Children’s Books That Will Teach Your Kids About Kindness and Gratitude


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a heartwarming children's book that teaches valuable lessons on kindness and gratitude. The story revolves around a young boy named Auggie who was born with a facial difference. As he enters fifth grade, Auggie faces challenges and experiences both acceptance and rejection from his peers. Throughout the book, readers are introduced to various characters and their perspectives, shedding light on empathy, compassion, and the power of kindness.

Overview of the book's storyline and main characters

The book follows Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a facial deformity, as he navigates his first year in a mainstream school. Auggie's journey is seen through the eyes of different characters, including his sister Via, his classmates, and even his teachers. Through their stories, the book explores the impact of appearances and the importance of acceptance and understanding.

Key lessons on kindness and empathy conveyed in the story

One of the key lessons in “Wonder” is the importance of kindness. Auggie faces bullying and judgment due to his appearance, but there are characters in the story who show kindness and empathy towards him. The book highlights the positive impact a simple act of kindness can have on someone's life.

Additionally, “Wonder” emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding. Through the different perspectives of the characters, readers gain insight into the struggles and emotions experienced by individuals who are different. This encourages empathy and teaches children to look beyond appearances and treat others with compassion and understanding.

In conclusion, “Wonder” is a powerful children's book that teaches important lessons on kindness and gratitude. It reminds readers of the impact their actions can have on others and the importance of accepting and embracing differences. Through the heartwarming story of Auggie Pullman, children are inspired to be kind, empathetic, and grateful.


The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Summary of the book's message and central character

In “The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems, the author introduces children to an adorable character named Piggie who embarks on a mission to thank everyone who has made a difference in his life. Piggie expresses gratitude to his friends, family, and even the “Thank You Book” itself. The book emphasizes the importance of gratitude and encourages children to acknowledge the people and things they are grateful for in their own lives.

Teaching children the importance of expressing gratitude

“The Thank You Book” serves as a valuable resource for teaching children the significance of expressing gratitude. It highlights the positive impact that gratitude can have on relationships and personal well-being. Here are a few key points that the book covers:

  1. Recognizing acts of kindness: The story emphasizes the importance of recognizing and appreciating the kindness shown by others. It encourages children to acknowledge and thank the people who have been there for them.

  2. Cultivating a grateful mindset: The book promotes the idea of developing a grateful mindset by consistently expressing gratitude. It teaches children that gratitude is not only reserved for big gestures but also for small acts of kindness.

  3. Building strong relationships: By expressing gratitude, children learn to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with others. They understand the value and power of appreciating others' efforts and the positive impact it can have on their connections with friends, family, and the world around them.

“The Thank You Book” is a wonderful tool for fostering kindness and gratitude in children. Through an engaging story and relatable characters, it teaches young readers the importance of expressing gratitude and appreciating the kindness shown by others.


How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

Are you looking for children's books that teach kindness and gratitude? Look no further! “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer is a must-read for both children and parents.

Explanation of the bucket-filling concept and its relevance to kindness

In this heartwarming and engaging book, Rath and Reckmeyer introduce the concept of filling someone's bucket with kindness. The idea is that everyone carries an invisible bucket that can be filled or emptied by the words and actions of others. When we are kind and show gratitude, we fill someone's bucket, making them feel happy. On the flip side, being mean or unkind can empty someone's bucket, leaving them feeling sad.

This book beautifully illustrates the importance of choosing kindness and the positive impact it can have on others. It helps children understand that their actions and words have the power to make a difference in someone's day.

Strategies for encouraging children to be kind and fill others' buckets

With colorful illustrations and relatable characters, “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” provides practical strategies for children to practice kindness and gratitude in their everyday lives. It encourages children to be aware of their words and actions and to make a conscious effort to fill others' buckets with love, appreciation, and acts of kindness.

The book emphasizes the importance of empathy and teaches children to take notice of when someone's bucket is empty and needs to be refilled. It also highlights the idea that when we fill others' buckets, our own buckets become fuller as well.

Overall, “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” is an essential tool for teaching children about kindness, empathy, and gratitude. It's an enjoyable read that sparks meaningful conversations and encourages positive behaviors.


Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Overview of the book's narrative and central theme

In the heartwarming children's book “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts, readers are taken on a journey of empathy and understanding. The story follows a young boy named Jeremy, who longs for a pair of cool, trendy shoes that everyone at school seems to be wearing. Unfortunately, Jeremy's grandmother cannot afford to buy him the shoes he desires, leading him to feel left out and ashamed. When a classmate named Antonio faces a similar situation and needs new shoes, Jeremy is faced with a difficult decision. Will he choose to prioritize his own desires or show kindness to someone in need?

The central theme of “Those Shoes” revolves around the importance of kindness, empathy, and gratitude. Through Jeremy's journey, children learn valuable lessons about appreciating what they have and understanding the needs of others. The book teaches children that material possessions should never define their worth or determine their happiness. Instead, it encourages them to focus on the importance of kindness and compassion towards others.

