Valuable Lessons Hidden in Great Kids’ Books

Browse this list of books that teach children valuable lessons including equality and respect.

We reached out to librarians for recommendations on books they feel promote some of the values all parents want for their children. Here are picks from Rebecca Stout, youth librarian at Berkley Public Library, and the staff at the Royal Oak Public Library Youth Services Department, to get you started on building your home library or reading list. Youth librarians are always a great place to start when searching.

Equality

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

A boy and his elephant are excluded from Pet Club, so he starts his own club where all are welcome.

An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

This board book introduces complicated concepts of equality to the youngest of children

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

This picture book empowers kids and their grown-ups to express themselves in every color of the rainbow.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

An 11-year-old and his grandmother take readers through American race relations of the past and present.

Respect

Quit Calling Me a Monster by Jory John

The creature narrating this book does not appreciate being called a monster.

The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio

A dispute over sandwich choices threatens to end the friendship of two best friends.

Millionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnulty

After two friends “borrow” $20 from a lost wallet, the billionaire owner challenges them to spend $5 million dollars to learn life lessons about money.

Compromise

Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates by Cheryl Klein

Two very different hamsters find a way to live together.

That’s Mine by Sumana Seeboruth

Toddlers will recognize wanting everything and friends.

Yasmin the Friend by Saadia Faruqi

Friends learn to compromise to make everyone happy.

Justice

Nye, Sand and Stones by Bree Galbraith

One girl dares to question the thought that it is “just the way it is.”

Baby Loves Political Science Justice by Ruth Spiro

A funny introduction to the judicial branch of government and how justice is served.

We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch

This picture book helps start conversations about disability, accessibility, social justice and community building.

When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura

This story about generosity and friendship navigates issues of race and social justice.

Gratitude 

Apple Cake by Dawn Casey

A girl thanks all who played a role in making it possible for her to bake an apple cake.

Thank You, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

In this board book, animal friends learn it’s the thought that counts when receiving presents.

We Give Thanks by Cynthia Rylant

A rabbit and a frog cook up a way to show everyone their gratitude.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Three children, separated by continents and decades, embark on harrowing journeys.

Kindness

Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Children discover that a little kindness goes a long way.

All Kinds of Kindness by Judy Carey Nevin

Each scene in this board book shares that kindness makes our world a better place.

K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi

A cast of animal characters illustrates the many ways to show kindness to others.

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Regan Barnhill

A fantasy book about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when they disappear.

Patience

Bear Can’t Wait by Karma Wilson

Bear is throwing a surprise party for his friend Hare, but has a hard time waiting for it.

Wait by Antoinette Portis

Moms who are always in a hurry will enjoy this story of compromise.


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