Picture Books that Teach Young Kids About Sharing

Anyone who lives or works with young kids knows that sharing is one of the most difficult concepts for children to grasp. I'm a firm believer in something that sounds high faultin', but is really straightforward -- bibliotherapy. Simply put, kids see themselves and their difficulties in books, and by reading them or being read to, come to learn that they are not alone, and possibly even how to cope. 

I've put together a list of picture books that help kids not just understand the benefits of sharing, but learn that it is a difficult concept for just about everyone. Check these out to encourage generosity and compassion, but also so your kids can take comfort in knowing that the difficulty of sharing is a universal emotion!


Jonathan & Martha by Petr Horácek

ages 2-5

This adorable picture book, from well-known Czech-British author Petr Horácek, features a pair of worms who meet while trying to devour the same pear. After fighting over it, they become entangled, and have to learn to work together to survive. They end up happily ever after. I love Horace's bold collage illustrations, and I'm all about international picture books. Check this one out!

ou Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You by Daniel Kirk

ages 2-5

In this very new picture book, Monkey gets really upset when Dog runs away with Monkey's ball. Monkey gets super angry and decides he won't play with Dog ever again. Then Monkey starts to discover just how boring it is to play ball alone. I really like the simplicity of this story, which makes it perfect for really young kids.

Rabbit's Gift by George Shannon and Laura Dronzek

ages 3-6

I'm all about folklore, and I love when it's simple enough to share with very young children. Rabbit's Gift, taken from an ancient Chinese folktale, is a pay-it-forward story for the preschool and very early elementary set. Rabbit sets out to collect food for winter, only to discover one more turnip than he needs. He leaves it at Donkey's door, but it turns out that Donkey has more than enough, as well. The sharing chain goes on until the turnip ends up with its original owner. A lovely story about winter, sharing, and generosity, with some Chinese calligraphy that pays homage to the tale's culture of origin.

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

ages 3-6

You're probably already familiar with the bestselling How Do Dinosaurs ...? series that Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have collaborated on for many years now. Yolen is a poet, and her command of verse is evident in the lyrical text, as well as her talent for humor. Teague's cartoonish illustrations make the disastrous dinosaurs even funnier. Little ones can have fun reading, while sharing is reinforced in the story's message.

Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney

ages 2-5

Anna Dewdney's got such a good thing going with Llama Llama and his friend Nelly Gnu. Her talent for verse, bright, engaging artwork, and capturing preschool life is spot on. In this story, Llama and Nelly are introduced only to engage in a tug-of-war over Llama's prized lovey. All's well that ends well, though, and the two become fast friends.

One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl and Tom Lichtenheld

I absolutely adore this new book, which works on so many levels. It's a math story, a tongue-twister, and a book about sharing! Read my full review here; don't miss out on One Big Pair of Underwear!

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

ages 2-6

I have a soft spot in my heart for Gerald the elephant, most likely because I can relate to his status as a major worrywart. In this outing, Gerald agonizes over whether or not to share his ice cream cone with his BFF Piggie, and we all know what happens to an ice cream cone held tightly at room temperature too long. Another hilarious outing from Willems in a series of very beginning readers that is purely genius.

Gossie by Olivier Dunrea

ages 2-4

This endearing series was a favorite of my son's when he was a toddler and preschooler. Gossie is a tiny gosling with lots of spunk and she negotiates friendship (and sharing) with Gertie, another of her kind. Dunrea's artwork is beautifully simple, as are his very funny storylines, which make this series perfect not just for young toddlers, but for older preschoolers, as well. 

The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner

ages 3-6

This is a sweet, but not saccharine, tale of a kind bear who makes friends with a raccoon and mouse in pursuit of the same lovely "delicious, sun-kissed, soft-as-cotton-candy" fruit growing on a tree. Rayner's art is whimsical and striking all at once, and the story is delightful.

It's Mine! by Leo Lionni

ages 3-6

If you're a Gen-Xer like me, you might remember the late Dutch artist Leo Lionni from your childhood book adventures. In this sweet title, three frogs bicker about who owns anything and everything (sounds like my kids) until some bad weather and a helpful toad help them change their perspective. Lionni's captivating illustrations are perfect for young audiences, and the language is simple and accessible. A wonderful read-aloud, too!

Find even more picture book titles about sharing here:

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