This month's Idea Nest is about inspiring kindness. I feel like I spend so much time on the little habits, like making beds and cleaning up breakfast dishes, that we haven't spent much time on character building habits, like kindness. We are about a week into read living books to inspire kindness, noticing opportunities to be kind, and singing, "What a Friend We Have In Jesus." Last night, my four-year-old gave up his seat for me at the dinner table, saying, "I know that you don't like to sit on the bench, Mommy, so I want you to have my seat." I think the inspiration is working.
Finding books about kindness that aren't hyper-moralized or that don't have a political agenda is kind of a challenge. In February's Idea Nest, I included books that show positive sibling relationships, friendships, and acts of kindness. I've expanded that list a bit in this post.
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Winnie The Pooh- This lovable bear is known for his simplicity and kindness. He and his friends are good at celebrating, comforting, and being kind to each other. Also, I'm having a little book-envy from this gorgeous version, which was made to replicate the original 1926 edition.
The 100 Dresses- If your child is ready for chapter books (beyond the non-continuous stories of Winnie-the-Pooh!) , this is a sweet and timeless book about a girl who is ruthlessly teased for her limited wardrobe. After she leaves the school, the children start to realize their mistakes. Miss H read this on her own this year, and was so inspired by it.
The Betsy-Tacy Teasury- Betsy and Tacy are such inseparable friends that they are often referred to as "Betsy-Tacy." There imaginations run wild (which some people view as magic, if that is something that you avoid) and their classic childhood tales of friendship are sweet and entertaining.
Corduroy- Corduroy is a bear who wants a home, but instead waits on a shelf to be purchased. He looks a little run down with his lost button, but finally, he finds a friend who will accept him as he is.
Finding Winnie- If you enjoy Winnie-The-Pooh, then Finding Winnie is a must read. We have checked this book out so many times from the library that I finally broke down and bought it!We love that it goes into the history of the real Winnie-The-Pooh, and all of the compassion that was shown to the sweet little bear is heartwarming. At first, it's a little bit confusing because it's a story within a story. A child interrupts the storyteller several times, which can be hard for young children to follow.
Maple and Willow Together- I don't know how a book can simultaneously be so simple and so endearing, but it must be a sign of good writing. Maple and Willow are siblings that love nature and each other. They have conflicts and sweetly work them out, they share outdoor adventures, and everyday life together. I will say that unless your children are very young, this is probably one to get from the library rather than purchasing it. I think a three or four year old would enjoy hearing it over and over again, and while Miss H still enjoys it, one reading is enough! We've read the other Maple books, and those are also very sweet.
Valentine Bears- If you're looking for a Valentine's day book, this one is so sweet! Eve Bunting and Jan Brett make an amazing team! Mrs. Bear plans to interrupt her winter slumber to celebrate Valentine's Day with Mr. Bear, but will he keep on sleeping?
Extra Yarn- I think we've read this book a dozen times since getting it at the library! A little girl brightens her dreary world by knitting colorful sweaters for those around her...but her supply of yarn never runs out. I love how this book doesn't tie up all the loose threads- you have to think about it, which leads to great conversations!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee- This sweet story is whimsically and beautifully illustrated! Amos's animal friends at the zoo count on him for daily visits, but when he is sick, they visit him instead.
A Chair For My Mother- This book is one that has had a big impact on Miss H. A Family loses everything in a fire, and the community comes together to support them. The hard-working mother needs a chair to rest her tired feet at the end of a long day, so her daughter helps her get it.
Cranberry Valentine- The "Cranberry" books are some of the sweetest holiday books around. They aren't too cheesy, and each book has a recipe at the end.
I hope that these books inspire kindness in your home like they have in ours!