Empathy Book List- Picture Books
Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Teaching empathy to children is something we encourage often at the library, especially when parents come in looking for books regarding bullying, being kind, and hurt feelings. By finding everyday opportunities to model and teach sympathetic feelings for other people, children will be more likely to show compassion and empathy towards others. By helping children discover what they have in common with others, we can embrace commonalities, but also teach acceptance and inclusiveness when it comes to differences.
Although discussions are also vital, it is more important by what you do, rather than what you say.
Below are some great picture book recommendations that I have rounded up.
Berenstain, Stan The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Teasing A happy-go-lucky, waffle-loving narwhal and a cynical, no-nonsense jellyfish forge an unlikely friendship and share adventures while exploring the ocean together.
Boelts, Maribeth Those Shoes Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.
Choi, Yangsook The Name Jar After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.
Bunting, Eve One Green Apple While on a school field trip to an orchard to make cider, a young immigrant named Farah gains self-confidence when the green apple she picks perfectly complements the other students’ red apples.
Hall, Michael Red : a Crayon’s Story Red’s factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons, and family members, he can’t seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.
Kroll, Virginia L Good Neighbor Nicholas When Nicholas’s injured ankle keeps him from playing soccer, he finds he can better understand the behavior of the neighbor who makes him angry, and learns that he can change his own behavior too.
Myers, Christopher Wings Ikarus Jackson, the new boy in school, is outcast because he has wings. But his resilient spirit inspires one girl to speak up for him in this thought provoking story about celebrating individuality.
Verde, Susan I am Human A child recognizes his own humanity, his capacity for doing harm and being harmed, his ability to feel joy and sadness, and his belief in hope and promise to keep learning.
Woodson, Jacqueline Each Kindness When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.
Woodson, Jacqueline The Other Side Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town.
Zietlow, Pat Be Kind When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind.
There are many other great books that can be found at your local library. What is your favorite picture book that teaches empathy? Below are some helpful resources regarding this subject. The Common Sense Media resource list was created by their editors.