February includes February 17, or Random Acts of Kindness Day!
When I think of February, I think of Valentine's Day. As such, I think of love and kindness when I think of February, as a whole.
To celebrate the concept of kindness, let's read picture books all about kindness!
Books about kindness can be in all kinds of forms: a simple kind of act that leads to a "pass it forward" mentality amongst a group, a list of ways to show kindness, a special person who deserves kindness, etc.
Let's start with a book that toddlers will surely enjoy!
Picture Books About Kindness
How Kind! by Mary Murphy
I really enjoy author Mary Murphy's thoughtful words and contrasting pictures, which appeal to toddlers.
This title follows the storyline where one simple act of kindness leads to a "passing it forward" mentality that all of the farm animals decide to follow. This is a great way for children to see that there are ways, simple ways, to show other people that they are thinking of them.
Children will be pleasantly surprised by the ending, where they find out what happens to the egg that is presented as the first simple act that leads to everyone being kind to each other.
One of my favorite Mary Murphy titles is called I Like It When.
A Small Kindness by Stacy McAnulty
A Small Kindness by Stacy McAnulty is another "pass it forward" story for preschoolers.
This story incorporates black and white pictures and colors to clearly demonstrate the effects of kindness.
Like The Wizard of Oz, this story uses color to demonstrate the effects of passing on kindness. Starting with a drab black and white scene, one student is in color, depicting someone who is showing kindness to others. As the story progresses, the pages obtain more and more colors. Note that the expressions of the children change to happy smiles by the end of the story.
You will enjoy the simple illustrations and color concept as every child shares or helps another child resulting in happiness for everyone!
K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi
K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi is more than just an alphabet book!
Each alphabet represents an animal that is doing some form of kindness for another animal.
I see this as a list book, because children will see all of the different ways that they can use to show kindness to others.
Because this is an alphabet book, I think this book fits in neatly with the toddler to preschooler age group!
Tomorrow I'll Be Kind by Jessica Hische
Like the previous picture book, Tomorrow I'll Be Kind is a list of traits that make kindness great.
This is a great book for younger elementary students who may have had a bad day and who may have not have behaved their best. It is a book that emphasizes how we can always start afresh the next day.
If your child has had a bad day, you can either read this book or encourage them to read the book so that they can think about what they can do better at school the next day.
As important as it is to forgive others, it is also very important for children to learn how to forgive themselves.
The Boy With Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis
The Boy With Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis is an excellent book about learning how to help with kindness in your heart.
For lower elementary-aged children, this title gently shows how a boy can still be accepted by the other children, though he is very different. Though his moods seem to manifest visibly through his hair, this book gently shows children that a child's mental well-being is just as important as their physical one.
When the boy with flowers changes and doesn't seem to be quite as happy as before, his best friend immediately recognizes the change and immediately responds with kindness and positivity.
The themes in this book are more mature than most picture books, but show how children can have the propensity for recognizing and helping a peer.