I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve had a stressful day or the world seems overwhelming, I like to sit down for a while and read a good book.

Books are a great way to escape the humdrum of everyday life and can provide intellectual stimulation, focus, and boost your creative muscles. They’re also the perfect source for inspiring stories of kindness.

If you’re looking to relax and start feeling more optimistic and loving, then check out these 9 must-read books. They range from fiction to non-fiction and everything in between, but they all have one thing in common: they all teach the power of kindness.

Same Kind of Different as Me — Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent

This is one of the most memorable books I’ve read, and I’m sure it will be the same for you. I even cried a couple times while reading it! It’s a beautiful story of friendship and perseverance.

This autobiography is about Denver Moore, an African American man whose life has been filled with struggle from day 1. He ends up in Texas and befriends a wealthy art dealer, Ron Hall, and his family. Their friendship leads Denver to find success as a painter who draws inspiration from his life experiences.

The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is another favorite of mine. This is a book that keeps it’s suspense and emotion no matter how many times you read it. Yes, it’s another tearjerker, but it is also full of hope and beauty.

It’s the story 2 young Afghani friends and heartbreaking separation. Their friendship is torn apart through tragedy and the changes in their country. Even though their relationship becomes severed, their bond lives on forever and eventually leads to an extraordinary tale of redemption and justice. This is a book you won’t want to put down.

Little Bee — Chris Cleave

This New York Times Bestseller shows us the power forgiveness and shows us that we can’t hide from our past. A Nigerian refugee and British career woman and her child develop an inspiring bond that transcends culture and class.

They become each other’s support system in a time of crisis and transition. During their time together, they help each other move forward and finally face their demons.

Three Cups of Tea — Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

This is the autobiography of an avid climber turned humanitarian. Greg Mortenson spent a great deal of his life chasing his own personal passions, but everything changed on his visit to Afghanistan where he began building schools for the children of small villages.

This beautiful story teaches us that we can make extraordinary contributions and overcome any obstacle when we when we truly believe in what we’re doing.

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Kindness of Leading a Compassionate Life — Piero Ferrucci

The Power of Kindness has become a classic, and for good reason. As the title says, this book is all about the powerful effect kindness can have on not just individuals, but the entire world.

This book not only presents kindness as a tool for change and empowerment but also has the research to back it up. The author, Piero Ferrucci is a leading psychotherapist and did a great deal of research and collaboration to complete this. If you’ve ever felt a little skeptical about how kindness can impact the world, then this is definitely the book for you.

Dare to Be Kind — Lizzie Velasquez

Lizzie Velasquez the author of Dare to be Kind is a truly inspirational woman. Lizzie has dealt with her fair share of unkindness due to her rare medical condition. In this book, she talks about the importance of kindness and uses her experiences of being bullied from a young age to inspire others to be more compassionate.

Simple Acts of Kindness: 500+ Ways to Make a Difference — Adams Media

If you’re looking for a book that will motivate you and challenge you then you have to check this one out. It’s full of inspiring kind ideas you can start doing today.

The activities listed in this book have a huge range, from contributing to animal rights to helping out the elderly, there’s something for everyone. Once you start crossing off the activities, you’ll never want to stop!