Getting kids involved in their community early on is so important. And these Community Service Books will encourage your kids and help them understand how they can participate.
Community service is more than a simple act — it’s a complete mindset we should teach our children early. It helps them recognize that they are part of a larger community (yes, there is a world outside of them!), and that it’s important to be a participant and giver to that community.
We talk a lot about giving back to our communities in our house. We don’t actually use the term “community service” but no matter what you label it, giving back improves the lives of those around us as well as ourselves.
This week I’m joining up with some fellow bloggers to create a rounded study unit about community service and those who serve our communities. You can find these community service books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.
Books that Encourage Community Service in Kids
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed: It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others―one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage―one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people―including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries―and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.
The Invisible Boy: Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids: This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love by “filling buckets.” Updated and revised, this 10th anniversary edition will help readers better understand that “bucket dipping” is a negative behavior, not a permanent label. It also explains that it’s possible to fill or dip into our own buckets.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler: When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she’s got a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach a new golden rule. Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom! From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference. Count along with Mrs. Ruler’s class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?
The Mitten Tree: One snowy day an elderly woman, Sarah, watches children gathering at the bus stop. While they never seem to notice her, she notices them, especially one little boy who has no mittens. That night, Sarah knits the boy a pair of cozy mittens and places them on the blue spruce tree for him to discover. It soon becomes a game, with the children looking for new mittens on the mysterious tree every morning, and Sarah joyfully knitting new ones each night. With its touching message and delightful illustrations, adults and children will enjoy this intergenerational tale for years to come.
Community Service Books for Kids and Teens
When your kids get older, reading picture books just isn’t going to cut it! It’s time to come up with real-world ideas to get them involved in community service projects. These books will help you guide your child into a life-long love of community service.
The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving: This spiral-bound, book combines colorful illustrations and entertaining narrative with fun learning activities, inspiring youngsters to give back to the world.
The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference: This new edition of Free Spirit’s best-selling youth service guide includes a refreshed “Ten Steps to Successful Service Projects” plus hundreds of up-to-date ideas for projects—from simple to large-scale. At a time when U.S. President Barack Obama has called for increased participation in community service, this revitalized book is sure to find a whole new audience of eager young change-makers.
The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action: This project-based guide is a blueprint for service learning—from getting started to assessing the experience—and integrates the K–12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. It provides ideas for incorporating literacy into service learning and suggestions for creating a culture of service. An award-winning treasury of activities, ideas, annotated book recommendations, author interviews, and expert essays—all presented within a curricular context and organized by theme. Digital Content contains all of the planning and tracking forms from the book plus bonus service learning plans, and more.
Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World: Eleven-year-old Tilly saved lives in Thailand by warning people that a tsunami was coming. Fifteen-year-old Malika fought against segregation in her Alabama town. Ten-year-old Jean-Dominic won a battle against pesticides—and the cancer they caused in his body. Six-year-old Ryan raised $800,000 to drill water wells in Africa. And twelve-year-old Haruka invented a new environmentally friendly way to scoop dog poop. With the right role models, any child can be a hero. Thirty true stories profile kids who used their heads, their hearts, their courage, and sometimes their stubbornness to help others and do extraordinary things. As young readers meet these boys and girls from around the world, they may wonder, “What kind of hero lives inside of me?”
How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Home, Community, and World – at No Cost!: Want to help make your community, your town–your world–a better place, but don’t know where to begin? How To Be An Everyday Philanthropist shows you the way. A handbook, a resource guide, a call to action, and an inspiration, it offers 330 concrete, direct ideas for making a difference–all of which have nothing to do with the size of your checkbook and everything to do with using the hidden assets that are already a part of your life. Whether you’re shopping, working, exercising, or surfing the Web, there are hundreds of ways to slip small but deeply meaningful acts of philanthropy into your life, using over 600 of the most innovative and effective charitable organizations around.
Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools, and Communities: Doing Good Together answers the growing demand for family volunteerism with hands-on service projects focused on easing poverty, promoting literacy, supporting the troops, helping the environment, and more. Each of the 101 self-contained projects provides time requirements, materials list, step-by-step instructions, debriefing questions, recommended books for kids and teens, and ideas for extending the activity. Digital content includes the book’s 45 reproducible forms.
Like these community service books? Find even more engaging book lists for kids with more than 100 book-themed reading lists!
Community Service STUDY UNIT
In addition to offering recommendations of community service books for kids and teens, I’ve teamed up with some fellow bloggers to offer you homeschool and in-class resources to teach kids about community service! Some of these resources may contain affiliate links.
- Community Helper Writing Journal Prompts
- Community Helpers Literacy
- Community Helpers Math
- My Community STEM Challenges for Block Center
For further Community Service Study Unit ideas, consider the following links:
- Community Helpers Letter Find Worksheets from 3 Boys and a Dog
- Spanish Community Helpers Printable Pack from Look! We’re Learning!
- Teaching Children to Appreciate Community Helpers from Crafty Mama in ME
- How Kids Can Help In The Community from Play Dough & Popsicles
- Fire Station Tour from Something 2 Offer
- Community Helpers in the UK from Tales of Education at Home
- Community Helpers Graphing Game from Simple Fun for Kids
- Community Helper Learning Toys from Brain Power Boy
- Community Helper SuDoKu from Royal Baloo
- Community Helper Game from Schooling a Monkey