15 Books Your Children Should Read To Help Foster Empathy And Kindness


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

The best tools to sculpt a child’s mind are their childhood experiences. And one of the best experiences of their long childhood is children’s books. Enlarge your child’s world through the books you give them. For, what better book can we give our children than that which teaches them that other human beings are deserving of love, benevolence, and respect, and they need to make the world a more inclusive place. Give them books that help the children’s souls shine because no one is ever too small to be open, kind-hearted, and empathetic.

There are innumerable books that narrate beautiful tales woven around kindness, humanity, kindness, and compassion. Whittling it down to 15 was difficult, but here they are.

Last Stop On Market Street

By Matt De La Pena, Illustration: Christian Robinson


A routine bus ride every Sunday by a child and his grandma after church turns into a soul-searching tale of love, hope, and kindness that only a grandparent can give to their grandchild.

What If Everybody Did That?

By Ellen Javernick, Illustration: Colleen Madden


The world would be such a better place if everybody were a little more thoughtful and kind.


By R.J.Palacio

A story of a person with a rare syndrome whom we all love. Even in the sadness, the sense of love and goodness prevails that inspires you and makes you appreciate the kind things in life.

Tight Times

By Barbara Shook Hazen, Trina Schart Hyman


The story of a boy who cannot have a dog because they cannot feed one. But then he finds a starving kitten on the day his father loses his job. His parents allow him to keep it to make him happy. A sad yet heartwarming story.

Stand In My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy

By Bob Sornson


This book shows kids how easily one can develop empathy towards those around us. It teaches the intrinsic value of noticing and valuing the feelings of others.

The Royal Bee

By Frances Park, Illustration: Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang

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Young Song-ho’s parents cannot afford to send him to school. But then he finds a beautiful school. His courage and determination come to the fore as he helps his offspring.

Uncle Willie And The Soup Kitchen

By Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan


This sensitive and colorful book narrates the story of a caring and friendly group that welcomes a hungry child into their kitchen.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed

By Emily Pearson, Fumi Kokasa


This feel-good tale celebrates and inspires a world strewn with everyday deeds. A simple act of picking blueberries for her neighbor turns into a story of compassion and empathy, even in random deeds.

Beatrice’s Goat

By Page Mcbrier, Illustration: Lori Lohstoeter


Beatrice dreams of being a schoolgirl. But she cannot afford a uniform. But then she receives a goat. A true story of a child’s quest to lift her family out of poverty.

Be Kind

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustration: Jen Hill

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This book speaks of the power of kindness. It illustrates how every act of kindness, big or small, can make a world of difference in everyone’s life.

Save Me A Seat

By Sarah Weeks, Gita Varadarajan


Joe and Ravi come from different places but study in the same school. They have nothing in common but are thrown together by fate. How will things turn out?

If You Plant A Seed

By Kadir Nelson


A seed infused with kindness bears sweet fruit. A story of gentle humor and mellowness demonstrates the power of even small acts and how generosity and compassion can finally get rewarded.

Superheroes Club

By Madeleine Sherak


The story of Lily, the kid with a big heart who inspires her friend to get together to form a club to help other kids and the community.

Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson. Illustration: E.B.Lewis

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Chloe doesn’t want to play with Maya. And then, one day, Maya is gone. Chloe is heartbroken when she realizes that she had lost an opportunity to be kind to a girl who just wanted to be a friend.

Those Shoes

By Maribeth Boelts, Illustration: Noah Z. Jones


All Jeremy dreams about are a pair of shoes with black high-tops and two white stripes. Everyone but he seems to be wearing one. His grandma’s love and reasoning and the chance to help a friend finally opens his eyes to life’s priorities.

It is striking that many of life’s greatest lessons where found in children’s books. But we only realize it once we are adults.

IMAGE FEATURED: Publicdomain 

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