Parenting

35 Children's Books That Teach Empathy And Kindness

These stories feature messages of compassion, acceptance and inclusion.

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Parents today are very concerned about raising kids who will be forces for good in the world. There are many ways to teach children empathy and understanding, and one very simple yet powerful approach is through books.

Countless children’s books offer beautiful lessons about friendship, acceptance, kindness and compassion. We’ve rounded up a sample of 35. Keep scrolling for a selection of diverse books that feature messages of empathy and kindness.

"Last Stop on Market Street"
This Newbery Medal-winning book follows a boy and his grandmother as they witness beauty, kindness and joy on the bus. (Available here)
"Those Shoes"
"Those Shoes" tells a story of generosity and selflessness in the midst of peer pressure. (Available here)
"You, Me and Empathy"
This book aims to help kids develop skills like empathy and understanding through its compassionate main character.(Available here)
"Most People"
"Most People" reminds kids that, although there are many scary events and images in the world, there are also countless examples of goodness. (Available here)
"The Invisible Boy"
It's common to feel left out, but this story highlights the power of friendship and inclusion. (Available here)
"Come With Me"
This book follows a little girl's quest to make the world a better place. (Available here)
"All Are Welcome"
This book celebrates different cultures around the world and educates kids about various traditions and customs. (Available here)
"Little Blue Truck"
The first in a series by the same title, "Little Blue Truck" is all about unlikely friendships and the beauty of helping others. (Available here)
"Be Kind"
The protagonist of this story tries to follow her mother's advice to "be kind" and learns what compassion in action looks like. (Available here)
"Save Me a Seat"
Joe and Ravi may come from different backgrounds, but they find they have more in common than they'd thought and forge a friendship based on understanding and acceptance. (Available here)
"Chocolate Milk, Por Favor! Celebrating Diversity With Empathy"
Chocolate milk becomes a symbol to tell the story of a boy's friendship with a new classmate who doesn't speak English. (Available here)
"If You Plant a Seed"
This whimsical story uses the bond between a rabbit and a mouse to show the power of being thoughtful. (Available here)
"One"
"One" uses different colors to share powerful messages about empathy, bullying, feelings and more. (Available here)
"We're All Wonders"
This book from the author of "Wonder" introduces younger readers to his famous character, Auggie, and his desire for acceptance. (Available here)
"I Am Enough"
"I Am Enough" offers lessons about accepting yourself -- as well as others. (Available here)
"Enemy Pie"
This book offers a sweet message about the right way to treat our "enemies" -- with kindness. (Available here)
"Lovely"
This book showcases the many ways we can be different and the fact that each one of us is "lovely." (Available here)
"A Sick Day for Amos McGee"
This award-winning book shows the value of selflessness and caring for one another. (Available here)
"Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
In this book, you can "fill a bucket" with acts of love and kindness and find real happiness in the process. (Available here)
"Each Kindness"
"Each Kindness" presents anti-bullying messages and highlights the power of even the smallest actions. (Available here)
"I Am Human"
"I Am Human" shares a message about understanding and accepting our imperfections and loving our flawed selves and peers. (Available here)
"Superheroes Club"
The heroes of this story strive to find different awesome ways to help others and show that kindness may be the best superpower. (Available here)
"I Walk With Vanessa"
In this story, readers see that small acts of kindness can inspire whole communities and make a huge difference. (Available here)
"The Monster Who Lost His Mean"
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As the title suggests, this book shows it's never too late to choose acceptance, inclusion and empathy. (Available here)
"The Rabbit Listened"
When things go wrong, the protagonist of this story learns that others can offer comfort -- even just by listening. (Available here)
"Otis and the Scarecrow"
"Otis and the Scarecrow" includes messages about standing up for people and showing compassion. (Available here)
"Lost and Found Cat"
Based on a true story, "Lost and Found Cat" focuses on the beauty of strangers helping strangers. (Available here)
"Hey, Little Ant"
"Hey, Little Aunt" forces readers to consider the feelings of others. (Available here)
"How Kind!"
Giving and receiving are central to this tale about the appeal of kindness. (Available here)
"Pass It On"
This book is all about spreading positivity in your everyday life. (Available here)
"Listening With My Heart"
"Listening With My Heart" focuses on self-compassion and love, which help foster empathy and kindness. (Available here)
"The Story of Ferdinand"
Now an animated film, "The Story of Ferdinand" is a sweet tale about a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight. (Available here)
"Empathy Is My Superpower!"
With her parents' guidance, the main character learns to recognize emotions in others and discovers the power of compassion. (Available here)
"Just Feel"
This upcoming book from the daughter of Deepak Chopra helps kids learn to understand and navigate their own emotions -- and thus cultivate empathy. (Available here)
"Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler"
This book tells the story of a kindergarten class that discovers the value of being nice and doing good deeds. (Available here)