Good Books about Being Good

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Can reading books make us “good?”  I think maybe it can. Reading provides a window into people’s lives that makes us more empathetic and certainly more open to the views of others.

I was recently asked for a list of children’s books on the topics of kindness and generosity.  There are many books out there—many of them dull and preachy.  However, there are gems as well.  This list is not complete, but they are a good place to start.

Books for Children ages 3-6

Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya by Mary and Rich Chamberlin

Giving by Shirley Hughes

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter

Books for Children ages 7-10

The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine

Brother Juniper by Diane Gibfried

Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

Listen to the Wind by Susan Roth

And the best book of all about generosity and friendship:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

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Don’t Leave Home Without Them…

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charlottes-webAs a teacher and librarian, I am often asked for book suggestions. Recently, a parent of a 6th grade student asked me for a top 10 of sorts—a list of books that most kids should read at some point.

Of course, that is a nearly impossible task. Fortunately, there are lots of different books for lots of different readers. But I did not want her to leave empty handed, so if push comes to shove, here are 10 books no child should miss:

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Giver by Lois Lowry (this one is generally best appreciated by 12 and 13 year olds)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White