We can all agree that the world needs more kindness! I believe that the very best way to teach students how to be kind is by modeling kindness yourself. What better way to show students what it means to be kind?
Another powerful tool to start discussions about kindness is using mentor texts. There are amazing picture books that show the importance of kindness and have examples and non-examples of kindness.
Check out the list below for some of my favorite mentor texts for teaching kindness!
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This is one of my absolute favorite books about kindness! I usually read it around Valentine’s Day since a heart shaped box is part of the story, but it would work equally well at any time of the year. The story is about a man named Mr. Hatch, who leads a quiet, rather dull life. Mr. Hatch thinks he is alone until one day he receives a life changing note that says “Somebody loves you”. That single note makes his life changed for the better. Warning… Get your Kleenex ready for this one!
This classic story centers around Wanda Petronski, a young schoolgirl who is bullied for wearing the same faded dress every day. She claims she has 100 beautiful dresses at home, but no one believes her. When Wanda is pulled out of school suddenly one day all the kids feel awful, but it’s too late. A classmate, Maddie, reflects on her own role as a bystander and what she wishes she would have done differently.
Brian never gets much attention from the other kids at school. When a new student arrives, Max makes him feel welcome and included. The two team up to work on a school project, and Max finally gets the attention he’s been hoping for. This is a great book to highlight the importance of including everyone, especially the quieter students whose needs tend to get overlooked.
Chloe and the other girls don’t want to be friends with Maya, the new girl at school. Whenever she asks to play, they always say no. When Maya is gone one day, Chloe realizes she should have shown Maya some kindness.
Champs is a boy who is great at baseball and loves potato chips. A new boy named Walter joins the team, and Champ isn’t sure what to think of him at first. When Champs ends up with a broken leg, Walter shows him what it means to be a true friend.
Mrs. Katz is an elderly Jewish woman, and Larnel Moore is her neighbor. They are both concerned about Tush, an abandoned cat, and work together to care for him. Through this shared effort, their friendship grows and they each share and learn about the suffering and triumphs of their people.
Stick and Stone are two loveable but lonely characters. The two form a strong friendship when Stick stands up for Stone against the bully, Pinecone. The charming illustrations in this book are an added bonus!
This beautifully written book is a reminder that, despite all of the terrible things that happen in our world, there are also a lot of good, caring people in the world doing kind things. It’s a wonderful reminder to be thankful for these good people!
This story is all about the different ways in which children can be kind, from standing up to a bully to inviting the new girl to play. It’s a great reminder that each kind act (big or small) can be meaningful for someone.
Talk about tugging at the heartstrings! A lonely farmer puts up a scarecrow, and slowly gives it a head, face, and clothing. Eventually, he starts talking to it and then playing checkers with it. When a real-life boy shows up one early evening, the farmer slowly turns his attention from this stand-in friend to a real friend, who can even move his own checker pieces!
If you are looking for more resources on kindness to use in your classroom, take a look at this freebie! In this print and digital Kindness Unit, you will find discussion task cards, a self-reflection quiz, a mentor text list, kindness activities page, a Random Acts of Kindness Journal, a character trait poster, kindness awards, and detailed teacher notes.
Or, take it one step further and check out this complete Character Education Unit, which covers Character Education for the entire year!
Take a look at these posts for even more great ideas for teaching kindness and character education!
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