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Finding inspiration

13 books that spark kindness and community-building


Whether it’s a shared meal, a random act of kindness or a great conversation, inspiration can find you anywhere. These 13 picks include fiction, non-fiction, picture books and cookbooks, but they all offer a way to think about how you can make a difference.

  1.  A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
  2. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
  3. The Good Neighbor Cookbook: 125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Surprise and Satisfy the New Moms, New Neighbors, Recuperating Friends, Community-meeting Members, Book Club Cohorts, and Block Party Pals in Your Life by Sara Quessenberry
  4. Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts by Orly Wahba
  5. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau
  6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  7. The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard by Kristin Schell
  8. The One-Day House by Julia Durango
  9. Volunteer: A Traveler’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World by Charlotte Hindle
  10. Can We Help? Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities by George Ancona
  11. Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook by LaManda Joy
  12. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba
  13. Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard

Send your questions or feedback to or post in the comments below.


Love this list Jen! Some picture books I would also recommend are: Love by Matt de la Pena, Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein, The Last Stop on Market Street also by Matt de la Pena, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts, and You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith.