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The Best Children’s Books About Empathy

“What are the best Children’s books about Empathy?” We looked at 219 of the top Kids Empathy books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 17 titles, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Children’s Empathy” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 200+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

Top 17 Best Children’s Books About Empathy

17 .) A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Lists It Appears On:

  • Buzzfeed
  • Dad Suggests
  • Home Grown Friends

Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl. But one day–‘Ah-choo!’–he woke with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn’t make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.

16 .) Be Kind written by Pat Zietlow Miller

Be Kind

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • Colours Of Us
  • Dad Suggests

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference or at least help a friend.…

15 .) Chocolate milk, Por Favor written by Maria Dismondy

Chocolate milk, Por Favor

Lists It Appears On:

  • Colours Of Us
  • Education And Behavior
  • Goodreads

14 .) Chrysanthemum written by Kevin Henkes


Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Home Grown Friends
  • Self Sufficient Kids

Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it.

13 .) Come With Me written by Holly M. McGhee

Come With Me

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • NY Times
  • Read Brightly

Frightened by news of angry people around the world, a young girl gets her parents’ help in learning to be compassionate and brave a little at a time.

12 .) Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids written by Carol McCloud

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • Buzzfeed
  • Up Parent

Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.

11 .) Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed written by Emily Pearson and Fumi Kosaka

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • Buzzfeed
  • Up Parent

A young girl’s good deed is multiplied as it is passed on by those who have been touched by the kindesss of others.

10 .) The Hundred Dresses written by Eleanor Estes

The Hundred Dresses

Lists It Appears On:

  • FH
  • Parents
  • Self Sufficient Kids

In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Includes a note from the author’s daughter, Helena Estes.

9 .) The Sneetches written by Dr. Seuss

The Sneetches

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Home Grown Friends
  • The School Run

Includes four humorous verse fantasies: The Sneetches, The Zax, The Many Daves, and What was I Scared of?

8 .) Hey Little Ant written by Phillip and Hannah Hoose

Hey Little Ant

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Home Grown Friends
  • Read Brightly
  • Self Sufficient Kids

A song in which an ant pleads with the kid who is tempted to squish it.

7 .) I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness written by Kerascoët

I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • Colours Of Us
  • Dad Suggests
  • Up Parent

An elementary school girl witnesses the bullying of another girl, but she is not sure how to help.

6 .) One written by Kathryn Otoshi


Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Home Grown Friends
  • Read Brightly
  • Self Sufficient Kids

A number/color book reminding us that it just takes one to make everyone count.

5 .) Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Pena

Last Stop on Market Street

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Buzzfeed
  • Dad Suggests
  • FH
  • Read Brightly

4 .) Wonder written by R.J. Palacio


Lists It Appears On:

  • Books For Keeps
  • Cool Mom Picks
  • Family Education
  • Medium
  • Self Sufficient Kids

3 .) Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson

Each Kindness

Lists It Appears On:

  • A Mighty Girl
  • Book Riot
  • Buzzfeed
  • Medium
  • Read Brightly
  • Up Parent

When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

2 .) The Invisible Boy written by Trudy Ludwig

The Invisible Boy

Lists It Appears On:

  • Buzzfeed
  • Dad Suggests
  • FH
  • Medium
  • Self Sufficient Kids
  • Up Parent

Brian has always felt invisible at school, but when a new student, Justin, arrives, everything changes.

1 .) Those Shoes written by Maribeth Boelts

Those Shoes

Lists It Appears On:

  • Buzzfeed
  • Colours Of Us
  • FH
  • Medium
  • Parents
  • Up Parent

Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.

