How to Teach Children The Power of Giving Using Books

 There's a million and one things to think about when it comes to raising your kids. Jenny from knows that as parents, teaching them to be well-rounded and generous individuals is always at the forefront of our minds. While your child may not yet be ready to understand some the deeper issues of the world, it's never too early, or late, to start learning the importance of helping others.

How Books Can Help
Children need to learn through example. A great place to start is by modeling charitable behavior yourself. The next best thing is modeling that behavior through storytelling. This is where children's story books can be an excellent tool to promote curiosity and discussion about generosity. Children often see themselves in the characters of the books they read. Through this association, and coupled with the bright illustrations, their minds are opened up to understanding new concepts. 
Make It a Team Effort
You can get the most out of using books by either reading the story to your child or, if they are old enough, having them read it to you. This will give you the chance to pause during the story and ask questions such as "How is this character being generous?" If possible, try relating the story to your life. If your child is struggling to share, point out how the main character is going through the same thing. Make sure to discuss how the problem is resolved in the book, and how your child might mirror that same behavior. Creating a conversation around the book will get your child to start thinking about the power of giving which will push them to complete their own acts of kindness.
Five Classics to Get You Started
There are many wonderful children’s books available on the topic of giving, differing in both age range and interests. You are sure to find one that’s a great fit for your child. Here are a few of my favorites. 
  1. The Mine-O-Saur (best suited for the 4- to 8-year-old dinosaur fanatics), is a story about a school-aged dinosaur who doesn’t know how to share. His behavior leads the other dinosaurs to shun him, and the Mine-O-Saur’s loneliness forces him to change his ways. The Mine-O-Saur teaches its young readers not only the consequences of being selfish but the reward for sharing. 
  2. In Julia Donaldson’s The Spiffiest Giant in Town, George, the giant, upgrades his scruffy attire when he buys himself a new outfit. However, George’s new look doesn’t last long. When he runs into animals that need his help, he quickly gives up the clothes on his own back to help, leaving him a scruffy giant once again. Written for the 3- to 8-year-old range, The Spiffiest Giant in Town teaches that selflessness goes hand in hand with kindness. 
  3. Shel Silverstein’s classic children’s book, The Giving Tree, is an apple tree that selflessly gives to a boy throughout his life. The tree provides shade to protect the boy from the sun, branches to help the man build a house, and when she’s left with all but a stump, she gives that to the old man to sit upon. The Giving Tree’s simple illustrations and simpler message of selflessness make it a perfect choice for children of all ages. 
  4. The Giving Book, by Ellen Sabin, is a bit different from the previous choices in that it’s an activity book. This book uses activities to teach children about giving and to start them on their philanthropic journey. The Giving Book is a great option for your 6- to 11-year-old looking to actively work on their generosity. 
  5. Emily Pearson’s first children’s book, Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, is about how a young girl’s ordinary act can have an extraordinary effect. Mary collects blueberries for her neighbor, who in turn, bakes muffins for five other people, one of who goes on to do another deed for another group of five people. This young girl’s ordinary act sets off a chain reaction of good deeds. Best suited for the 4- to 8-year-old range, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed teaches children that no act of kindness is too small.
In the end, the process of teaching kids about the power of giving is a lifelong commitment that requires your actions to be aligned with your intentions. Try to find a way to inspire your children to be more generous each day, whether it be a real life example or the storytelling of a good book.
About Jenny
Jenny is just another mom trying to do her best. She is an avid reader and has used books to get her , parenting and more. When she's not sharing a good book with her kids, you can find her writing parent tips and buyer's guides on and .

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