The Best Books to Instill Kindness in Younger Kids

February is my favorite month of the year. My birthday is at the end of the month, Valentine’s Day {or my preference:: Galentine’s Day} means indulging in way too many sweets, and Black History Month enables me to dig into even more opportunities to learn about African American contributions to our country and to continue my antiracism work. Mostly, though, I love that February is a reminder for all of us to spread a bit more kindness with Random Acts of Kindness Week, taking place February 14 – 20 and Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday, February 17. 

The Best Books to Instill Kindness in Younger Kids

While I’d love to step into a fantasy land where everyone is kind to each other regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, ability, personality and the like, that’s not my {or likely your} current reality. I feel grateful that I was raised by parents who actively worked to instill kindness into my brother and me. In fact, my mom bid me farewell each day with her standard “have a great day…don’t forget to be the nice kid today.” 

Similarly, my partner and I are passionate and active in our pursuits to raise our son {and future children} to be kind. While there are so many large and small ways to work towards raising the next generation to be kinder and more open-minded, even our most subtle choices can make a huge impact. 

One such way we work toward instilling such kindness in the next generation is with reading. Whether it be about feelings, race, breaking down gender norms or civil rights and social justice heroes, reading is our gateway to important conversations. A few of our favorites are below.

Books to build empathy and learn about emotions and feelings::

Books to encourage a generous spirit::

Books to honor and lift up girls and women::

The Best Books to Instill Kindness in Younger Kids

Books to break down gender norms {especially for parents of boys!}::

Books to honor and lift up children and people of color::

Books to recognize and celebrate our differences::

Now What? Building Your Kindness Library

Time to start shopping…or borrowing- in order to build up your kindness-focused book collection! Don’t forget that Houston Public Library offers scheduled contactless pick-up across the city! If you need a hand to make reading a regular part of your family’s routine, check out Jessica’s recent post all about the importance of literacy

Until then, my family is wishing you all a wonderful Random Acts of Kindness Week! I hope you’ll join me in committing to starting our little ones on kindness young. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the books listed above or other books you’ve enjoyed reading to your littles, older kiddos, adolescents or adult children!

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Jenny G. is a proud, nearly native Houstonian mom of a rambunctious toddler, RBG, {October 2019} wife, community volunteer and business owner. She and her spouse love being outdoors {especially in other cities, states and countries} and live music and their family spends most of its weekends at farmers markets or local parks. She founded and co-owns Houston-based Like Minds Communications, a mission-driven marketing and communications that currently employs all women. Outside of the office, Gustafson proudly supports Girls Empowerment Network, serving as co-chair of its Girl Advocacy League young professional group and Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region where she is a Regional Board Member. If you're looking for the best gluten free eats, live music venues, parks or hidden foodie finds in Houston, Gustafson will gladly share her picks! Follow her on social media at @jgustarhymes.


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