How do you help children know they are important? How do you teach them that they have a voice and that they matter?
One way, of course, is by showing them through story.
One of the biggest lessons children (and their grown-ups) can learn is the importance of the power of one. One person, no matter how tiny, can make a huge impact on the world. With that in mind, here are (about) a dozen books that celebrate the power of one.
A Dozen Books that Celebrate the Power of One
Horton Hears a Who! By Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’s classic book follows Horton as he stands up for the tiniest creatures, the Whos of Who-ville, living on a speck of dust. This timeless story emphasizes the power of one person to speak out for what’s right.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka
An ordinary girl from an ordinary school does a seemingly ordinary good deed, but in doing so she changes the whole world. This book has inspired real-life acts of kindness all around the world and will leave you inspired to join in.
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
This adaptation beautifully illustrates Aesop’s timeless fable, proving that kindness is never wasted.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse By Charlie Mackesy
The power of one is shown through the power of love and friendship as mutual care, encouragement, and tenderness are shared between these unlikely friends.
Indigo Blume and the Garden City by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by JahSun
The power of one to make a difference in her community is celebrated in Indigo Blume, the story of a girl who plants a rooftop garden and teaches her neighbors how to go green.
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by
This autobiographical account of Malala’s inspiring story helps readers understand that their voice can have a huge impact on the world, just as Malala’s did. As a girl she dreamed of having a magic pencil that could help people, but she learned that her voice and her actions could make a difference, even without the magic she longed for.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
The power of one is celebrated in Charlotte’s Web through the power of friendship. Loyalty, love, and selfless acts of kindness change the course of Wilbur’s life, and the book teaches us that friendship is invaluable: “’You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’”
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
Brian is a boy whom no one ever seems to notice – seemingly invisible. The illustrations help show how Brian feels, beginning as the only gray-and-white character and transforming to a colorful boy, full of life, thanks to the kindness of a friend.
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
In a busy, bustling city, a young boy notices a hurt pigeon and works to nurse him back to health. The beautiful illustrations guide readers through this story of compassion and empathy and show the power of one person stopping to make a difference. Minimal text gives wonderful opportunities for meaningful conversations as you read together.
Lend a Hand by John Frank, illustrated by London Ladd
This collection of fourteen poems celebrates the power of one small act of kindness making a huge impact on the people around you.
And, even though it goes against my British inborn modesty, I’m going to share three of my own—I hope you’ll forgive me…
Hats Off to Mr. Pockles by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by David Litchfield
This picture book celebrates the power of one by illustrating kindness and friendship, showing how a small act of kindness to someone different than you can make a difference in their lives.
Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
This completely true made-up story celebrates the power of one to change a tiny corner of the world. It tells the very true story of one man, Brad, who brought joy to a little corner of NYC.
Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jen Corace
We couldn’t leave out Baby Wren, so here’s a baker’s dozen! Baby Wren celebrates the power of using one’s voice and one’s gifts to bring beauty into the world, no matter how small you are.
So in this new year, let’s remember the power of one. Each of us has the power to truly change the world. And children, too: no matter how small.
Like Edward Everett Hale said:
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something
What is your song of beauty for the world?