Children’s Books about Kindness - Top Picks from the Creativity School

It’s no secret that we love children’s books at Creativity School. 

After all, it was started by an author/illustrator (Arree) and a librarian (Hydi) and many of our award-winning authors and illustrator friends have joined us along the way.

If you’re a part of our Creativity School, you’ve seen us use children’s books written by our instructors or with our all-time favorites to tie into our art lessons.

And with our focus on sharing creative kindness this February, books have played a special role in the lessons.

Table of Contents

Learn more about creative kindness at Creativity School!

Tap into your social and emotional superpowers through fostering creative kindness!

Learn from award-winning artists as we give away free LIVE art classes from the Creativity School. 

Create fun crafts like collages, animations, pop up cards, and much more!

The importance of reading children’s books

Side view of a little girl reading a picture book.

Numerous studies have shown that reading children’s books play a significant role in our kid’s development. 

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. It helps them build empathy, kindness, and understanding.

Pictures of two toddlers running towards each other to give warm hugs.
Image screenshots courtesy of Michael Cisneros viral Facebook post, “Finnegan + Maxwell= BESTIES!!!”

2. They learn to respect people and their cultures, religions, and lifestyles.

Back view of six kids to show respect and diversity.
Image courtesy of FlashPop/Getty Images

3. They are taught about animals and plants and how special they are in this circle of life.

Side view of a sitting happy boy with his pet dog.
Image courtesy of Rocio Preciado/REX, Credit: AP

4. They learn how to step outside of themselves.

A young and proud girl of color wearing a superhero costume.
Image courtesy of Raw Pixel/Shutterstock

William Chopik, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, shared this thought.

“Fiction and stories do a lot of things for us. They expose us to uncomfortable ideas…and provide us with the opportunity to take other peoples’ perspectives in a safe, distanced way. In that way, Fiction serves as a playground for exercising empathic skills.”

Books provide a starting place to break through stigmas and biases. 

An Italian study showed that children who read Harry Potter were less likely to feel discrimination towards other people and more likely to develop a broader social mindset.

Now that school and public libraries are opening in larger numbers, we’d like to share a list of our “must-have” children’s books!

Top Children’s Books that Creativity School Recommends

Reading and being creative together are some of the best ways to connect with your kids.

We use books to inspire children’s artwork at Creativity School. It’s such a fascinating way to expand their worldview and spark all kinds of creativity and kindness. 

Here are some of the books on our list.

Written by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

This picture book won the Jane Addams Peace Award, Charlotte Zolotow Award, Best Book of 2012, and was recognized as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for its powerful message about the importance of sharing kindness with everyone.

“This is what kindness does, Ms. Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.”

Written by Trudy Ludwig
Illustrated by Patrice Barton

A great book that educates how small acts of kindness can help shy and quiet children feel included and allow them to shine.

“Justin I thought the bulgogi looked good. Brian”

Written and Illustrated by Salina Yoon

A heartwarming picture book of self-acceptance, courage, and unbreakable friendship for anyone who felt “different”.

“Some children liked to climb a tree. Dennis was HAPPY to be a tree. But even trees get LONELY sometimes.”

Written by Matt de la Pena
Illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is a powerful storybook about the judgments we make about others and trying to see other points of view.

“Maybe you can’t really know anyone just by looking at their face.”

Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal Award, this magical wordless picture book is about a child who sets out for a walk and discovers a wolf pup separated from its pack. It highlights the power of kindness and bravery.


Written and Illustrated by Brian Lies

A nice book with charming and colorful visuals. A beautiful story about love, grief, recovery, and new beginnings.

“A good place won’t stay empty for long. Something must grow.”

Written and Illustrated by The Fan Brothers 
(a.k.a. Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan)

An adorable picture book about Barnabus, a half mouse, half elephant creature, and other “failed projects” who lives in a secret lab under the “Perfect Pets”. This will surely teach you lessons about embracing individual differences and that being perfect perfection really means being true to yourself and the people around you.

“The lab was where they made perfect pets. Except Barnabus wasn't quite perfect. He had been put in a part of the lab called… “Failed Projects”.“

Written by Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

This is a charming picture book that teaches children to be empathetic and caring towards others without expecting anything in return.

“I have dreams about those shoes. Black high-tops. Two white stripes.”

Written and Illustrated by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

A simple book with cute illustrations about 14 different life wishes. It captures the essence of parenthood and being an inspiration to someone.

“I wish you more pause than fast-forward.” 

Written by Michael Wong
Illustrated by Ann Baratashvili

It is an empowering and inclusive children’s book for parents, grandparents, loved ones, and teachers who have inspirational wishes for their children for a deserved, happy, fulfilled, and meaningful life.

“I wish you kindness and generosity, for no act of kindness is ever wasted, no matter how small.” 

Written by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart
Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

A fun book that teaches children how to be themselves, stick up for others, work hard, and share other good attributes.

“Purple laughing helps us remember the things we share and forget what we thought made us different. And it’s almost impossible to be angry when you are laughing. Try it! I dare you!”

12. Enemy Pie

Book cover of Enemy Pie by Derek Munson.

