As all the other leaves float off and fly past, Little Yellow Leaf thinks, I’m not ready yet. As the seasons change all around, Little Yellow Leaf holds on to the tree. Still not ready. Will Little Yellow Leaf ever be ready? This is a story about facing the unknown—and about friends who help us take the leap. It is not specifically about the process of dying, but provides a beautiful setup for discussing the process a terminally ill parent or grandparent might go through, and a good jumping off point for talking about facing that unknown.
SEL Home » Resources with tag: kindness
Why schools and families need to talk about relationships, caring, and consent as part of a comprehensive approach to sex ed
One of the autism community’s most beloved books. Brims with insight, compassion and spirited humor as it takes a timeless, succinct, and informative look at ten characteristics that help illuminate—not define—children with autism.
Full of illustrations, humor and easy-to-understand explanations of important social rules that may not be so obvious to a child on the spectrum. The book was named the Autism Society America 2014 Temple Grandin Outstanding Book of the Year and made the Autism/ASP Digest Top Books list.
Socially awkward Dwight shows up to school one morning waving a green finger puppet. Strange enough, but then Dwight starts talking in a funny voice and doling out advice. Is it the puppet, or is it Dwight? And will paper Yoda be able to help Dwight convince the girl of his dreams to go to the big dance with him? Dwight, who “animates” origami Yoda, is a quirky, self-accepting and unique kid. He is viewed as “weird” by most of the other kids, but his self possession and helpful nature gradually endear him to a circle of friends. A positive messages of acceptance, friendship, and being yourself. The author’s self-stated superpower is Aspergers.
Kate Gaynor’s “A Friend Like Simon” serves as a helpful introduction to autism for neurotypical peers or siblings. This is the story about an autistic child who joins a “typical” classroom and faces a number of challenges. Young readers will learn how to be mindful of and patient with their autistic peers, while also learning about the many ways an autistic child can contribute to a friendship and community.
Izzy is a fun and feisty first grader who is often misunderstood because of her seemingly odd behavior. This vibrantly illustrated book tells the story of how Izzy attempts to cope with sensory overload in surroundings that are new to her, while simultaneously promoting the acceptance of peers with sensory modulation difficulties.
A picture book with a difference, Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap turns the tables on common depictions of neurological difference by drolly revealing how people who are not on the autistic spectrum are perceived by those who are. The autistic narrator’s bafflement at his neurotypical friend’s quirks shows that ‘normal’ is simply a matter of perspective.
Every December a 321 teacher gives her students $1 and tells them they have to come up with create ways to spread as much kindness with $1 as possible (without combining funds). Examples of things students have done: Turned the $1 into 100 pennies and put them near a fountain with a sign to make a holiday wish, buy a poster board and make a sign offering to carry groceries, buy a poster and make a sign collecting money for a homeless man, collecting $40, presenting it to him and hugging him when he hugged her, cut pine branches off a tree, bought a $1 bow and made a wreath leaving it anonymously on a neighbor’s door, another student donated the dollar to a charity, but emailed his parents’ contact list saying that he did it and hoped that would also donate (I think the charity ended up getting $400), the list goes on and on. Why not do a $1 act of kindness every month?
Willard uses the sciences of genetics, behavior, neuroscience, psychology, and social contagions to explain how kindness leads to happiness, and happiness leads to creativity and finding new perspectives and opportunities. (13:35 minutes)
“A sweetness in the images and the text elevates the book from sheer simplicity to usefulness in providing behavioral role models.” —Kirkus Reviews
I Am Kind follows a little girl who sees kindness all around her. The little girl realizes that she, too, has the power to be kind, and that even small actions can have a big impact.
Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him.
“Peace is an Offering is an exceptional book with beautiful illustrations and a meaningful message that appeals to preschool through second grade level students. The book captivated students’ interests and inspired open-hearted discussions that led to deeper project work. Students readily responded by talking about family, friends, walking away from conflict, acts of kindness, gratitude, and how to maintain a peaceful feeling. We read several books aloud to students, and Peace is an Offering received immediate comments from students about the illustrations and how much they like the book overall. This book should be in every lower grade level classroom.” Makes a mention of 9/11.
More than ever before, our world needs more goodness…more kindness… more caring…more courage…more YOU in it. But, what can one do? Here’s the answer: Throughout your life there’s a voice that only you can hear. It’s a call to make a difference that only you can make. If you never hear it, something magical will be lost. But if you hear it and heed it, your life will become a wonderful romance and adventure. The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. The place you are in needs you today. Your spark can become a flame and change everything. Instead of asking, “What can I get from life?” this book challenges and guides you to answer the question, “What can I give?”
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.
Miller explores the topic of kindness through the story of a child pondering how to respond when a friend spills grape juice on herself. In the language of a child’s thoughts, Miller provides examples of kindness (giving, helping, paying attention), and acknowledges that it is not always easy to be kind, especially when others aren’t.
A celebration of the world’s diverse cultures, both our similarities and differences. Fox’s message is that no matter where we come from, within our hearts, “Joys are the same, / and love is the same. / Pain is the same, / and blood is the same.”
“…a beautiful book with a beautiful message…the book shows young children how easy it is to be kind through small acts and in simple ways…” ―R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder
Parable about mercy and empathy that asks readers to look at life from an insect’s point of view
This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love by “filling buckets.”
