Here it is again: summer is upon us! That means long days at the pool, hikes to see waterfalls, family vacations, sunburns, and of course: summer reading. The theme for Orem Public Library’s summer reading program this year is “All Together Now.” We want to encourage kindness, community, and working together to make our lives just a bit happier. To get you started, here are some books about kindness in many different forms of expression.
Picture Books About Kindness
How to Dinosaurs Learn to Be Kind?
By Jane Yolen
A sweet addition to Yolen’s series of picture books, this story explores the ways dinosaurs might be mean—and how they can be kind.
Be a Bridge
By Irene Latham
“When you wake up to a world of bad news,” this book begins, “you’ve got a job to do—be a bridge.” The rhyming text and bright illustrations inspire young readers to make connections in their daily lives.
The Day You Begin
By Jacqueline Woodson
This picture book begins by focusing on how a child might feel isolated, through language or customs or family traditions, then illustrates the bravery and reciprocation required to find connections and new relationships.
Junior Books About Kindness
Pay it Forward
By Catherine Ryan Hyde
In his junior-high social studies class, Trevor is given an assignment: come up with a plan to change the world. His idea, to do a good deed for three people and ask them to “pay it forward,” blossoms into something bigger than he ever imagined.
By J. S. Puller
Can kindness change the world—or at least the small part of the world found in a junior high? Or does that require a superhero? And what if said kindness superhero, dressed in a blue wig and red cape, roamed the halls of said junior high? Captain Superlative to the rescue!
Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs
By Laurie Monson
Ivy prides herself on being kind and caring. But when her mother’s pregnancy sparks feelings of anger and resentment, she has to figure out what kindness, love, and friendship really mean.
Young Adult Books About Kindness
By Carrie Firestone
At the start of summer before her senior year, Sadie accidentally rescues a baby from a violent man—and catapults herself into local-hero fame. She meets four other teenagers with similar renown at a community lunch, and they form a friendship based on doing good deeds both big and small. This novel is a bit madcap, a bit hilarious, and entirely focused on respect, kindness, and bravery.
Together at Midnight
By Jennifer Castle
When Kendall and Max witness an accident in New York City during the holidays, they both struggle to understand the impact. They accept a kindness challenge to perform seven acts of kindness for strangers, sparking a journey throughout the city that helps them begin to heal.
I Have Lost My Way
By Gayle Forman
Three teenagers meet by accident in Central Park and, over the course of one day, help each other figure out their necessary choices.
Adult Books About Community
A Psalm for The Wild Built
By Becky Chambers
Centuries ago, the robots of Panga gained awareness and wandered into the wilderness. The remaining humans rebuilt a kinder, safer society. Dex is a tea monk, perhaps the best one in Panga, but although he loves his work he still feels unfulfilled. He sets out into the wilderness in search of crickets—and finds Mosscap, a robot who is returning to civilization to check up on the humans. Their quirky friendship brings many existential questions to light as it illuminates the power that kindness can have in a devastated world.
By Mike Chen
The vampires in this thoughtful novel aren’t terrifying blood-sucking creatures. Just humans trying to survive while taking care of their bodies’ unusual requirements. Louise Chou plays punk rock music in her home studio during the day, works as an after-hours janitor at a hospital (easy access to almost-expired blood), and avoids the rest of the vampire community altogether. But a distant relative unexpectedly shows up at her San Francisco home and draws her back out into the world, where she begins, reluctantly, to discover where she might fit.
The Story of Arthur Truluv
By Elizabeth Berg
Maddy, Arthur, and Lucille—high school student, widower, and master baker—couldn’t be more different, but they form an unlikely friendship anyway. This novel considers how friendships form despite differences and the way that found families can bring just as much companionship and joy as biological ones.
Want more suggestions for books that relate to the summer reading theme? Check out these lists on our library catalog.