7 Children's Books About Being a Good Neighbour

A saying from the Jewish text Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Ancestors) teaches, “Let your neighbour’s property be as dear to you as your own.” It’s comforting to know that your community is looking out for you. Being neighbourly may mean offering to pick up something at the store for someone sick or frail, or helping a family who leaves town by taking in their mail, or feeding their cat. The books in this list feature beautiful examples of community building and being a good neighbour.

Related: How We Choose Books

Bagels from Benny

Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

While working in his grandfather’s bakery, Benny learns the joys of giving and receiving, caring and gratitude.

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street by Ann Redisch Stampler

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

Mrs. Spiegel loves her two cats, but it’s clear that her grouchy neighbor, Mr. Modiano, doesn’t share her warm feelings. Should we be surprised that, when one of the cats goes missing, it is Mr. Modiano who searches the streets of Tel Aviv to find her?

The Cholent Brigade

The Cholent Brigade by Michael Herman

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Monty Nudelman is a neighbourhood mensch — every time it snows, he's out there shoveling the walks for all his neighbors. But one day, his back gives out! What do you think his neighbors do?

The Forever Garden

The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyde

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

Honey takes care of her garden every day — even though she's going to be moving away soon. Laurel, her neighbor next door, knows she's going to miss her. But Honey explains to her that friendship, like her garden, has a way of growing — despite time and distance.

Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles

Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles by David A. Adler

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

Sara and her family are getting ready for Hanukkah — which means delicious foods, including cookies! But then she notices one man who doesn’t seem to eat much at all, let alone Hanukkah treats. Sara decides to try and help.

Mrs. Katz and Tush

Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco

Recommended for ages 7 and up

A long-lasting friendship develops between Larnel, a young African-American, and Mrs. Katz, a lonely Jewish widow, when Larnel presents Mrs. Katz with a scrawny kitten.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Every day, zookeeper Amos McGee rides the bus to the zoo, where he plays chess with the elephant, races the tortoise, and reads stories to the owl. But one day he feels too sick to go to work, so his animal friends hop on the bus to visit him — performing the mitzvah of bikur cholim, visiting the sick. Before long, Amos will feel healthy as a horse.

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