10 Books to Inspire Simplicity & Generosity in Kids

Are there gifts you can give that are either clutter free or inspire simplicity and generosity?

Kicking off a series of posts on clutter free or minimalist inspired gifts with 10 Books to Inspire Simplicity & Generosity in Kids. Want to discuss big topics like consumerism, minimalism and materialism with a five year-old? These books are a gentle entry into why less can be better.

I must give a big thank you to all of you that have left comments about your favorite books in this niche. I had no idea there were so many authors out there tackling such a big topic in fun and entertaining ways.

10 Books to Inspire Simplicity & Generosity

The Perfectly Orderly House by Ellen Kindt Mackenzie Recommended by the wonderful Frugal Babe.

An old woman builds a house with twenty-six rooms and keeps all her possessions in alphabetical order, but she still can’t find anything. Wonderful detailed illustrations and a story about the perils of wanting, and having, too much stuff.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk . . . and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older, he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave. Published 50 years ago and still a favorite today.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

A quiltmaker helps a selfish king learn that giving is the true secret to happiness. The heartwarming, strongly moral tale supports important values, and the detailed illustrations, featuring dozens of lovingly rendered quilt patterns offer hours of delight. This is a beautiful book we received as a gift from family and I would recommend it for children three and up. Sometimes we read it ‘parent edited’ style and just talk about the pictures and patterns. Big thumbs up.

Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Spencer has too many toys! His father trips over them, his mother falls over them, and the house is overflowing with junk. Now its time to give some of the mountain of goodies away, but Spencer finds it hard. In the end, he fills a box, but decides the one toy he can’t part with is the box!

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick Mcdonnell

 What can Mooch the cat give Earl the dog when Earl has everything? The answer, of course, is nothing.

Little Bird by Germano Zullo

Some days are different.
One could almost believe that one day is just like another.
But some have something a little more.
Nothing much.
Just a small thing.
Most of the time we don’t notice these things.
Because the little things are not made to be noticed.
They are there to be discovered.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLeod

A book about the reward of positive actions. Not a book about simplifying but a book about finding happiness and reward in serving and helping others.

More by I.C. Springman

This innovative and spare picture book asks the question: When is MORE more than enough? Can a team of well-intentioned mice save their friend from hoarding too much stuff? With breathtaking illustrations from the award-winning Brian Lies, this book about conservation wraps an important message in a beautiful package

Stuff by Margie Palantini

Edward has a lot of Stuff—too much Stuff. Soon the Stuff takes over his house. But will Edward agree to part with his Stuff before it’s too late?

These books would make wonderful gifts for the young people in your life or be a great addition to your library reading list.

More posts to come with ideas for clutter free gift giving and how to broach the “let’s stop giving gifts” topic with friends and family.

Note: I have included affiliate links in this post. Should you purchase something through the link I would receive a small advertising fee. If you would prefer not to use an affiliate link simply go to Amazon.com and search the title of the book.

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  • This is great! I just ordered berenstein bears Trouble with Things to help communicate these ideas to my littles.

  • Thanks for this! I’m always looking for good book for my daycare kids. Have you read “Pumpkins: A Story of a Field” by Mary Lyn Ray? Another great one for inspiring generosity and simply living.

  • We have ‘The Present’ – also titled ‘The Gift’ outside of the UK. That’s worth a read.
    I only read ‘The Giving Tree’ for the first time last year. Knew nothing about it, it was part of a book containing short stories. I surprised myself by crying at the end. The kids were quite bewildered!

  • I must check these books out…they look great. I love books which promote wonderful values to children.

  • Thanks for the recommendations! I put some on hold at our library. We love YUCK! Waste for the environmental message about having too much.

  • On another site i read there were mentions by some bloggers that they feel comments are down. And I promised myself that I would take today to thank all the bloggers I read every day and appreciate so very much.

    You are one of the ones on my daily check in list, so THANK YOU for all your efforts to share your world and ideas.

  • Love this list! There are some titles here that I will have to hunt down at our local library. I just discovered The Giving Tree last week and read it to my four year old. The book did bring tears to my eyes. My son’s reaction was ever so cute, though. He went around the house telling his siblings (all three of them) that the tree had nothing left! He kept exclaiming look! All it has is a stump! The boy took EVERYTHING! It’s a stump! I just posted about how difficult it is to find good books at the library and shared our favourite picture books.

  • If you don’t mind a Christian themed book the The Little Gate by Nick Butterworth is a short simple one too.

    Love the blog btw.

  • I know this post is a bit old but I had to comment to add a book I just love: “The Short but Incredibly Happy Life of Riley” by Australian writer Colin Thompson. It’s about a rat named Riley and why he’s happier than people. Basically it’s about being content, and it’s very funny. A picture book but I used it as a youth worker with teenagers and they loved it :)

  • Have you read Simplicity Parenting? I am surprised its not more known in the minimalist community. I personally love the book cause its focuses on simplifying the environment, routine, events and one other topic I cant remember.. lol…

    Great book

    • Jen – It’s one of my favorite parenting books. I recommend it here all the time. Didn’t get a mention here because I was focused on picture and story books for kids. Cheers, Rachel

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