Children's reading lists

10 inspiring books to teach tots about empathy

In a world that’s ever changing, teaching little ones to be kind and understanding has never been more valuable. Here are ten powerful books that will help children understand the concept of empathy.

Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis | Andersen

This is a story of a little girl in a wheelchair called Susan who laughs, sings, flies and swings – just like every other little girl. Accompanied by Tony Ross’ delightful artwork, this fun and colourful picture book aims to combat stereotypes around disability and people with differing abilities.

Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin | Andersen

An ordinary bubble may seem pretty harmless to most. However, to the monsters of La La Land, bubbles are simply terrifying. Thanks to lots of encouragement from both the narrator and the readers these monsters learn to confront their fears and embrace the bubbles. This is a great book for getting children to understand where fear comes from, while encouraging them to support others too.

Bluebird by Bob Stake | Andersen

This stunning wordless picture book tells the story of a heroic bluebird who befriends a lonely boy and gives him courage and hope as he goes about his day. Capturing a range of emotions from start to finish, this book offers lots of talking points to begin discussions with tots, and approach the subject of empathy in an enjoyable way. 

Is it Because...? by Tony Ross | Andersen

A little boy is trying to understand why a boy at school is picking on him: 'Is it because he misses his mum? Is it because he still sucks his thumb? Is it because he smells like a pike? Is it because he can't ride a bike?’ Is it Because...? is a thought-provoking book from Tony Ross that will get kids thinking about both sides of the story.

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