Fostering Empathy and Sense of Self
Carefully-selected books to support these budding and important skills
In early childhood young children are beginning to develop their sense of self – who they are, what they like, and how they view the world. Young children are also learning how to take the perspective of others, which helps them to grow in their empathy and understanding. This set of selected books celebrates community, diversity, and kindness.
Pink is for Boys
Written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Eda Kaban, this story features pictures, text, and a message that break from gender stereotypes related to color.
I Am Enough
Written by Grace Byers and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, this book features a young girl expressing her love for herself – who and how she is.
Written and illustrated by Christian Robinson, this story gives an affirming and powerful message that lets children know that they are important and valued.
Happy in Our Skin
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Lauren Tobia, this book uses diverse illustrations and rhymes to describe the unique features and functions of human skin.
Same, Same But Different
Written and illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, this story follows two children from different cultures as they find out how their lives are the same and different.
A Sick Day For Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, this is the story of an empathic zookeeper and his friendship with some of the animals at the zoo.
Written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, this book shows a modern Native American family making fry bread, a special food that people in their family have cooked for many years.
Looking for Bongo
Written and illustrated by Eric Velasquez, this book features a bilingual boy interacting with different members of his multi-generational family while trying to find Bongo, his stuffed toy.
All Are Welcome
Written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, this story celebrates diversity and inclusivity as it follows children through the school day.
Written and illustrated by Jess Hong, this book encourages readers to love themselves and embrace others and the many different ways they may be.
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Irene Chan, this book shares ways to show care and kindness to others.
My Friend is Sad
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems, this story is about a friend’s attempts to make his friend happy.
We're Different, We're the Same
Written by Bobbi Kates and illustrated by Joe Mathieu, this book features text and illustrations describing a variety of ways people are alike and different.
Hooray for Hat!
Written and illustrated by Brian Won, this delightful story shows how a simple act of kindness can brighten up someone else’s day by showing we care.
The Skin You Live In
Written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko, this story encourages young readers to love themselves and embrace others, no matter the color of their skin.
TEACHING THROUGH BOOKS