The 200+ Additional Best Kids Books About Empathy

18A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and LoveMichelle EdwardsA Mighty Girl
19Amazing GraceMary HoffmanHome Grown Friends
Self Sufficient Kids
20Bear Feels SickKarma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Education And Behavior
Home Grown Friends
21El Deafo Cool Mom Picks
22Enemy PieDerek MunsonBuzzfeed
Up Parent
23Fly Away HomeEve BuntingFH
24How Are You Peeling: Foods With MoodsSaxton Freymann and Joost ElfersChildrens Book Daily
Fractus Learning
25Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible JourneyDoug Kuntz & Amy ShrodesColours Of Us
26Lovely NY Times
Read Brightly
27Maddi’s Fridge A Mighty Girl
28Most People NY Times
Read Brightly
29Out of My MindSharon Draper:Cool Mom Picks
30Rude CakesRowboat WatkinsBuzzfeed
31Sam and the Lucky MoneyKaren ChinnColours Of Us
32Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun: Having The Courage To Be Who You AreMaria DismondyFamily Education
Fractus Learning
33Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning about EmpathyBob SornsonFamily Education
34Stand Tall Molly Lou MellonPatty LovellFractus Learning
35The Name JarYangsook ChoiBook Riot
36The Rabbit Listened Read Brightly
Up Parent
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
 Book Riot
Read Brightly
38Understand and CareCheri Meiners
Education And Behavior
Up Parent
39We’re All Wonders Dad Suggests
Read Brightly
40What Does It Mean To Be Kind? Colours Of Us
Up Parent
41Why Am I Me? NY Times
Read Brightly
42You Hold Me UpMonique Gray SmithColours Of Us
43A Color of His Own Book Riot
44A is for Activist Book Riot
45A Separate PeaceJohn KnowlesLifehacker
46A Wrinkle in TimeMadeleine L’EngleLifehacker
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
 Read Brightly
48After Ever After Cool Mom Picks
49Al Capone Does My Shirts Thriving
50All the World Book Riot
51Apt. 3 Colours Of Us
52Baby FacesMargaret MillerParents
53Baby Faces Peekaboo!DK PublishingParents
54Baz & Benz Reading
55Beatrice’s Goat FH
56Beautiful OopsBarney SaltzbergFractus Learning
Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between’
 Childrens Book Daily
58Can You Tell How Someone FeelsNita Everly
Education And Behavior
59Catching Teller Crow Reading
60Cate’s Magic Garden Up Parent
61Charlotte’s WebE. B. WhiteFractus Learning
62Cloud Busting Books For Keeps
63Cloud Tea Monkeys A Mighty Girl
64Confessions of a Former BullyTrudy LudwigFamily Education
65Counting On Community Book Riot
66Dear Mr. Rosenwald FH
67Desmond and the Very Mean Word Colours Of Us
68Don’t Need FriendsCarolyn CrimiFractus Learning
Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart
 A Mighty Girl
70Dragon Post Reading
71Emma and the Whale Read Brightly
72EmpathyLab Books For Keeps
73Essex Libraries Books For Keeps
74Everything I’ve Never Said Reading
75Everywhere BabiesSusan MeyersParents
76Extra Yarn A Mighty Girl
77Far From the Tree Reading
78Finding Perfect Thriving
79Fish in a Tree Thriving
80Freak the MightyRodman PhilbrickParents
81Freaks Like Us Cool Mom Picks
82Gabe & Izzy: Standing Up for America’s BulliedGabrielle FordFamily Education
83Giraffes Can’t Dance The School Run
84Good People Everywhere Colours Of Us
85Hannah’s Way A Mighty Girl
86Happy In Our Skin Book Riot
87Hattie & Hudson A Mighty Girl
88Highway Bodies Reading
89Horace and Morris but Mostly DoloresJames HoweHome Grown Friends
90Horton Hears a WhoDr. SeussBuzzfeed
91How to Be a Lion Read Brightly
92I Am Human: A Book of Empathy Colours Of Us
93I Am Out With Lanterns Reading
94I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness Colours Of Us
95I Am Yoga Colours Of Us
96I Know a Lady A Mighty Girl
97I’m Australian Too Reading
98I’m New Here Colours Of Us
99If you could be mine Books For Keeps
100Introducing Teddy Book Riot
101It’s Okay To Be DifferentTodd ParrHome Grown Friends
102Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall GorillaKatherine ApplegateParents
103Just as Long as We’re TogetherJudy BlumeLifehacker
104Just Because: Where Seeing Another Point of View Makes a Better YouAmber HouseyGoodreads
105Just GraceCharise MericleFractus Learning
106Just KiddingTrudy LudwigFamily Education
107Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler Up Parent
108Let’s be Kind Up Parent
109Life is Like the Wind’ Childrens Book Daily
110Little Elliot, Big FunMike CuratoParents
111Llama Llama and the Bully GoatAnna DewdneyFamily Education
112Looking After Louis Cool Mom Picks
113Lots of FeelingsShelley RotnerFractus Learning
114Love That Dog Books For Keeps
Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan
 Book Riot
116Mama Panya’s Pancakes FH
117Marcelo in the Real World Cool Mom Picks
118Marlene, Marlene, Queen of MeanJane LynchFamily Education
119Meet Me at the Intersection Reading
120Migrant Book Riot
121Mirror Books For Keeps
122Moo, Baa, La La La!Sandra BoyntonParents
123Moo!David LaRochelleParents
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
 Book Riot
125My Brother Is SpecialMaureen Crane WartskiLifehacker
126My Princess Boy Book Riot
127Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Book Riot
128Nico & Lola Up Parent
129Ninth WardJewell Parker RhodesParents
131No, No, No!Marie-Isabelle CallierFractus Learning
132Nobody Likes a Goblin Dad Suggests
133On the Come Up Reading
134One Day, So Many Ways Reading
135PaperboyVince VawterFractus Learning
136Pass It On Read Brightly
137Peace Is an Offering Read Brightly
138Plant a Kiss A Mighty Girl
139Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari MaathaiClaire A. NivolaParents
140Poetry Emotion Books For Keeps
141Quincy and BuckCamille MatthewsGoodreads
142Red: a Crayon’s Story Book Riot
143Roll of Thunder, Hear My CryMildred D. TaylorLifehacker
144Same Sun HereSilas House and Neela VaswaniFractus Learning
145Save Me a SeatSara WeeksMedium
146Seed by Seed Up Parent
Senior Children and Education Librarians
 Books For Keeps
148Shine’ Childrens Book Daily
149Sidewalk Flowers A Mighty Girl
Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book
 Colours Of Us
151Something Else Books For Keeps
152Sorry Day Reading
153Spork Book Riot
154Spot Goes to the FarmEric HillParents
155Stand Up for Yourself & Your FriendsPatti Kelley CriswellFamily Education
156Start With SorryP.T. FinchGoodreads
157Stellaluna A Mighty Girl
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
 Up Parent
159StevieJohn SteptoeParents
160Stone Girl Reading
161Sumi’s First Day of School Colours Of Us
162Sumi’s Frist Day of School EverSoyung PakMedium
163Susan Laughs Cool Mom Picks
164Swing Sideways Thriving
165Take A Deep BreathSue GravesFractus Learning
166That’s Not Fair! Colours Of Us
167The Answer Book Riot
The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts
 Up Parent
169The Big Umbrella Colours Of Us
170The Boy At the Back of the Class The School Run
171The Boy On The Wooden Box: How The Impossible Became Possible On Schindler’s ListLeon LeysonFractus Learning
172The Bubble Boy The School Run
173The Bully Blockers ClubTeresa BatemanFamily Education
174The Butter Battle BookDr. SeussHome Grown Friends
175The Can Man Colours Of Us
176The Colour of Home Books For Keeps
177The Diddakoi Books For Keeps
178The English Roses Up Parent
179The Face At The Window Colours Of Us
180The Gardener A Mighty Girl
181The Giving TreeShel SilversteinBuzzfeed
182The Great Big Book of Feelings’ Childrens Book Daily
The Grief Book: Strategies for Young People’
 Childrens Book Daily
184The Hard-Times Jar FH
185The Jar of Happiness Books For Keeps
186The Journey Colours Of Us
187The Juice Box BullyBob Sornson, Ph.D.Family Education
188The Kindness Quilt Up Parent
189The Lemonade Club A Mighty Girl
190The Librarian of Auschwitz Reading
191The Messenger Bird’ Childrens Book Daily
192The One Day House Colours Of Us
193The Other Side Book Riot
194The Protected’ Childrens Book Daily
195The Rhino Who Swallowed a StormLeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer BernardoParents
196The Snail and the Whale A Mighty Girl
197The Story of Ferdinand Dad Suggests
198The Three QuestionsJon J MuthBuzzfeed
199The WallEve BuntingSelf Sufficient Kids
200The War That Saved My Life Thriving
201The Wattle Tree’ Childrens Book Daily
202The Wednesday Surprise A Mighty Girl
203The Wolf’s Colourful Coat The School Run
204Through Grandpa’s EyesPatricia MacLachlanSelf Sufficient Kids
205Tuck EverlastingNatalie BabbittLifehacker
206Two White Rabbits Colours Of Us
207Voices in the Park The School Run
208Waiting For WingsLois EhlertFractus Learning
209We All Sing With the Same VoiceJ. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. GreeneBuzzfeed
210WeslandiaPaul FleishmanFractus Learning
211What If Everybody Did That?Ellen JavernickGoodreads
212What’s Wrong with Timmy?Maria ShriverSelf Sufficient Kids
213When I Care about OthersCornelia Maude Spelman
Education And Behavior
214WishtreeKatherine Applegate:Medium
215Wolf in the Snow A Mighty Girl
216You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! Reading
217You Must Be Layla Reading
218You, Me and Empathy Colours Of Us
219Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll Colours Of Us

