Compassion, caring, empathy, and kindness are some of the most valuable skills parents can teach their children. However, these intangible traits can be difficult to successfully convey, in part because they can be demonstrated in so many ways. The following books provide smart starting points for conversation and family discussion to help children learn about compassion in a meaningful and impactful way.
- Those Shoes – Maribeth Boelts. Grades K-2
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes – but his grandmother cannot afford to buy them. When he finds a too-small pair at a thrift store, sore feet seem worth it to fit in. However, Jeremy soon realizes there are people who need those shoes more than he does. It is a complex tale of changing trends, poverty, kindness, and doing the right thing even when you may not want to. Those Shoes is a relatable story with a valuable lesson for young kids!
- The Invisible Boy. Grades K-2
Brian is an invisible boy; his classmates seem not to notice him, or include him in any of their games or groups. When a new student arrives in class, Brian finally finds a way to shine. The Invisible Boy sensitively addresses how small acts of kindness can allow even quiet children to flourish.
- The Kindness Quilt – Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. Grades K-2
Minna and her classmates are challenged to work on a Kindness project, drawing and sharing their acts of kindness. Deciding to create a paper quilt, Minna’s enthusiasm for the project begins to spread. With an inspiring story and engaging mixed-media artwork, students will enjoy deciphering the many squares of the kindness quilt – while being inspired to commit acts of kindness themselves.
- El Deafo – Cece Bell. Grades 3-6
Cece wants to fit in; while the Sonic Ear strapped to her chest allows her to hear, it also isolates her from her peers and makes making new friends difficult. In the end, Cece realizes “Our differences are our superpowers.” This full color graphic novel is an honest and sweet tale of a girl coming to terms with her disability and will strike a cord with students who have ever felt different.
- Same Sun Here – Silas House and Neela Vaswani. Grades 4-7
Meena, an Indian immigrant living in New York City, and River, the son of a coal miner in Kentucky, think they could not be more different when they become pen pals. However, they soon discover they have more in common than they ever could’ve imagined. Told in letters with two unique voices, Same Sun Here inspires children to look beyond our differences and enjoy the people in our lives who live under the same sun.