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Short Stories on Kindness for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching kids to be kind can be a long term, complicated process, but it can also be very rewarding. This lesson offers a series of short stories you can use to talk about kindness with children.

Reading for Kindness

As someone who spends time with children, you know how important it is to teach them about kindness. Whether you're interested in encouraging children to be kind, helping them learn to identify and accept the kindness of others, or simply teaching them more about what kindness is, it can be very helpful to have some good stories that support the thinking you want to do. When kids read about kindness, they learn to think deeply about social issues, make connections to texts, and derive life lessons from a wide variety of sources. The stories in this lesson offer different perspectives that will help kids learn what kindness means and why it is important.

Stories About Kindness

After each title and author, you will find a summary as well as a bit of information about what kinds of kids might especially enjoy the text.

Amos and Boris, by William Steig

This classic children's story tells of Boris the whale and Amos the mouse. Boris rescues Amos at the beginning of the story, and Amos promises to repay the favor. Boris doubts the opportunity will arise, but to his surprise, Amos does indeed have an opportunity to repay the kindness. The story is a great one for kids learning about how kindness begets more kindness, as well as what kindness means in the context of a friendship.

Please Don't Tease Tootsie, by Margaret Chamberlain

Told in simple and appealing rhymes, this book is especially meaningful to young children who are just learning why kindness matters in a group scenario. The animal characters learn why it is important not to do mean things to one another, and they discuss ways they can be compassionate instead. Kids will also learn about why kindness to animals is especially important.

If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson

Rabbit and Mouse plant seeds that grow into quite a harvest, and initially they're tempted to keep their riches to themselves. Instead, though, they call on other animals to share in the bounty, and they learn that kindness feels better than selfishness. This is a wonderful book for teaching kids about how kindness can strengthen a community, as well as why it is important to share.

Pinduli, by Janell Cannon

A cute hyena called Pinduli is mocked by others in the jungle for his unusual appearance, and this makes him start to feel badly about himself. Eventually, Pinduli finds others who accept him and is therefore able to celebrate his own inner strength and beauty. Children who are thinking about the way kindness and unkindness can influence self esteem will love this story.

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