Kindness is one of the greatest lessons we receive in childhood; one that follows you throughout life and never grows old. While learning to treat each other kindly is an important hands-on experience, reinforcing that at home through stories is equally as impactful. And we all know that the books we are raised with leave lasting impressions! (I can still tell you allllll about my bedtime story favorites, Sheep in a Jeep and The Three Little Javelinas.)
Time to fill your home library with these picture books that are decidedly NOT mean:
In Toni Morrison’s second illustrated book collaboration with her son Slade, she offers a humorous and insightful look at how children experience meanness and anger in our world. The Morrisons recognized that the world and its language can be confusing to young people. To a child, meanness can have many shapes, sizes, and sounds. The wise young narrator shows that meanness can be a whisper or a shout, a smile or a frown as the list of mean people grows to include parents, siblings, and bullies of several varieties.
Today’s young readers certainly know about meanness and will feel satisfied by having their perspective championed in The Book of Mean People as well as heartened by the book’s message of embracing optimism, kindness, and joy despite any meanness they encounter. And adult readers will no doubt recognize some of these situations from their own life.
With whimsical yet sophisticated art by bestselling illustrator Pascal Lemaitre, The Book of Mean People is as relevant today as it was when it was originally published 20 years ago. Features a new cover and back matter that includes an afterword by bestselling and critically acclaimed author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.
Neither tries hard to fit in, but its bird legs aren’t good for jumping like the other bunnies, and its fluffy tail isn’t good for flapping like the other birds. It sets out to find a new home and discovers a very different place, one with endless colors and shapes and creatures of all kinds. But when a blue bunny and a yellow bird with some hidden differences of their own arrive, it’s up to Neither to decide if they are welcome in the Land of All.
This colorful, simple, and touching story promotes diversity and offers a valuable lesson to the youngest of audiences: it is our differences that unite us.
It’s picture day and Faizah can’t wait to wear her special red dress with matching hair ribbons, passed down from her mother and sister. Faizah’s teacher starts the day by asking her students to envision the kind of world they want, inspiring Faizah and her friends to spend the day helping one another in ways large and small.But when it’s time for sibling pictures, Faizah realizes that she and her older sister, Asiya, don’t match like her classmates do with their siblings. With help from her classmates inspired by Asiya’s hijab, Faizah finds that acts of kindness can come back to you in unexpected ways.
From Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and fellow bestselling, award-winning creators S.K. Ali and Hatem Aly comes a heartfelt exploration of friendship, faith, and the joy of spreading kindness wherever you go.
Written and illustrated by the acclaimed creators of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse!, here is a brave book about the power of words that tackles one of the most difficult topics for elementary school-aged children—hate speech—in a direct, realistic, and empathetic manner.