Books That Teach Empathy

Teaching kids character strengths and life skills such as empathy is one of the most important jobs of being a parent. Empathic kids can put themselves in someone else's shoes. It also allows them to develop other caring character strengths, such as compassion and gratitude. These great books for all ages help make it easier by celebrating friendship, difference, and the importance of caring for one another. For even more empathy-building media picks, just check these movies and TV shows that promote empathy.

Be Kind Poster Image
BOOK

Be Kind

age 3+

Warm story shows big impact of simple acts of kindness.

By: Pat Zietlow Miller (2018)
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Bully Poster Image
BOOK

Bully

age 3+

Simple animal tale of bullying, empathy, and forgiveness.

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Good News Bad News Poster Image
BOOK

Good News Bad News

age 3+

Spare story of ups & downs great for toddlers, preschoolers.

By: Jeff Mack (2012)
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Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug Poster Image
BOOK

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug

age 3+

Sweet tale of small-armed dino striving to cheer up friend.

By: Jonathan Stutzman (2019)
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Big Feelings Poster Image
BOOK

Big Feelings

age 4+

Bold, bright story shows the value of expressing emotions.

By: Alexandra Penfold (2021)
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The Cool Bean Poster Image
BOOK

The Cool Bean

age 4+

Sweet, whimsical tale encourages empathy and kindness.

By: Jory John (2020)
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A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love Poster Image
BOOK

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love

age 4+

Knitting = love in this warm and fuzzy tale of kindness.

By: Michelle Edwards (2016)
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I Talk Like a River Poster Image
BOOK

I Talk Like a River

age 4+

Beautiful, personal tale of boy's struggles with stuttering.

By: Jordan Scott (2020)
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In Plain Sight Poster Image
BOOK

In Plain Sight

age 4+

Playful, loving relationship shines in sweet grandpa tale.

By: Richard Jackson (2017)
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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Poster Image
BOOK

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

age 4+

Poignant, sensitive story of captive gorilla builds empathy.

By: Katherine Applegate (2014)
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Little Elliot, Big Fun Poster Image
BOOK

Little Elliot, Big Fun

age 4+

Friendship soothes fears in charming amusement park tale.

By: Mike Curato (2016)
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Otis and the Scarecrow Poster Image
BOOK

Otis and the Scarecrow

age 4+

Tractor reaches out to silent friend in tale of empathy.

By: Loren Long (2014)
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The Someone New Poster Image
BOOK

The Someone New

age 4+

Critters accept a snail looking for a new home in warm tale.

By: Jill Twiss (2019)
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We're All Wonders Poster Image
BOOK

We're All Wonders

age 4+

Boy who's different promotes kindness in fresh empathy tale.

By: R.J. Palacio (2017)
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What Is Given from the Heart Poster Image
BOOK

What Is Given from the Heart

age 4+

Lovely art, heartwarming story about the joy of giving.

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Coat of Many Colors Poster Image
BOOK

Coat of Many Colors

age 5+

Lyrics of inspirational Dolly Parton song address bullying.

By: Dolly Parton (2016)
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Dad and the Dinosaur Poster Image
BOOK

Dad and the Dinosaur

age 5+

Dad helps son manage fears in kind story full of empathy.

By: Gennifer Choldenko (2017)
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Hey Jack! Series Poster Image
BOOK

Hey Jack! Series

age 5+

Kind boy and sweet stories are great for new readers.

By: Sally Rippin (2013)
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Hudson and the Puppy: Lost in Paris: Paris-Chien, Book 3 Poster Image
BOOK

Hudson and the Puppy: Lost in Paris: Paris-Chien, Book 3

age 5+

Dog helps homeless pup in charming Paris adventure.

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I Am Love: A Book of Compassion Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion

age 5+

Charming book in popular series has a big heart.

By: Susan Verde (2020)
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