by Michelle Goetzl
The song “Children Will Listen,” by Stephen Sondheim, begins with the verse, “Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see and learn.” Following its lead, there is a wealth of children’s books that help reinforce the value of being kind to others.
“Good People Everywhere” is a soothing book that shows how we are all interconnected. Small deeds that people do everyday reverberate with their impact. “Because Amelia Smiled” also shows how one action sparks off other reactions.
Sticks and stones may break our bones, but in the book “Stick and Stone” they actually stand up for each other. It’s a comical take on the old rhyme that we all grew up hearing and shows kids to stand up for others.
For slightly longer stories, and children willing to listen a little more, “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed” and “Someone Loves You, Mr. Hatch” are both books that shine a light on how being kind makes a huge difference.
Finally, for the older child who is ready to go out and do some good, there are two wonderful books by Bernadette Russell: “Do Nice. Be Kind. Spread Happy,” and “Be the Change. Make it Happen.” In these books, Russell encourages children to be special agents of kindness and change. Each book offers more than 80 ideas of good deeds towards others and the planet.