First Book Picks: Friendship Starts With Kindness

Children mimic what they see in real life, but books are also a great resource to help model important qualities of friendship like kindness, compassion, generosity, and self-esteem. Through stories, children can learn lessons about friends and friendship that can help them to navigate their own relationships.

Thank you to First Book for generously sharing its book recommendations with the Big Heart World community. Eligible teachers can follow the links to find discounted versions of the books on the First Book Marketplace. Parents and other caregivers can find the book at First Book’s Bookshop.org shop.

the kindness book

The Kindness Book

No matter what other people choose to do, you can always choose to be kind — and what a wonderful thing to be! Today's parents and teachers are looking for ways to instill empathy and kindness in children at a young age. This book is the perfect introduction to a timely and timeless topic.
Age Groups: Babies, Little Kids, Toddlers
Skills: friendship, kindness
Author: Todd Parr

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the ways to be kind that are featured in the book?
  • Can you think of other ways to be kind to our friends, family, and community?
  • Can you think of one kind thing that someone did for you today?
  • Can you think of one kind thing that you did for someone else today?

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FirstBook
 
Eligible Teachers: Find it on the First Book Marketplace.
Parents/Caregivers: Find it at First Book's Bookshop.org shop.
ways to welcome

Ways to Welcome

When everyone knows they're welcome, the world is a better place — and you might just make a new friend. This timeless picture book about small acts of kindness in a big world is one that kids and grown-ups will reach for again and again.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship
Author: Linda Ashman and illustrated by Joey Chou

Discussion Questions

  • What are some different types of welcome highlighted in "Ways to Welcome"?
  • Can you remember a time someone welcomed you? What happened? What did it feel like?
  • Can you remember a time you welcomed someone else? What happened? What did it feel like?
  • Let's pretend we're new friends and you can "welcome" me!

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FirstBook
Eligible Teachers: Find it on the First Book Marketplace.
Parents/Caregivers: Find it at First Book's Bookshop.org shop.
Thank you, Omu!

Thank You, Omu!

Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship, Sharing
Author: Oge Mora

Discussion Questions

  • What is Omu cooking in the story?
  • Who does Omu share her red stew with?
  • What happens when the pot is empty?
  • What lesson did you learn from Omu and her community?
  • Can you think of ways to share with and help people in OUR community?

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FirstBook
Eligible Teachers: Find it on the First Book Marketplace.
 
Parents/Caregivers: Find it at First Book's Bookshop.org shop.
We're All Wonders

We're All Wonders

Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of "choosing kind" to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy from Wonder on an original adventure.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship, kindness
Author: R. J. Palacio

Discussion Questions

  • Who are Auggie and Daisy? Describe them and their friendship.
  • What is special about Auggie?
  • What does Auggie want?
  • What does it mean to "choose kind"? How can we make that a practice in our lives?

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FirstBook
Eligible Teachers: Find it on the First Book Marketplace.
Parents/Caregivers: Find it at First Book's Bookshop.org shop.
Jenny Mei is Sad

Jenny Mei is Sad

This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for introducing kids to the complexity of sadness, and to show them that the best way to be a good friend, especially to someone sad, is by being there for the fun, the not-fun, and everything in between.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: Feelings, friendship
Author: Tracy Subisak

Discussion Questions

  • What is Jenny Mei feeling?
  • How can her friend tell what Jenny Mei is feeling?
  • What are some ways friends can help each other?
  • Can you think of a time when a friend helped you or when you helped a friend?

More

FirstBook
Eligible Teachers: Find it on the First Book Marketplace.
 
Parents/Caregivers: Find it at First Book's Bookshop.org shop.

Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income communities in all 50 states and provinces in Canada. First Book currently reaches an average of 5 million children every year and supports more than a third of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. First Book members work in classrooms, after school, and summer or early childhood programs, shelters and health clinics, libraries, community programs, military support programs, and other settings serving a majority of children in need. 

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