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How Can We Be Kind?

Wisdom from the Animal Kingdom

NEW July 5, 2022

Paperback version in UK (March 2023)!

By Janet Halfmann

Illustrated by Darla Okada

Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto

Ages 3-7, NonFiction Picture Book: hardcover, 

Buy at Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, Walmart, Target, and other booksellers


PODCAST: Inspiration and Writing Journey for How Can We Be Kind? —Reading with Your Kids Podcast 


Keystone to Reading Award Nominee 2023-24

2022 Eureka! Nonfiction Award

1st Place Midland Authors


The Story

This special book asks children a simple question: How Can We Be Kind? The answer is: by learning from the animals. Animals show kindness and empathy toward each other, and care and compassion can be seen throughout the natural world.


This book shows children the ways they can be kind just like animals, while at the same time learning about the magic and the beauty of the natural world. Like animals, children can be welcoming like capybaras, who let other animals sit on top of them. Or like elephants they can wait for those that aren't as fast, or like zebras they can stick up for their friends.


This sweet and thoughtful book is both a celebration of the animal world and an invitation for being kind in everyday life. Back matter has facts about how each animal lives with and looks after its fellow creatures.

My Inspiration

I was inspired to write this story to add positive ways to look at the world. Since nature can be so calming and restoring, I spotlighted the positive ways animals react to one another as examples for all of us to follow.   

Educational Connections

empathy, compassion, caring, kindness, animal interactions, capybaras, European badgers, jackdaws, ants and bees, African elephants, prairie dogs, orangutans, blue manakins, white pelicans, emus, zebras, banded mongooses, dolphins, chimpanzees

A "Meet the Animals" section at the back of the book has facts about how each animal lives with and looks after its fellow creatures.

Resources, plus a review. —Katie Fischer, For the Love of Books, Old and New

Resources, plus an interview and review. —Maria Marshall: The Picture Book Buzz


Janet talks about her inspiration and writing journey, plus a review of How Can We Be Kind? —Maria Marshall: The Picture Book Buzz


"The text and images combine with little-hand-friendly trim size to make this a direct and delightful nonfiction favorite among the youngest set, but one that has potential for becoming an individual's memorable treasure, or to spark eager exploration of animals and their behaviors. Even in a single read, it will generate a deep-seated sense of how to be KIND. Always. Every day." —Sandy Brehl, Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

"Everyone can be kind and you will find that it is very easy to do. Within these pages, young readers will learn how to be kind just like the animals. Colorful illustrations invite readers to see and learn about all of the animals depicted here in their natural habitats." —Kristi's Book Nook

"A fabulous book to teach children the importance of learning kindness from the natural world around us." —Discover Animals


"Beginning with a wonderfully diverse image of kids and adults, this book asks . . . How can we be kind? Then using an interesting concept, Janet Halfmann and Darla Okada highlight ways that kids (and adults) can emulate animals in caring about each other. For instance, being inclusive (or welcoming) like the easy going capybara—who lets most any animal hang out with (or on) them. Or by working as a team (like bees, ants, and pelicans), sharing (like jaddaws), and thinking of others . . ." 

—Maria Marshall: The Picture Book Buzz

"Young readers learn about how different animals behave as well as get ideas about how to be kind themselves. The illustrations are full of color and activity." —Wrapped in Foil


"From badgers to prairie dogs, and from ants to zebras, Halfmann's charming book shares wisdom from our animal friends and how they can teach us to be kind. The story is followed up by facts regarding the animals featured . . . What a special treasure this book is!" —The Children's and Teen's Book Connection


"This lovely picture book is a sweet reminder that kindness is all around us as the book's featured animals show positive behaviors in a variety of natural settings. Children and adults will learn new things about animal traits from the primary text along with more specifics offered in the information at the end of the book." —Valerie Biel, author of the award-winning Circle of Nine series 



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