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

Children's Services Staff Image

One way to help young children cope in the wake of the tragic synagogue shooting in our community is to share books that focus on kindness and tolerance. 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.


Through the hard work of Kristen Keller, a CLP – Squirrel Hill children’s librarian, and the generosity of a small group of private donors, there is now a collection of books available at CLP – Squirrel Hill for community members to take and keep. The titles have been carefully chosen by librarians, and they span a variety of topics and age groups. We invite you to help yourself to a book that you feel will be beneficial to you and your family. They are yours to keep and/or share—we hope they help.

Support this special community book collection

Donate Today

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 won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Elmore

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.

Grow

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.

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy

A child recognizes his own humanity, his capacity for doing harm and being harmed, his ability to feel joy and sadness, and his belief in hope and promise to keep learning.

I am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

A child starts to get carried away with worry and rushing thoughts before taking a breath, steadying, observing thoughts, feeling kindness, feeling thankful, and experiencing the world.

If You Plant a Seed

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

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.

The Rabbit Listened

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

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.