Kids' Books That Teach Kindness & Respect

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After the turbulent year we've had, children's book publisher Scholastic says that lessons on kindness will be essential in kids' books in 2017. No doubt spurred on by continued calls for anti-bullying measures and the unnecessary cruelty of our incoming executive administration, lessons on kindness are more important now than ever.

Anti-bullying books are just one of the five trends Scholastic predicts we'll see in picture and chapter books in the coming year. Other heavy-hitters include:

  • Big Book Anniversaries: The Magic School Bus, Goosebumps, Captain Underpants, and Elephant & Piggie are turning 30, 25, 20, and 10 in 2017, a year that also marks Little House author Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th birthday.
  • Fun and Funny Books: Scholastic recommends Mobi Shinobi: Ninja on the Farm by Luke Flowers and Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat, but you should also keep an eye out for B.J. Novak's The Alphabet Book with No Pictures, due out in September 2017.
  • Science and Research Books: This year's news about fake news will cause a bump in nonfiction next year, so grab some LEGO Nonfiction series installments and Fact or Fake? by Alan Zullo to complete your home library.
  • Reinvented Classics: If you loved Fractured Fairy Tales, you're going to love 2017, with Claudia Davila's Super Red Riding Hood, Penny Parker's There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, and Jeffrey Burton's Itsy Bitsy Duckling to look forward to.

Which children's book trends for 2017 are you looking forward to the most? And what are your favorite children's books with lessons on kindness? Let me know on Twitter! But first, check out the 11 recommendations below, courtesy of Scholastic and yours truly.

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'How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends?' by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague's acclaimed series on pertinent issues for young readers continues with it's 10th installment, How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends?, which features life lessons on how to repair relationships after squabbles.

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'Wonder' by R.J. Palacio

R.J. Palacio's Wonder isn't just focused on kindness; it started the Choose Kind movement! The tale of Auggie Pullman is headed to the big screen in 2017, so expect to see this instant-classic everywhere you go.

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'What Does It Mean to Be Kind?' by Rana DiOrio and Stéfane Jorisch

Part of Rana DiOrio's What Does It Mean to Be series, What Does It Mean to Be Kind? shows how a single act of goodness can change an entire community.

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'Hooray for Hat' by Brian Won

An elephant wakes up grumpy, but turns his frown upside down when he finds a neat hat on his front porch, and even decides to spread the kindness around by sharing his hat with his down-in-the-dumps friends.

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'Horton Hears a Who!' by Dr. Seuss

This classic picture book from 1954 taught us all that "a person's a person, no matter how small." Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! is a perfect fit for 2017's kindness trend.

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'Bernice Gets Carried Away' by Hannah E. Harrison

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing seemed to go your way? That's exactly the sort of day Bernice is having. But when her grumpiness turns into selfishness, she must find a way to return to her friend's party and help others have a good time on her way.

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'The Kindness Club Series' by Courtney Sheinmel

After a group project teams up new-kid Chloe, quirky Lucy, and nerdy Theo, the three kids form The Kindness Club to test science with good deeds. But Chloe's also been invited to join the It Girls: her new school's version of The Plastics. Is it possible to be in two cliques at once and remain kind to both?

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'A Chair for My Mother' by Vera B. Williams

2017 marks the 35th anniversary of Vera B. Williams' picture book classic, A Chair for My Mother. After Rosa and her family lose their home in a fire, the girl, her mother, and grandmother all save their spare change to buy a big armchair for their new apartment.

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'Beauty and the Beast' Novelization

Based on the new film starring Emma Watson, the Beauty and the Beast Novelization teaches older readers how patience and kindness can melt the coldest of hearts.

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'Clifford's Good Deeds' by Norman Bridwell

Norman Bridwell's 1975 classic is back in hardcover for 2017. Clifford's Good Deeds is the best book on kindness ever to star a giant dog.

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'Who Are You?' by Brook Pessin-Whedbee and Naomi Bardoff

Subtitled "The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity," this book will help children understand the differences between gender identity, expression, and sex assigned at birth, using age-appropriate language and examples.

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