Today is World Kindness Day, but every day is a good day to be kind, isn’t it? Here are three of my favorite picture books with kindness at their core. They are all gentle stories with beautiful, soft illustrations, and I have read and re-read these to my children many times.
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love
By Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas
In this sweet story, Sophia and Mrs. Goldman make hats for everyone in the neighborhood. “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah,” Mrs. Goldman says. But Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat herself, so Sophia clumsily knits in every spare moment to make the most special hat for Mrs. Goldman. Although Sophia’s knitting results in a hat that “looks like a monster hat,” her creativity and perseverance turn it into a beautiful surprise. Kindness is at the core of this friendship. The loose, softly-colored illustrations add a layer of heart to this lovely book.
The Lion and The Bird
By Marianne Dubuc
This gentle friendship story between a lion and an injured bird unfolds in the pages of an extraordinarily long picture book with spare text and quite a few wordless spreads. After a quiet winter of caring for the injured bird and making memories together, the lion watches his friend fly away in two breathtakingly poignant wordless spreads. “And so it goes. Sometimes life is like that,” are the words on the next spread that shows the lion returning alone to his home. Seasons pass, and the lion is all alone, but then his friend returns again for the next winter. This is a book that takes the reader on a journey of emotions through a masterful collaboration of art and words.
Peace is an Offering
By Annette LeBox and Stephanie Graegin
“Peace is an offering. A muffin or a peach” are the lines that open this book that follows a group of neighborhood children through moments of kindness that translate into gifts of peace or hints at where one might find peace. A birthday invitation. A safe place to live. A photograph. In the rubble of a fallen tower. Comforting a friend. It ends with a wish: “May peace walk beside you. Wherever you are.” The illustrations are rendered in beautiful, warm tones and depict a diverse and kind world I would like my children to know.
World Kindness Day is a good reminder that kindness comes in many forms: caring for yourself (i.e., giving yourself grace, resting when you need it, congratulating yourself on small wins, etc.), reaching out to someone who might be lonely (i.e., a neighbor, an elderly person, an LGBTQ+ individual, a friend with a disability, an immigrant, a shy classmate, etc.), or helping a friend in need (i.e., someone who is feeling the strain of this pandemic, someone who can’t afford Christmas presents for their kids, someone who needs a walking buddy, etc.). Each of these small acts nudges the world toward being a more peaceful place for all.