This book for young readers is based on the premise that each of us has an imaginary bucket that can be filled or emptied by the behavior or actions of the people around us. The message is that we should all strive to act in ways that fill another person’s bucket, as opposed to emptying his/her bucket.
Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, How Full Is Your Bucket? shows how even the smallest interactions we have with others every day profoundly affect our relationships, productivity, health and longevity. This is a version for young readers.
A small boy, not allowed to have a dog because times are tight, finds a starving kitten in a trash can on the same day his father loses his job.
Auggie & Me is a new side to the Wonder story: three new chapters from three different characters: bully Julian, oldest friend Christopher and classmate Charlotte
A picture book by the author of Wonder, that explains for young readers how someone can look different but feel completely normal and how it feels to look different and have people stare at you. The message is “Look with kindness and you will always find wonder.”
These are books about marginalized characters or characters facing difficult challenges who respond with courage. If Wonder helped your reader develop more empathy, these books will help build on their interest.
Used at PS 321 and many schools, the Peace Path is a framework for addressing a myriad of interpersonal conflicts such as feeling left out of a group, having problems sharing or taking turns, physical altercations, or other words or actions that lead to hurt feelings.
Thoughtful picture book about a young Korean girl on her first day of school. Beautiful, expressive illustrations show how a considerate teacher and even a new friend help Sumi discover that school might not be so lonely after all.
Whether we’ve been the subject of a rumor or the one spreading a rumor about someone else, most of us have been involved with rumors somehow. But how many people really stop to think about the damaging effects? Cook brings this serious subject to light in an entertaining and funny, but cautionary, tale about the importance of NOT starting or spreading rumors. Told through the eyes of the rumor marble, the story describes how a simple misunderstanding starts a chain reaction that can’t be undone.
Mmm, Yoko’s mom has packed her favorite for lunch today-sushi! But her classmates don’t think it looks quite so yummy. “Ick!” says one of the Franks. “It’s seaweed!” They’re not even impressed by her red bean ice cream dessert. Of course, Mrs. Jenkins has a plan that might solve Yoko’s problem. But will it work with the other children in class?
A funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance.
Cliques Just Don’t Make Cents is a book that helps kids understand the emotional toll that cliques can have on those who are excluded from popular social groups. It also teaches children how to build better relationships.
Every adult that desires to help children understand the differences between unnecessary tattling and the necessity of warning others about important matters needs this book! Are you trying to help a friend or get them in trouble?
Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together.
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes. Jeremy soon sees that the things he has—warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend—are worth more than the things he wants.
After a little boy and his tiny elephant are barred from the Pet Club, they befriend other children with unusual pets. In this sunny, smart, tongue-in-cheek tale, friendships are born out of mutual respect for the idiosyncratic choices of others. The first odd couple we meet consists of the story’s young narrator and the baby elephant he improbably takes with him everywhere, regardless of the challenges that doing so poses in a not always welcoming world.
“[A] poetic reckoning of the importance of love in a child’s life . . . eloquent and moving.”—People Magazine “Everything that can be called love — from shared joy to comfort in the darkness — is gathered in the pages of this reassuring, refreshingly honest picture book.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice / Staff Picks From the Book Review
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
“Readers will chime in with the ‘hip, hip hooray’ this cuddly-looking creature earns when he finally embraces and celebrates his differences.” —Kirkus
The girl in this story sees it happening, but she would never do these mean things herself. Then one day something happens that shows her that being a silent bystander isn’t enough. Will she take some steps on her own to help another kid? Could it be as simple as sitting on the bus with the girl no one has befriended (and discovering that she has a great sense of humor)? Resources at the end of the book will help parents and children talk about teasing and bullying and find ways to stop it at school. One child at a time can help change a school.
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal.
Ideal for sparking conversations about tolerance, the need for compromise, and fear of the unknown.
This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
Shows kids how easy it is to develop empathy toward those around them. Empathy is the ability to notice what other people feel. Empathy leads to the social skills and personal relationships which make our lives rich and beautiful, and it is something we can help our children learn.
A fresh and original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, and parents and teachers will appreciate the story’s deft handling of conflict resolution, which happens without adult intervention.
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
A great middle school book on bullying. Jensen is a little overweight and spends a lot of time fantasizing about becoming an astronaut (even though he’s failing math). He’s an ordinary kid who tries too hard to belong. Kids sniff out that neediness and then it’s open season. Jensen triumphs not because he loses weight, or becomes an athlete or a brilliant student. He finds his own place in the Middle School Jungle, through maturity of thought, while staying his own dreamy self.
A boldly illustrated picture book read-aloud about how everyone gets sad—ninjas, wrestlers, knights, superheroes, everyone . . . even daddies have emotions!
If you drop just one soda can out the window, it’s no big deal … right? But what if everybody did that? Using humorous illustrations rendered in mixed media, these questions are answered in a child-friendly way and show the consequences of thoughtless behavior.
A story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem…and yourself.
A terrific graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends―and why it’s worth the journey. Real Friends tackles bullying, childhood anxiety, and growing pains in a heartfelt way but also shows us the incredible kindness and solidarity that girls can and do display.
The 2019 5th grade students on our No Place for Hate committee documented some classroom practices that promote kindness and inclusion at PS 321 so that parents and teachers might learn about some of the ways we are teaching the whole child here at 321. Have a look!