Books That Teach Empathy

We all know that empathy is a vital skill for our little ones to develop as they grow up. It helps them connect with others, understand different perspectives, and ultimately become compassionate human beings. But how do we teach empathy effectively?

Well, one fantastic way is through the magical world of books! In this article, we’ve put together a collection of books that teach empathy that will not only entertain your kids but also teach them how to walk in someone else’s shoes.

So, grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and let’s dive into these heartwarming stories that will surely inspire empathy in your young readers.

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Best Kid’s Books for Empathy

Books have an incredible power to transport us into the lives of others, allowing us to experience their emotions and see the world through their eyes.

When we share these stories with our children, we open up a window for them to explore diverse perspectives and situations they may not encounter in their daily lives.

Connect With Characters

By engaging with characters who face challenges, overcome obstacles, and navigate complex relationships, kids can develop a deeper understanding of the feelings and experiences of those around them.

As they turn each page, they’re not just enjoying a captivating tale, but also learning valuable lessons about empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence.

So, let’s make reading a regular part of their routine and nurture their empathetic growth with these transformative stories.

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Books That Teach Empathy

We’ve carefully curated a list of enchanting books that will take your children on an emotional journey, fostering empathy along the way.

Featuring relatable characters from all walks of life, these stories tackle themes like friendship, courage, and understanding, leaving a lasting impact on young hearts and minds.

So without further ado, let’s dive into these captivating reads that promise to spark meaningful conversations and inspire your little ones to become more empathetic individuals! 

The Rabbit Listened

When something sad happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer.

The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either.

One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives.

All the rabbit does is listen . . . which is just what Taylor needs.

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him.

Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe.She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade.

But Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground.

One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard.

And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference.

Last Stop on Market Street

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby.

Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town?

Each question is met with an encouraging answer from Grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

How To Be a Lion

In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a . . . duck.

Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals.

Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world . . .

How To Help a Friend

This hopeful picture book touts empathy and friendship. It’s normal to feel sad sometimes, but our friends can be the best antidote.

Karl Newson’s simple text and Clara Anganuzzi’s heartwarming illustrations present the perfect example of how being a good friend means learning how to support and listen to those we care about most.

We’re All Wonders

Over 15 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. 

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations.

Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. 

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are.

It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

I Forgive Alex

Alex’s enthusiasm and energy can sometimes be a challenge for his classmates. He loves to play ball on the playground with his friends, but when his rambunctious behavior inadvertently upsets one of the other students, he finds himself at odds with the whole class.

This wordless picture book is a good reminder that it’s important to take responsibility for a mistake but that it’s equally important to be ready to forgive.

You, Me, and Empathy

This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations, and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy.

Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion, and kindness towards others.

Showing empathy towards others is a learned trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care.

I Am Human

Being human means we are full of possibility. We learn we dream, and we wonder about the world around us. But we also make mistakes and can feel fearful or sad.

When we find common ground, we can feel connected to the great world around us and mindfully strive to be our best selves.

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Sharing Empathy Through Reading

In conclusion, these heartwarming picture books offer a beautiful and engaging way to teach empathy to our little ones.

By sharing these stories with your children, you’re not only nurturing their love for reading but also instilling the importance of understanding and compassion in their growing minds.

Remember, empathy is a skill that can be cultivated, and these books provide the perfect starting point for meaningful conversations and lessons about kindness and respect for others.

So go ahead, pick up one (or more!) of these delightful reads, snuggle up with your child, and embark on an unforgettable journey of empathy and self-discovery.

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