Here to Help: Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light Tragedy

As we remember the tragic events of October 27, 2018, we continue to believe that sharing books with a focus on kindness and tolerance is one small way to help ourselves and others cope. For that reason, we’re sharing again the recommendations we offered at the time.

Reading about the resolution of minor differences or simple acts of generosity and caring may not feel like much in the face of such distressing violence and hate. But reminding children (and ourselves) that there is still good in the world is never a waste of time. And encouraging inclusion and understanding is the only way we can begin to build a better world together.

The following are titles that our librarians believe will lead to conversations that can help young listeners to understand and respect differences, appreciate the importance of community, and explore their feelings. For age-appropriate books that address loss and grief, please see Here to Help: Books about Death & Grieving.

All Are Welcome

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

All of Us

Simple text and collage illustrations remind the reader that we are stronger together than alone.

Be Kind

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference.

The Big Umbrella

A spacious umbrella welcomes anyone and everyone who needs shelter from the rain.

Challenging Stereotypes and Prejudices

Every person is unique, so assigning characteristics to everyone in a group, regardless of whether it’s by race, religion, gender, or sexual preference, is a fool’s errand. This book helps students put aside stereotypes and prejudices so that they can treat everybody as the individual they are.

Each Kindness

Chloe and her friends shun the new girl, Maya, who eventually stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe realizes how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness towards Maya.


Elmore is a porcupine desperate to make friends but it is hard to seek closeness with others when you’re covered with spikes; however, the goodness of his forest community ultimately shines through as the animals find a way to connect with this prickly bundle of love.

The Forever Tree

When a beloved tree gets sick, the human and animal communities work together to give it a new life.

The Funeral

Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing: Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral. This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us.


Can one little girl transform a neighborhood? With a seed of an idea and helping hands from neighbors, a girl’s dream to clean up an abandoned city lot grows into something much larger. Cynthia Platt’s light prose is brought to life by artst Olivia Holden’s beautiful pastels in this inspiring story of hope and community.

If You Plant a Seed

While planting seeds in their garden, two animals learn the value of kindness.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

Mira lives in a gray and hopeless urban community until a muralist arrives and, along with his paints and brushes, brings color, joy, and togetherness to Mira and her neighbors. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eBook on Hoopla, as eBook in Spanish on Hoopla, as eAudio on Hoopla, as eAudio in Spanish on Hoopla, as video on Hoopla, as video in Spanish on Hoopla, as video with read along on Hoopla or as video with read along in Spanish on Hoopla.

One Good Deed

A young boy transforms his neighborhood by performing one good deed for his neighbor, which leads to a chain of kind and helpful actions.

Perfect Square

A perfect square that is perfectly happy is torn into pieces, punched with holes, crumpled, and otherwise changed but finds in each transformation that it can be something new, and just as happy.

Strictly No Elephants

A boy is excluded from joining his friends’ pet club because of his unusual pet.

What's Intolerance?

Intolerance is a complex issue, but readers are introduced to it in a way that leaves them feeling enlightened and not overwhelmed. Informative, accessible text presents a basic definition of intolerance as well as relatable examples that readers could see in their daily lives and on the news.