—old or young, rich or poor—can be a part of making the world a better place.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler – by Margery Cuyler
When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she's got a special plan up her sleeve. She's about to teach a new golden rule:
KINDNESS IS COOL!
Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom!
From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference.
Count along with Mrs. Ruler's class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?
Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed – by Emily Pearson
She’s Ordinary Mary—an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house—who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others—one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage—one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people—including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries—and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.
It’s a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – by Mem Fox
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, a rather small boy, lives next door to a nursing home in which resides Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, his favorite friend, because she has four names as well. When Miss Nancy "loses" her memory, the intrepid Wilfrid sets out to find it for her.
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch – by Eileen Spinelli
One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch.
"Somebody loves you," the note says.
"Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room. "Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town. "But who," Mr. Hatch wonders, "could that somebody be?"
After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!