Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, ill. by Jen Hill
A little girl ponders what it means to be kind and how to be kind in various situations. She further wonders what would happen if everyone was kind...could it change her school, the community, the world?
- Read Aloud Fans, Kids Looking for Practical Examples of How to Be Kind, Picture Book Readers
Belinda the Unbeatable (Game for Adventure) by Lee Nordling & Scott Roberts
Belinda is motivated to win musical chairs, but she also has enough heart to help out a little girl who is struggling...unlike some others who are selfish.
- Imaginative Readers, Graphic Novel Fans, Wordless Book Fans, Competitive Kids, Lower Grade Readers
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming, ill. by Stacey Dressen-McQueen
Right after WWII, a young girl named Katje in Olst, Holland receives a package through the Children's Aid Society from a young girl in Indiana named Rosie. When Rosie receives Katje's thank you letter and hears how much the chocolate, socks, and soap meant to Katje and how she shared it with others, Rosie decides to send more. And each time she sends something, Katje shares it with her family and neighbors. What starts with one box for one girl, soon becomes life-saving boxes for a whole town from another town across the Atlantic. The people of Olst are so thankful, but what can they send the kind people in Indiana in return?
- Inspirational Story Fans, History Buffs, Fans of Stories Inspired by Real Life, Picture Book Readers
Do Unto Otters: a Book about Manners by Laurie Keller
When otters move in next to Mr Rabbit he gets worried about how they will be as neighbors. Mr. Owl encourages him to treat them like he wants to be treated. Mr. Rabbit thinks through how he would like the otters to treat him and comes up with a great guide to being a good neighbor, friend, and world citizen.
- Humor Fans, Animal Lovers, Little Citizens & Neighbors (or Anyone Who Has to Interact with Other People), Picture Book Readers
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder
The story of a math professor who has lost the ability to retain new memories since a car accident in 1973, the young woman who comes to be his housekeeper, and the ways that she, her 10-year-old son, and the professor are all changed by their interactions.
- Contemporary Fiction Fans, Feel Good Story Fans, Math Nerds, Nonromantic Story Fans, Quick Read Fans, Books in Translation Fans, Adult Readers
I am Kind by Suzy Capozzi, ill. by Eren Unten
A little girl shares ways that she is kind to her family, friends, and strangers.
This book includes quite a number of different examples of being kind, some of which take a lot of planning and others which are quite simple. The end challenges readers to think of three ways they can be kind.
- Kids Looking for Kindness Ideas, Conversation Starter Story Fans, Little Citizens & Neighbors, Leveled Reader Fans, Picture Book Readers
I Walk with Vanessa: a Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
A wordless story about a girl who witnesses another girl being bullied and comes up with a great idea of how to help, by walking with her to school.
- Kids Who Witness Bullying, Adults Who Want to Talk to Kids about Bullying (a discussion guide is included), Inspirational Story Fans, Wordless Book Fans, Picture Book Readers
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
A rabbit and mouse plant some seeds and eagerly reap the fruit, but they learn the hard way about the benefits of sharing and kindness. A beautifully-illustrated story with a fantastic message about patience and the blessings of kindness.
- Animal Lovers, Art Lovers, Patience & Kindness Learners, Picture Book Readers
The Lion and the Mouse and the Invaders from Zurg (Far Out Fables) by Benjamin Harper, ill. by Pedro Rodríguez
Thunder the Lion leads the resistance against the invading Zurg forces and seems to be the unbeatable local hero. Daisy Mouse wants to join the resistance but Thunder just laughs at her and considers even eating her. She pleads with him to let her go for one day she may be able to help him. Though laughing at the idea, Thunder lets her go. Then the Zurg forces capture Thunder and put him in an impenetrable prison. It seems all hope is lost, or is it? A very imaginative scifi retelling of Aesop's Lion and the Mouse fable that probably will resonate more with modern middle graders than the original.
- Science Fiction Fans, Fable Fans, Animal Lovers, Triumphing Kindness Story Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Reluctant Readers, Quick Read Fans, Middle Grade Readers
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, ill. by Gail de Marcken
A very greedy king finds out that there is a quiltmaker in his kingdom who just gives away beautiful quilts to other people, and he is hurt that he has never received one. He demands that she make him one of her beautiful quilts. The wise quiltmaker takes the opportunity to require payment in rather unique methods and teaches the king valuable lessons on the joys of blessing others and being unselfish. The king must give things away from his hoarded treasures, and each time he does so, she will add a square to his quilt. The king’s heart changes dramatically in the process, and in the end, he learns to joyfully give until he cannot give any more. The pictures are beautifully captivating and the message against materialism is wonderful.