Exploring the concept of giving and the true value of material possessions

“Those Shoes” beautifully explores the concept of giving and the true value of material possessions. The story encourages children to reflect on what truly matters in life and emphasizes the significance of empathy and generosity. By showcasing Jeremy's struggle and ultimate act of kindness, the book demonstrates that giving to others can bring greater joy and fulfillment than material possessions alone.

Through the relatable characters and heartfelt storyline, “Those Shoes” provides an engaging platform for parents and educators to discuss important topics such as gratitude, kindness, and empathy with children. It prompts readers to think about how they can make a positive impact in their own communities and reminds them that small acts of kindness can have a big impact.

Overall, “Those Shoes” is a wonderful children's book that teaches valuable lessons about kindness and gratitude. It encourages young readers to appreciate what they have, empathize with others, and find happiness in giving rather than simply receiving.


The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Summary of the book's storyline and main characters

“The Kindness Quilt” by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace is a charming children's book that tells the story of Minna, a young bear, and her classmates who decide to create a quilt for their beloved schoolteacher, Mrs. Bloom. Each student contributes a square to the quilt, showcasing an act of kindness they have performed. Through their squares, the children learn about the importance of being kind and the profound impact it can have on others.

The book introduces readers to a variety of characters, including Minna, who assists her grandmother with chores and helps her friends. Other characters include Sam, who helps his younger brother build a sandcastle, and Lucy, who takes care of her neighbor's plants when they are away.

Promoting kindness through small acts and fostering a sense of community

“The Kindness Quilt” is a heartwarming book that teaches children the value of kindness and gratitude. By illustrating the acts of kindness performed by the characters, the book encourages young readers to practice empathy and compassion in their own lives.

Through the quilt-making process, the story emphasizes the importance of community and working together. Each student's contribution to the quilt symbolizes the power of small acts of kindness and how they can create a sense of unity and belonging.

With its vibrant illustrations and relatable characters, “The Kindness Quilt” serves as a valuable tool for parents and educators to teach children the importance of kindness, gratitude, and fostering a sense of community. It offers a valuable lesson that even the smallest act of kindness can have a big impact on someone else's life and brings joy and warmth to our own.


Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña is a heartwarming children's book that teaches kindness and gratitude. This beautifully illustrated story follows the journey of a young boy named CJ and his grandmother as they ride the bus through the city after Sunday church service.

Description of the book's plot and central message

The book's plot revolves around CJ's curiosity and questioning as he navigates through the diverse neighborhoods of the city. Along the way, his grandmother teaches him valuable life lessons about gratitude and empathy. Despite their modest lifestyle, CJ's grandmother helps him see the beauty and kindness that exist in their everyday experiences, from appreciating the music of a street performer to finding joy in the company of others.

The central message of the book is twofold. First, it reminds children to be grateful for what they have and to find happiness in the simple things in life. CJ learns to appreciate the beauty around him, even amid the challenges they face. Second, the story emphasizes the importance of kindness and empathy towards others. CJ's grandmother encourages him to see the world from different perspectives and to extend a helping hand to those in need.

Inspiring gratefulness and finding beauty in everyday experiences

“Last Stop on Market Street” is a powerful tool for parents and educators to teach children about kindness, gratitude, and embracing diversity. The book showcases the power of positive thinking and finding beauty in everyday experiences, no matter one's circumstances. By reading this book, children learn to appreciate what they have, empathize with others, and spread kindness in their own lives.

Overall, “Last Stop on Market Street” is a highly recommended children's book that not only entertains but also nurtures important values and life skills. Through its captivating story and relatable characters, it encourages young readers to be kind, grateful, and compassionate individuals who make a positive difference in the world.



Introducing kindness and gratitude through children's books is a powerful way to shape the minds and hearts of the next generation. By instilling these values at an early age, we can help children develop empathy, compassion, and a positive outlook on life. Moreover, these books serve as a gentle reminder for adults to practice these values themselves.

Importance of incorporating kindness and gratitude into children's literature

Teaching kindness and gratitude through storytelling has a profound impact on a child's social and emotional development. These values help children build strong relationships, develop empathy, and make better moral decisions. They also contribute to a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Recommended resources for further reading

If you're looking to add kindness and gratitude books to your child's library, here are some highly recommended titles:

  • “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein
  • “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud
  • “The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems
  • “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig
  • “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson

Benefits of teaching these values early on in a child's development

By teaching kindness and gratitude early on, children learn to appreciate and value the world around them. They develop positive social skills, display empathy towards others, and become more grateful for the things they have. This sets a foundation for a lifetime of happiness, well-being, and success.

Incorporating kindness and gratitude into children's literature is a small but significant step towards creating a better and more compassionate world.