24 Best Children’s Empathy Book Sources/Lists

A Mighty Girl 22 Children’s Books That Teach Kids to Be Kind
Book Riot 25 Picture Books That Promote Empathy and Respect
Books For Keeps Children’s Books – Articles – Ten of the Best Books to boost empathy
Buzzfeed 13 Children’s Books That Encourage Kindness Toward Others
Childrens Book Daily Must-Have Children’s Books on Grief, Empathy and Feelings
Colours Of Us 19 Multicultural Children’s Books teaching Kindness & Empathy
Cool Mom Picks 8 back-to-school books that teach empathy for kids with special needs
Dad Suggests 8 Picture Books that Teach Empathy to Kids
Education And Behavior 5 Great Books to Teach Young Children About Empathy
Family Education 11 Children’s Books About Bullying, Teasing & Empathy
FH 10 Children’s Books to Help You Teach Empathy on International
Fractus Learning The Best 15 Books to Raise Children’s Emotional IQ and Teach Empathy
Goodreads Best Children’s Picture Books Teaching Empathy
Home Grown Friends 10 Children’s Books that Teach Acceptance and Empathy
Lifehacker Teach Your Kids Empathy With These Old-School Chapter Books
Medium Kindness Matters: 11 Diverse Children’s Books that Teach Kindness
NY Times You Can’t Teach Kids Empathy, but These Picture Books Inspire It
Parents 20 Books That Encourage Empathy
Read Brightly 16 Books That Model Empathy and Compassion for Young Readers
Reading Blog: Children’s books that teach empathy
Self Sufficient Kids 10 Children’s Books About Empathy
The School Run Teaching kids empathy
Thriving Books that teach empathy and kindness
Up Parent Children’s Books About Empathy and Kindness