- Inspirational Story Fans, Art Lovers, Long Picture Book Fans, Picture Book Readers
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica is a runner. She lives to feel the wind in her face and the thrill of crossing the finish line. So losing a foot in an accident feels like the end of the world. In fact, she sometimes wishes she could trade places with the girl who died in the accident and possibly had it easier. But in the midst of despair and grief, Jessica's family and best friend Kayley will NOT give up on her or let her wallow in grief. Once Jessica gets out of the hospital, Kayley practically drags her out of the house and back to high school, even though Jessica is scared of how people will look at her now. But being different turns out a great way to find out who really cares about the real her, like her track team that gives her an unexpected dose of hope by deciding to try and raise $20,000 for a special running leg so Jessica can someday live that running dream she has every night. And there's also Rosa, a math whiz and super wise friend who happens to have cerebral palsy, and who ashamedly, Jessica had always totally ignored before the accident. Beyond learning some important things about herself, Jessica realizes that people like Rosa and herself want to be known and loved for who they are, not for their conditions, and she decides to use the platform her accident has given her to raise awareness of this in her town.
- Inspirational Story Fans, Sports Story Fans, Fans of Stories about People Overcoming Hurdles, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Young Adult Readers
Shelter by Céline Claire, ill. by Qin Leng
Two strangers appear in the woods one night as the residents scurry to prepare for the coming storm. It seems no one has room or food to spare for the strangers. But when one of the resident families has a catastrophe and ends up out in the storm themselves, will the strangers be willing to do them a good turn? A rather poignant look at how we treat others, especially in moments of crisis. Are we willing to share and reach out in kindness, or do we get selfish? And do we treat others the way they’ve treated us, or the way we wish they’d treat us?
- Animal Lovers, Fans of Books in Translation, Art Lovers, Graphic Novel Fans, Conversation Starting Story Fans, Picture Book Readers on up
Silent Days, Holy Night by Phyllis Clark Nichols
Julia is getting ready for a Christmas gala at a big mansion in West Virginia. And as she gets ready, she reminisces about how she came to this point. It all started 16 years ago when she was 10 and she first met the owner of this mansion. Mr. Lafferty was nothing more than a town legend when she met him. Rumors were he was an ogre who lived in a haunted house or something similar. So Julia is shocked to learn that her father is Mr. Lafferty II’s attorney, as her grandfather was attorney to Mr. Lafferty I. Julia does not meet an ogre when she has to accompany her father to the house because of the family’s car schedules. This girl with endless questions meets a man who is deaf and confined to a wheelchair but secretly has been the town’s greatest benefactor for years. Through Julia’s father he keeps tabs on who in town needs help and makes it happen, all anonymously. He also makes amazing bird sculptures and he is thrilled when Julia plays the piano because he can feel it if he touches the instrument. And it evidently brings back happy memories. Julia decides then and there she wants to get to know Mr. Lafferty more and find a way to thank him for all he has done for others without spilling the beans about his secret generosity. As older Julia continues to prepare for the party, she walks through memories about how that initial meeting with Mr. Lafferty, the months immediately following, and the first Christmas soon after that changed many lives dramatically.
- Christmas Story Fans, Time-Slip Story Fans, Inspirational Story Fans, Heart-Warming Intergenerational Relationship Fans, Middle Grade through Adult Readers (Marketing of this book is aimed at adults, but big chunks of the story are told from 10-year-old Julia's perspective so it feels like a mix of adult and middle grade story.)
Omu makes a pot of red stew and sets it to simmer for dinner. The delicious smell wafts out her window and beckons to many people in her neighborhood. The kindly Omu always shares with those who are drawn to her door, but when it comes time for dinner, her stew is all gone. What will Omu eat?
- Beginning Readers, Inspirational Story Fans, Multicultural Community Story Fans, Foodies, Picture Book Readers
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (Vanderbeekers, #2) by Karina Yan Glaser
When beloved neighbor Mr Jeet has a stroke, the Vanderbeeker kids try to think up something nice they can do for Mr Jeet and Miss Josie. Miss Josie is always talking about how that abandoned lot by the church would make a great community garden. With permission from the pastor, the kids start secretly cleaning up the abandoned lot. But while they are doing that the pastor is called out of town and Mr Huxley seems to be trying to sell the lot. Will all their hard work be for nothing, and will Mr Jeet ever get well enough to enjoy it?
- Sibling Story Fans, Friendship Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Feel Good Story Fans, Middle Grade Readers
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
A little girl and a little wolf lost in the snow find and help each other.
This is a sweet story of one act of kindness being returned for another act of kindness, even though the two parties are supposed to be enemies.
- Feel Good Story Fans, Animal Lovers, Snowy Story Fans, Mostly Wordless Book Fans, Picture Book Readers