Current Issue
14 Cows for America photo courtesy Peachtree Publishers; I Have a Balloon photo courtesy Simon & Schuster; Rice From Heaven photo courtesy Bonnier Publishing; All For Me and None For All photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Bear Has a Story to Tell photo courtesy Macmillan; One Big Pair of Underwear photo courtesy Simon & Schuster; Background Source: iStock

Books That Demonstrate Sharing

Local librarians and book experts recommend these 28 books for kids.

When my daughter was one and a half, if she saw another child who appeared to be encroaching on her territory, she’d say, “no!” even if the child was yards away and barely within earshot. It was clear that she was afraid the other child would take the toy or book she was playing with, even if it wasn’t true. One day in the library, I saw another little girl do the exact same thing, followed shortly by a scream of “mine!” from another child across the library. Sharing can be tough to teach the little ones, for sure, but there is no shortage of ways to share the message with your child.

14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy; illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
(Peachtree Publishers, 2009)

Nine months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Maasai people in western Kenya shared something with Americans that they believed would be of great value in the wake of the tragedy—a gift of 14 cows. “We in the U.S. think of ourselves as giving much to other countries, and we really don’t hold the experience of others giving to the United States,” says Barb Langridge, library children’s instructor and research specialist, and creator of the website A Book and a Hug, who recommended the book. 14 Cows for America offers that perspective.

Bear Has a Story To Tell

by Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Erin E. Stead
(A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, 2012)

“There is more to sharing than giving someone a piece of cake or a turn with your remote control,” says Langridge. “There is the all-important gift of sharing your time with someone and sharing yourself with someone else, especially when they need you to be there for them.” This concept is demonstrated in Bear Has a Story To Tell, as Bear searches for friends who will listen to—and have time to—hear his story.

All For Me and None For All

by Helen Lester; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012)

Gruntly hogs everything for himself, and his friends get fed up with his greediness. When a scavenger hunt promises treasure, Gruntly jumps in with his usual attitude, but in his hastiness to find it, he misunderstands the clues and is last to get to the treasure. His heart starts to change when he realizes there is still a bag of treasure waiting for him at the end—none of his friends had hogged it all, even though they reached the treasure first.

One Big Pair of Underwear

by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
(Beach Lane Books, 2014)

Kids will have fun counting, rhyming, and laughing at silly animals riding scooters and playing hockey, all while learning to share. It starts with two brown bears that have one pair of underwear and hate to share, and moves on to 10 tall twisty playground slides with 20 pigs that want a ride. When the bears see that the pigs can have fun while sharing, all the other animals try sharing, too.

Rice from Heaven

by Tina Cho; illustrated by Keum Jin Song
(Little Bee Books, 2018)

Based on a true story, this book tells the story of a young girl called Yoori from South Korea who wants to share her food with the starving people of North Korea. Members of her community dare not cross the border, but instead use special balloons that carry rice over the border to feed the North Koreans. Though many people protest sharing their food, Yoori doesn’t back down.

I Have a Balloon

by Ariel Bernstein; illustrated by Scott Magoon
(A Paula Wiseman Book, 2017)

Printed on the book’s jacket flap is a spoiler alert: “This is NOT a book about sharing.” When Monkey sees Owl’s big red balloon, he suddenly wants nothing else in the world, and is willing to trade anything to get it. Owl doesn’t want to trade, until he sees Monkey’s sock—the one with a star and a perfectly shaped hole. Suddenly, Monkey sees the value in what he already has when Owl wants it, too. In a wordless conclusion, kids will see how not sharing can lead to the ridiculousness of always wanting what others have.

Librarians and book experts also recommend:

Family Food

Newsletter Signup

Your weekly guide to Mile High family fun. Colorado Parent has a newsletter for every parent. Sign Up