9 Children's Books About Kindness

Kids hugging

It's easy for kids to understand the concept of kindness and of being nice to others. When we praise our kids for unprompted acts of kindness, empathy, and generosity, we're helping them grow up to be mensches -- we're also reinforcing a Jewish value known as chesed. Often translated as “loving-kindness,” chesed means giving oneself fully, with love and compassion. Here are nine fantastic books for small children that show how easy it is to be kind to others.

26 Big Things Small Hands Can Do

26 Big Things Small Hands Can Do by Coleen Paratore

Performing good deeds is something even the littlest among us can do.

Baby Be Kind

Baby Be Kind by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Everyone can take part in tikkun olam (repairing the world). Petting a puppy, sharing snacks, and helping someone who has fallen down all help make the world a little better.

Bagels From Benny

Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis

While working in his grandfather’s bakery, Benny learns the joys of giving and receiving, caring and gratitude.

Do Unto Otters

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

This book shows how treating others with respect is the basis of friendship, cooperation, and sharing.

Estie the Mensch

Estie the Mensch by Jane Kohuth

Estie does not always know how to be around other people and sometimes when her grandmother reminds her to be a mensch, she'd rather not. She'd prefer to be a turtle or a seagull. Eventually, something happens that shows her grandmother and Estie herself what a mensch the girl can really be

Hanna's Sabbath Dress: An Israeli Folktale

Hanna's Sabbath Dress: An Israeli Folktale by Itzhak Schweiger-Dmi'el

Hanna’s mother sews a beautiful white dress for her. When a promise to keep the new dress clean for the Sabbath is broken, Hanna discovers that helping people is much more important than a spotless dress.

How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box

How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box by Linda Heller

As Dalia explores tzedakah with her friends, she creates a tzedakah box where she can keep the money she’s saving to help those in need. In the process Dalia, her friends and her little brother Yossi learn about the power and joy of giving to others.

One Good Deed

One Good Deed by Terri Fields

You know the phrase “pay it forward”? In Judaism, it’s known as mitzvah goreret mitzvah -- one good deed brings another good deed, no matter how small. This sweet book shows that concept in action.

The Cricket and the Ant

The Cricket and the Ant by Naomi Ben-Gur

Cricket just likes to have fun. He lets poor Ant do all the work of preparing for Shabbat. But when Shabbat finally rolls around with a crisis, Cricket finds a way to save the day.