Best Picture Books for Teaching Compassion

Use these rich, diverse picture books to teach your child important life lessons, like the importance of kindness and compassion.

By Amy Mascott
Oct 30, 2017



Best Picture Books for Teaching Compassion

Oct 30, 2017

Editor's note: This post was originally published on October 20, 2014. 

Compassion is a difficult skill for parents to teach their kids because compassion can be demonstrated in so many ways. 

Using a combination of rich and diverse books to paint a picture of compassion for kids is a wise way to go. In these books, characters take risks and go out of their way to help others, and all of the books provide a smart starting point for discussion and conversation with your kids. 

It's worth adding these books to your shelves. Here are seven of the best picture books for teaching compassion — plus, find out what topics you can talk about with your child after reading these titles.  

The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Prairie dogs are confused and excited when a tennis ball ends up in their burrows, and prairie dog life is challenged when a frenzy breaks out over the fuzzy "thing." 

  • Talk about community, sharing, and generosity

The Farmer by Mark S. Ludy
The farmer's patience and faith are tested by Mother Nature and difficult neighbors, but he remains giving and kind through it all. 

  • Talk about generosity, kindness, and forgiveness

Dotty by Erica Perl and illustrated by Julia Denos
Ida is a girl who takes her imaginary friend with her to school. One day, Ida realizes that not everyone views imaginary friends like she does — until one important person shares her special friend with her.

  • Talk about differences, tolerance, and open-mindedness

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Little bat Stellaluna soon realizes that even though she may look different from little birds, they can still be friends. 

  • Talk about important themes like fitting in, confidence, and acceptance

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
"No one saw the bird fall." No one except the little boy who, with his parents, take the injured bird home and care for it until it is ready to fly free.

  • Talk about hope, healing, and kindness

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ronald Himler
A homeless boy and his father live in an airport, trying not to be noticed by the busy passengers, workers, and flight crews. 

  • Talk about homelessness, helping others, and gratitude

Unspoken by Henry Cole
This wordless picture book tells the story of one Southern girl who discovers a slave hiding in her barn. It is the story of an unspoken understanding between two children living completely different lives.

  • Talk about slavery, kindness, generosity, and changing history

I'd love to hear what books you turn to in order to talk about or teach compassion to your kids. Please share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page

Featured Photo Credit: © ilkercelik/Thinkstock

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Kindness and Compassion