Written by Derek Munson
Illustrated by Tara Calahan King

This wonderful book is great for kiddos who are switching to reading longer books. It teaches the values of kindness, courtesy, respect, and friendship.The book has fun illustrations that young readers will surely be interested in.

“Dad understood stuff like enemies. He told me when he was my age, he had enemies, too.But he knew of a way to get rid of them. I asked him to tell me how.”

Bonus: Instructors Books

The teachers of our Creativity School themselves are also award-winning authors and illustrators!

Keep reading to know more about their books!

Mixed: A Colorful Story

Written and Illustrated by Arree Chung

A close-up photo of Arree Chung smiling.
Book cover of Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung.

Arree Chung is an award winning children’s book author, illustrator, international speaker and founder of the Creativity School and Storyteller Academy.

Mixed: A Colorful Story won the 2019 Federation of Children's Book Groups (FCBG) award for best children's book in the United Kingdom.

It is an awesome book that helps children understand why diversity – not only of color, but also culture, ability, faith, gender, sexuality, among others – helps communities to thrive and grow.

“In the beginning, there were three colours: Reds, Yellows, and Blues.”

Just Like Me: Poetry

Written and Illustrated by Vanessa Brentley-Newton

A close-up photo of Vanessa Newton smiling
Book cover of Just Like Me by Vanessa Newton.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is an award-winning artist who teaches making beautiful collages and the art of singing at the Creativity School.

Vanessa celebrates self-love and embraces all cultures through her works, and wants to inspire young artists to find their own ways to express themselves.

Just Like Me is a collection of 28 beautiful poetry about girls of all kinds. It also features charming collage-style illustrations that go seamlessly with the lines of the poems.

All in Together Girls

How do you like American girls? Every culture, every race, every color, every face. We all belong to the human race, If we view each other with amazing grace, our America would be such a great place.”

Written and Illustrated by Vanessa Newton

This lovely picture book tells a story of an African-American little girl and her sweet grandma. It also features adorable illustrations about how magical grandma's purse is!

“I keep all kinds of things in my purse. You never know what you’ll want to have with you.”

This is NOT a Valentine

Written by Carter Higgins
Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

A close-up photo of Carter Higgins smiling
Book cover of This is NOT a Valentine by Carter Higgins.

Carter Higgins is an Emmy-winning visual effects and motion graphics artist and author of  popular picture books like This Is Not a Valentine, Everything You Need for a Treehouse, and Bikes for Sale.

She shares her love for art by teaching snip and stick collages to our young artists at the Creativity School!

This is NOT a Valentine is an adorable picture book that teaches you a timely message of friendship, and the ability to listen to make your friends happy. The bright and dynamic artwork beautifully shows that relationships need to be mutually respectful and caring.

Catching Kisses

Written by Amy Gibson
Illustrated by Maria van Lieshout

A close-up photo of Maria van Lieshout smiling.
Book cover of Catching Kisses illustrated by Maria van Lieshout.

Maria van Lieshout is a known illustrator and author of picture books for kids. 

With her deep fascination with colors, she loves and enjoys teaching watercolor painting, design, and collages to our young artists at the Creativity School.

Catching Kisses is a lovely and heartwarming storybook that describes different types of kisses and their power to define love and friendship. 

“At any given moment/someone, somewhere is blowing a kiss. And somewhere/ someone/ is catching it.”

Beautiful Hands

Written by Kathryn Otoshi and Bret Baumgartner 
Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi

A close-up photo of Kathryn Otoshi smiling.
Book cover of Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otoshi and Bret Baumgartner.

Kathryn Otoshi is a multi-award winning author/illustrator who is known for her character-building book series, “Zero“, “One“, and “Two“. 

She teaches different techniques in making colorful and meaningful pop up cards at the Creativity School.

Beautiful Hands, a co-authored children’s book with Bret Baumgarten, is a lovely masterpiece that reminds kids to use their hands to do and share positivity to each other and to the communities.

“What will your beautiful hands do today?”

Niko Draws a Feeling

Written by Bob Raczka
Illustrated by Simone Shin

A photo of Simone Shin holding her picture book, Niko Draws a Feeling.
Book cover of Niko Draws a Feeling illustrated by Simone Shin.

Simone Shin is an award-winning children’s book illustrator who loves creating things using fabric and cardboard – game boards, telephones, doll houses, and so much more!

At the Creativity School, she teaches Sight Words, Draw Pictures (SWDP), alongside Arree Chung.

Niko Draws a Feeling is a sweet book that tells young readers that art is not just about the things that we see; but also about the things we hear, taste, smell, and feel.

“It's the warm of the sun on my face. …It's not the sun. It's the warm. …It's not my face. It's the warm.”

We know there are a lot more amazing books out there.  Let us know which books we should add to our collections in the comment section below.  

Here at Creativity School, we inspire and empower the creators of tomorrow.

Creative Kids Live

“We can tell that Creativity School is having a positive impact on my son’s motivation for school and his overall well-being. We know art and creativity are always boosts for academics and health! This is proving it!!!"
- Celina G.

On Demand Class

“Arree Chung, your class is fantastic! I am sure other parents would agree that Creativity School is more of a FAMILY DEAL! Because I, as a parent who has no drawing experience, learned too.”
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