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7 Books That Teach Empathy to Kids

books that teach kids empathy

Empathy is a fundamental human quality that allows us to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s an essential skill to develop from a young age. One of the best ways to instill this virtue in children is through the magic of storytelling. There are so many children’s books that teach kids about empathy and beautifully convey the importance of compassion, kindness and understanding. Here are seven must-read books that teach children about empathy while also capturing their hearts.

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

“Wonder” is a heartwarming and impactful novel that tells the story of August Pullman, a young boy born with a facial deformity. Starting fifth grade at a mainstream school, Auggie faces challenges and prejudices from his classmates. This book teaches children how to be more empathetic by encouraging them to see beyond physical appearances and embrace differences with open hearts.

“The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig

In “The Invisible Boy,” readers follow the story of Brian, a boy who feels unnoticed and excluded by his classmates. This story highlights the importance of including others and reaching out to those who may feel left out. Through vivid illustrations and relatable characters, children learn about empathy, friendship, and the impact of small acts of kindness.

“Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña

This award-winning picture book takes readers on a journey through the vibrant streets of a city with CJ and his Nana. Despite their bus ride being filled with challenges and hardships, Nana’s wise and empathetic perspective helps CJ see the beauty in the world around him. “Last Stop on Market Street” emphasizes the importance of appreciating the beauty and diversity in our communities and teaches children about empathy by helping them to understand different perspectives.

“Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts

In “Those Shoes,” the main character, Jeremy, longs for a pair of trendy sneakers that all the other kids at school have. However, when he finally finds a pair of the shoes he desires, he realizes his grandmother needs help buying winter boots. Jeremy’s decision to prioritize empathy and generosity over material possessions teaches young readers an important lesson about the value of compassion and helping others in need.

“Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson

“Each Kindness” explores the impact of missed opportunities to show kindness and empathy. The story is narrated by Maya’s classmate, Chloe, who initially ignores Maya’s efforts to befriend her. When Maya unexpectedly leaves the school, Chloe reflects on her own actions and the kindness she could have shown. This book encourages children to understand that every small act of kindness can make a difference and that missed opportunities for empathy should be regretted.

“Enemy Pie” by Derek Munson

In this charming story, a young boy learns from his dad the recipe for “enemy pie,” which unexpectedly leads to a newfound understanding and empathy for others.

“The Hundred Dresses” by Eleanor Estes

This Newbery Honor book explores the consequences of bullying and the power of empathy as it follows the story of a Polish girl who claims to have one hundred beautiful dresses.

These seven books that teach kids about empathy offer valuable life lessons about empathy, kindness, and the importance of understanding others’ perspectives. They not only provide a platform for discussing these crucial topics with your children but also touch their hearts.

By reading these stories about empathy and kindness together, you can instill the seeds of empathy in your children, helping them grow into more compassionate and understanding individuals. So, go ahead, add these books that teach kids about empathy to your collection, and embark on a journey of learning and empathy with your little ones.