Encourage Kindness in Your Classroom with these Story Time Reads

All Are Welcome

All Are Welcome By Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

We're All Wonders

We're All Wonders By Written & illustrated by R. J. Palacio

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! By Trudy Ludwig; illustrated by Patrice Barton

Owen McPhee doesn’t just like to talk, he LOVES to talk. He spends every waking minute chattering away at his teachers, his classmates, his parents, his dog, and even himself. But all that talking can get in the way of listening. And when Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say.

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy By Trudy Ludwig; illustrated by Patrice Barton

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

What Is Given from the Heart

What Is Given from the Heart By Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by April Harrison

CORETTA SCOTT KING – JOHN STEPTOE ILLUSTRATOR AWARD FOR NEW TALENT WINNER

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.


"Misery loves company," Mama says to James Otis. It's been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they're blessed. One Sunday before Valentine's Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service-- the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple's "love box," but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack--with stunning illustrations by Harrison--delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness By Kerascoët

This simple yet powerful picture book–from a New York Times bestselling husband-and-wife team–tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events,  I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

Wordy Birdy

Wordy Birdy By Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Dave Mottram

Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky!” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree. . . .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend.

Crunch the Shy Dinosaur

Crunch the Shy Dinosaur By Cirocco Dunlap; illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Crunch is a lovely and quiet brontosaurus who has hidden himself in some shubbery and is rather shy. He would like to play, but it will require some gentle coaxing from you! If you are patient and encouraging, you will find yourself with a new friend!

This picture book is a warm, funny example of how to engage with someone new, who is perhaps a bit different from you. Lessons in friend-making (such as minding personal space and demonstrating interest in another’s hobbies) are delivered so subtly that children will absorb them unconsciously as they delight in Crunch’s silly hat and dance moves!

Elmore

Elmore By Holly Hobbie

Elmore is a porcupine desperate to make friends. But it is hard to seek closeness with others when you’re covered with spikes that shoot off your back every so often. Elmore suffers rejection and heartbreak, but the goodness of his forest community ultimately shines through as the animals find a way to connect with this prickly bundle of love.

How to Be a Lion

How to Be a Lion By Ed Vere

In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a . . . duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world . . .

Ernestine's Milky Way

Ernestine's Milky Way By Kerry Madden-Lunsford; illustrated by Emily Sutton

An empowering picture book set in the 1940s about a determined five-year-old girl who embarks on a journey to deliver milk to her neighbors in the holler.

Every morning, Ernestine shouts out her window to the Great Smoky Mountains, "I'm five years old and a big girl!" When Mama asks Ernestine--who helps with chores around the farm while Papa is away at war--to carry two mason jars filled with milk to their neighbor, Ernestine isn't sure she can do it. After all, she'd need to walk through thickets of crabapple and blackberry by the creek, not to mention past vines of climbing bittersweet. But Ernestine is five years old and a big girl, so off she sets. Along the way, one mason jar slips from her arms and rolls down the mountainside into the river, and Ernestine is sure it's lost forever . . . until her neighbor's son shows up with a muddy jar--and there's a surprise inside! With tons of flavor and a can-do spirit, here is a celebration of American history and a plucky girl who knows that helping a family in need is worth the trouble.