14 Books That Show Kids How Critical Compassion Is


Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sorenson Ph.D. (ages 7-12)

Help kids learn about what empathy means and how to apply it in their daily lives along with Emily, who discovers that empathy encourages understanding and compassion.

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox (ages 6-8)

This picture book is a celebration of the world’s cultures, both our similarities and differences, with an underlying message that says: whoever we are and whoever we come from, “Joys are the same, and love is the same.”

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos (ages 5-9)

Paulie Pastrami can’t whistle or tie his shoes but he plans to achieve world peace before he turns eight, teaching kids easy ways to show compassion, and the impact of one person’s kindness.

What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick (ages 3-7)

The flip side of small acts of kindness that go a long way is a story that shows the impact of careless behavior, that we are each part of a wider community, and it is up to all of us to keep it happy and safe.

The Peace Book by Todd Parr (ages 3-7)

Using simple words and bright illustrations, this story explains a big concept in an engaging, easy way. “Peace is…”

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting (ages 6-8)

Farrah is new to school and new to the country, wears a headscarf and doesn’t yet speak English. Feeling alone and overwhelmed, Farrah finds comfort in a class trip to an apple orchard and connects with her classmates when they all learn it takes many different apples to make a sweet cider.

One Smile by Cindy McKinley (ages 4-7)

A tale of how one simple act of kindness can make a very powerful difference.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry (ages 4-7)

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation the lonely pair become fast friends, but when Stick is in trouble can Stone return the favor? A sweet, easy-to-understand story about bullying for young readers.

Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen (ages 3-7)

It can sometimes feel as if we only ever hear about the terrible things that happen, but Good People Everywhere shows people all over the world being kind and doing good work, reminding us that there is so much more good than terrible in the world.

Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth (ages 6-8)

A little girl goes on a quest to find the beauty all around her, even when it’s difficult to see it.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (ages 6-9)

Wanda Petronski is ridiculed mercilessly by her classmates for wearing the same faded dress everyday, and claims to have one hundred dresses at home. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled from school, especially Maddie who decides she will “never stand by and say nothing again,” but it’s too late. A poignant, difficult story about bullying, regret, and the importance of standing up for what’s right.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman (ages 4-8)

Join in an exuberant reflection of the LGBT community that welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and remember a day when we are all united. This Day In June is an excellent tool for teaching respect, acceptance, and understanding.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown (ages 3-5)

Marisol McDonald has nut-brown skin and flaming red hair, likes to bring peanut butter and jelly burritos to lunch, and be a soccer-playing pirate princess at recess. Everyone says Marisol doesn’t match, and that’s just fine with her. A celebration of embracing that which makes us unique.

One Love by Cedella Marley (ages 3-6)

An adaptation of Bob Marley’s joyful song, One Love reminds us of the amazing things that can happen when we all join together with love in our hearts.

image via: Hachette Book Group

One thought on “14 Books That Show Kids How Critical Compassion Is”

  1. A bit late chiming in, but also check out The Spiffiest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson. George the giant is tired of being the scruffiest giant in town so he buys a whole new outfit of spiffy clothes. On his way home, he meets a variety of animals in need of help and joyfully gives away all his new clothes. In the end, he’s back in his old clothes but is quite happy to be the coziest and kindest giant in town instead of the spiffiest. I LOVE this book and read it to my boys all the time.

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