Children's Books That Encourage Empathy, Kindness, and Sharing

Children's Books That Encourage Empathy, Kindness, and Sharing

Academics are important, but it is also important to instil qualities like empathy, kindness, and sharing in your children during their formative years if you plan on raising good human beings. While nothing can take the place of teaching by example, here are some inspirational storybooks that offer wonderful lessons on friendship, compassion, and acceptance and can encourage your kids to share, help others, and be kind.

“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin

1. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

(Ages 2-6)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

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This adorable picture book tells the story of Amos, who spends his time caring for his animal friends at the zoo, playing games with them all day. When Amos gets too sick to make it to the zoo one day, the animals decide it's their time to take care of their friend. This is an award-winning book that teaches kids a timeless lesson: If you treat others with kindness, they'll return the favour and will be there for you in your hour of need.

2. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

(Ages 3-5)

Last Stop on Market Street

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A gentle book that encourages children to be open-minded, have empathy and be more understanding of others, Last Stop on Market Street is the winner of several awards. The story follows young and curious CJ as he takes the bus home with his grandmother after church, asking her several questions on the way. CJ receives answers that will resonate with all young readers and deliver profound messages full of optimism; answers that make him look at the bright side of life and think of those less fortunate.

3. I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët

(Ages 4-8)

I Walk With Vanessa

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When Vanessa, the new girl at school, is bullied, a classmate decides to help. A book that opens conversations about bullying and teaches kids how to step up to bullies, this wordless picture book demonstrates how someone can be kind without having to speak a word and how small acts can have a tremendous impact that can inspire and transform whole communities.

4. Everybody's Welcome by Patricia Hegarty

(Ages 3-7)

Everybody's Welcome by Patricia Hegarty

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The inspiring story of a little mouse who is building a house in the forest, achieving the goal by enlisting the help of a motley crew of animals who are themselves in need of assistance. A frog whose pond has dried up, birds who have lost their nests, rabbits chased away from their burrows by eagles, and other animals join in to build a home where everybody will feel welcomed. More relevant than ever in an increasingly diverse world today's kids will grow up into, this is a sweet children's book that deals with themes of acceptance, sharing, and extending a helpful hand to those in need.

5. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

(Ages 5-8)

Those Shoes

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Kids often do things or want things because they see their friends doing them or possessing them, and that is why they'll be able to relate to this book as it broaches the subject of peer pressure. Those Shoes tells the story of a young boy who chooses to ignore his own desire to fit in for a chance to help someone else in need. A refreshing story of kindness in the face of peer pressure; charity and selflessness are the central themes of this warm, feel-good children's book.

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