The word of the week in my character development series is “kindness.” These books on kindness will be a great way to begin discussion about how reach the world through kindness and why it is important. Please hover over the character development tab to reveal all 52 words we focus on in this series. You can click on the kindness tab to find all of our activities for this trait. There are 7-9 activities for each character trait. I hope you will really embrace and utilize this series. I added images of the book if I did not review it. If I did review it, it is picture above in the feature picture.
Kindness (Values) – This is an instructional type of books that give pictures of real kids. It gives definitions and examples of kindness. It gives a variety of ways that people can show kindness in their lives. I really do enjoy these direct instruction books and feel like they are helpful in a character development series like this.
Suzy Swoof: A Book About Kindness (Building Christian Character) – The Building Christian Character series is probably my favorite collection of books. I do have a few more to add to our collection, but these are ones I want to keep forever. The lessons are fun but clear. The pictures are whimsical cartoons and the characters are lovable, and as we all are, flawed. The writing has a cadence through rhyme. Can you tell I love these books? Suzy Swoof is an adorable, kind little Swoof who is picked on by the other Swoofs because of her inability to fly. Despite the mean nature of the Swoof kids, Suzy finds a way to win them over through kindness. This book clearly teaches that we are to show kindness even though others may not show the same respect.
Each Kindness (Jane Addams Award Book (Awards)) – This book comes recommended by a reader. Sounds like a great book!
The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) – Another Bernstain Bear book on kindness. I like how the book teaches that kindness is important and what that looks like in a family. My one complaint is that we shouldn’t show kindness to expect something in return. Kindness does some time pay off, but we can’t always expect that if we do something kind someone should be expected to do something nice to us. I think this book is a great starting point for that kind of discussion with your kids.
The Kindness Quilt – In this story the bunny kids are read the fable about the lion and the mouse and how it relates to kindness. The kids are then assigned a “kindness project.” Minna, the bunny, isn’t sure what she wants to do, so her parents help her come up with ideas. She did a bunch of kind things throughout the day (great examples for kids) but still wanted something greater. She decided to compile all of her ideas together in a quilt-like pattern rather than just presenting a picture of one idea. This inspired the class to add their own ideas to make an even greater kindness quilt. It kept on being added to and added to until they had a wonderful quilt display for the wall in the hall. Other classes were inspired by this project, and the wall kept growing and growing. This books made me want to present the idea to my daughter’s teacher. I love the thought that a simple idea like this could grow and grow to inspire others.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler – The behavior of some of the kids in class are not going over well with Mrs. Ruler. The kids are being mean. She therefore gives the naughty kids an assignment to do 5 random acts of kindness for their families and be able to come back and report about it at show-and-tell. I love the line that says, “Good deeds fill needs.” What a great description of kindness. The kids go on to do random acts of kindness and share their variety of ideas, which I believe will plant ideas in your own kids heads about ways to show random acts of kindness. The assignment began with the kids that were in trouble, but as they began to share at show-and-tell, the other classmates became motivated and wanted to join in the fun. Kindness began to snowball in the lives of these children. Mrs. Ruler kept motivating the kids with her little sayings like, “A slice of nice makes a mile of smile” and “All it takes is one simple act – one act of kindness that will make the world a better place.” In the back of the book, there is a list of the 100 acts of kindness the kids were able to do in their family, school and community. The pictures in this book are colorful and fun. It is motivational and has an energy about it that inspires. I highly recommend this wonderful book.
Because of You – This story shows of all the good that can enter into a world “because of you.” It has a variety of phrases with pictures to match ideas like “Because of you, there is one more person who will grow and learn…and one more person who can teach others” or “Because of you, there is one more person who needs help…and one more person who can help others.” It shows how we are all interconnected with both needs and ways we can fulfill needs. What a beautiful picture to paint of how we can show kindness to others because of the kindness we have received. It shows how big things can happen in this world “because of you.” What great inspiration for kids.
The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) – The golden rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Some people don’t know this is a Bible verse found in Matthew 7:12. Sister Bear has heard this verse said, but it doesn’t really register until she receives a locket with that inscription inside. The message slowly takes root in her life as she faces the awkward new girl who obviously needs a friend. We love the Berenstain Bears around here. We read both the books and watch the Comcast On Demand TV episodes, which all teach moral life lessons.
The Little Book of Kindness by Zack Bush and Laurie Friedman – This books focuses on the power of kindness and how it is contagious. It gives tangible examples of being kind – like how we use our words, different ideas for good deeds to do, how to treat others and be inclusive and why it is all important.
Good Knight, Duke: A Lesson in Being Nice (VeggieTales (Big Idea)) – Veggie Tales creators do it again. I laugh out loud as I am reading their books or watching their movies. The writers are so clever, and I love the character they have developed. The books are loved by kids, but the humor is understood by adults. In this book we learn about an angry and mean knight, “Bump in the Knight” who is tired of all the fun and laughter in the kingdom. Duke is not much competition in the duel he is challenged to, but he is stronger in one area – kindness. Duke reaches out in kindness to the angry bully and his heart is changed.
Kitty Shows Kindness (First Virtues for Toddlers) – This is a great introductory book on kindness for toddlers and preschoolers. It is simple, but it shows examples of what kindness means. It points back to the Bible and God, the root of all good and the teacher of kindness.
Help Me Be Good Being Mean – The “Help Me Be Good” series by Joy Berry is great, and I keep referring to it in the book portion of my character development series. It clearly defines what it means to be mean, why people are mean, how it harms relationships and how to turn it around so that you will be able to function in life and with others better. It isn’t a story, but it does keep kids engaged and understanding some of the behaviors that are harmful to their development.
Help Me Be Good Series Box Set – I want to point you to the “Help Me Be Good” series box set since I will reference almost every book in my character development series. Each book contains a behavior that needs to be modified. It gives definitions, examples and tools or tips for dealing with the behavior we see in ourselves or others.
The Berenstain Bears’ Gossip Gang (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) – My kids have read this over and over since we checked it out form our church library. It’s a great book that shows kids what it means to gossip and how hurtful it can be. In true Bernstain Bear fashion, morals are taught through relatable stories with lovable character.
Hailey & Bailey’s Silly Fight: It’s About Getting Along [DVD] – It is hard to get along with others. We get on each others nerves. We are all so different. This movie shows how twin sisters (who normally get along well) get into a silly fight. Kindness can bring people out of such fights.