Compassion, sympathy, gentleness, benevolence, thoughtfulness, humanity and consideration. These are all synonyms the computer generated for the word kindness. As evidenced by the multitude of words, kindness means many things.

World Kindness Day was born when humanitarian groups came together on November 13, 1997 and made a “Declaration of Kindness.” It is a day everyone is encouraged to be kind, and as sophisticated as the idea may sound, it is also perhaps, the simplest and most important.

books that teach kindness

Books that Celebrate Kindness - Because Amelia Smiled; (cool) progeny

Sometimes a smile is all it takes and the sweet book Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein shows the power of our most basic form of communication. The whimsical tale begins with Amelia running down the street smiling at a neighbor who responds, thinks of her grown grandson in Mexico, and decides to bake him cookies. The tale continues around the globe as one act of kindness leads to another, eventually circling back to Amelia who ends her day as it began, with a smile.

Books that Celebrate Kindness - Peace; (cool) progeny

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin ponders the idea of world peace and inner peace. “For there to be peace in the world…there must be peace in our nations. For there to be peace in our nations, there must be peace in our cities.” The verse continues accompanied by soft lovely colored pencil vignettes bordered by contemplative quotes from the macro to the micro through neighborhoods, schools, homes, ending with hearts and then cycles back out again. “When there is peace in our hearts, there will be peace in our homes,” ending the way the book began with “And we will have peace in our world.”

Books that Celebrate Kindness - WONDER; (cool) progeny

For older children read R.J. Palacio’s Wonder about a boy with facial abnormalities who learns about friendship, and the accompanying 365 Days of Wonder, on which each day has a precept about kindness, empathy and compassion. Many are penned by famous people, others by readers of Wonder who were so inspired they came up with their own maxims.

Take a moment to savor the gifts in your life and the effect we can have when we move through the world with kindness and an open heart.

For more suggestions, visit The Ivy Bookshop.