15 Picture Books about Community, Respect & Love

Teaching kids to share is one of the first things parents want to do—how to share space, share toys, share love. Instilling a sense of love and respect for neighbors and community can help with that. These picture books about community, respect, and love encourage tearing down walls and lending a hand with an open heart to those around you.



A is for Activist
by Innosanto Nagara

Are you politically involved in your community? A is for Activist gives a progressive, inclusive idea for every letter of the alphabet. Available in both board book and picture book, it’s perfect for the unapologetically activist family.

My Very Own Space
Written by Pippa Goodhart, Illustrated by Rebecca Crane

When you’re in a large community, it can be hard to find the balance of what you need and what others need—of your own space and of sharing space with others. The cute little bunny family in My Very Own Space features a little introvert bunny who just wants to read in peace, but everybody keeps pestering him—until he figures out how to make a space of his own. It’s an adorable story not only for introverted kids, but for kids struggling to stand up for themselves in a community where their needs might be drowned out.


The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
Written by Julia Roberts, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

The place children spend the most time outside of the house is in school. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade is Sally, who, despite her small stature, sees everything. When she sees a bully, and nobody else says anything, she speaks up.


Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey
Written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, Illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Kids overhear everything, so some might be peppering parents with questions about refugees and immigrants. Based on the real story of the Iraqi family who loved their cat Kunkush too much to leave him behind, Lost and Found Cat boils that story down to something even kids can grasp: love of a pet and working together to keep that pet with its family.


Families, Families, Families!
by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

If you’re going to pick a book with animal leads, Families, Families, Families!  is one of the best. Different family types are presented in this adorable panda-and-piglet-filled picture book about how all the families in communities, no matter how different they look, are the same at heart.


Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street won the Newbery Medal, earned a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor, and was one of the New York Times notable children’s books for 2015—and it’s not without good reason. On their regular Sunday bus ride home from church, CJ peppers his grandmother with questions about why they’re different from the rest of the community—and his grandmother responds with an encouraging answer at every turn.


Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev, Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

If tiny elephants weren’t enough to get you to snatch up this picture book, Lisa Mantchev’s picture book debut is about the power of friendship in a community that doesn’t always want you—and how working together can make a community better. But unlike the other books on this list, it features a tiny elephant, which, come on, is almost irresistible.


Counting On Community
by Innosanto Nagara

Nagara’s Counting On Community, a companion to A is for Activist, is another sweet and charming book about relying on your community to make a better world and taking joy in the people around you.



What picture books inspire a sense of respect, love, and community in your kids?


Nicole Brinkley has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. She is an independent bookseller, the founder of YA Interrobang and Queership, and a contributor to Book Riot. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @nebrinkley.