Ah, sharing! One of the major concepts a young child has to learn, and something that (let’s admit it!) even adults sometimes struggle with. Here are some great picture books about sharing to help your little ones understand this fundamental idea and why it is so important. For even more ideas, check out these ideas to teach kids about generosity.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Feathers for Peacock from Wisdom Tales Press; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.
Picture Books about Sharing
Feathers for Peacock is another wonderful tale from one of our favorite authors, Jacqueline Jules. Ever wonder why peacocks have such gorgeous feathers? In this beautiful story, the peacock gains his feathers because of the kindness of the other birds. Back in those days, when the world was still new, birds did not have feathers, until the moon took pity on them. But Peacock did not hear the news and so missed getting his feathers! When the other birds see his plight, they all pitch in to help give Peacock feathers of his own. While this is an original story, it has the style and simple truths of a classic folktale.
My preschooler never tires of reading Feast for 10, a counting tale for young readers about a family preparing for a special dinner. My son loves mapping this family onto our own, pointing out the mom, the dad, and the baby, and deciding which of the boys is him and which is his older brother. Great book to show a loving family working together to make a meal everyone can enjoy.
You can’t go wrong with an Elephant and Piggie book, so I was so happy to see that there was one on sharing. In Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Gerald is about to enjoy a nice cold ice cream cone on a hot day, when he suddenly thinks of his friend and wonders if Piggie would want to share the ice cream with him. He goes through all the classic stages of sharing angst, including rationalization, guilt, and the secret thrill of enjoying a treat in secret. In the end, however, his love for his friend wins out – but he has taken so long to make up his mind that his ice cream has melted! It is only then that he realizes the power of friendship, as Piggie comes to save the day.
Mine! Mine! Mine! is a really cute book about a girl who is (kinda, sorta) trying to learn about sharing. Little Gale really does not want to share with her cousin Claire, but with her mom’s gentle direction, she begins to start her journey to becoming a “sharing superstar.” This book is quite funny, though I wonder if the littlest readers will get the joke as Gale keeps missing the mark about sharing with her cousin. Older kids, though, will find it hilarious. And there are several things that this book does really well that are often missed in picture books about sharing: 1) the mom leads by example and gives Gale practical tips, such as, you share your nice things, not your broken toys (oops, Gale!) and 2) it recognizes that learning to share is a process, and little ones won’t get there overnight, and that’s okay.
George doesn’t want anyone to come into his cardboard box “house.” Each time another child tries, he turns them away, saying this house isn’t for them – not for kids with glasses, or twins, or small kids, etc. It isn’t until he himself is excluded from the house (I love the illustration of him hurrying to his apartment for a much needed bathroom break!) that George realizes that the toy house is for everyone. Aside from the message about sharing, This is Our House is also a sweet picture of diverse urban kids playing together. The book makes a point of not making a point about the diversity of the kids, however. For example, when a South Asian girl tries to tunnel into the house, George says that the house isn’t for kids who like tunnels. Fun book about a situation that kids can relate to from their own playground or neighborhood!
A really fun read aloud book about sharing is One of Each. It has a wonderful bouncy rhyming text reminiscent of Karma Wilson (one of our faves!) Olliver Tolliver has a perfectly ordered home with “just one, only one, simply one, one of each” – from cups to cupboards to fruits. It is all so perfect that he wants someone to admire it; yet when he invites a new friend over to enjoy it with him, he discovers that he has nothing to share with her. Olliver Tolliver discovers that what his perfect home was missing was friends, and that it is also lovely to have enough to share. Great book for introducing the concept of hospitality and the joys of sharing. As an introvert, though, I was perhaps overly sensitive to the message it might be sending that it’s not okay to be alone and enjoy your own company. Still, a fun book about how being with others can also be fun.
Another favorite in our house is The Doorbell Rang. Ma has made cookies, but as more and more friends drop by, each child has fewer and fewer cookies to eat. (Great math practice, too, as kids can figure out how many cookies each child gets each time more friends arrive!) The children are all happy to share, until they each has only one cookie and the doorbell rings again! When the children look at their one cookie each and still decide to answer the door, their generosity is rewarded with a sweet surprise. (Pat Hutchins has another great book about sharing called It’s My Birthday!, all about a little monster learning to share on his special day).
How do you teach yours kids about sharing?