Best Picture Books for Teaching Compassion
feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others.
synonyms: pitying, sympathetic, empathetic, understanding, caring, concerned,solicitous, sensitive, tender-hearted, soft-hearted, warm-hearted, warm,loving, tender, gentle, merciful, lenient, tolerant, considerate, thoughtful,kind, kindly, kind-hearted, humanitarian, humane, charitable, benevolent,good-natured, well disposed, big-hearted
When I was a kid, my Mom nudged me to say a ‘Namaste” to any elder I saw. If it was an older Bhaiya or Didi, a ‘Hi’ was enough. But I have noticed nowadays that kids (even if you casually know them) do not acknowledge or say a greeting, neither do the parents think it is important. On the playing ground too, Moms hardly want to acknowledge their wards roughness or rudeness towards other kids. They immediately point out that in today’s world we need our little one’s to turn out ace bullies to succeed. When did we start believing that compassion is a trait for the weak? What do you do if after repeated warnings and talk with the concerned parent, the kids still bully your kid? You tell them to ‘give them back’ if they attack you. But this same thing makes your little one a bully too. Whatever you try to teach your child in the comfort and safety of your little haven, how can you be sure that the world out there will treat your child according to the guideline or rules that you specify?
The little thing you can do is to raise compassionate and confident kids. And one step towards it would be to read books about compassion, love, friendship and confidence! Today I share with you the books that has helped me respect my kid’s individuality and in turn that has empowered him and helped him be kinder, empathetic and compassionate.
Best Picture Books for Teaching Compassion
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
We bought the board book version when Super-kiddo was 2 and this has been a steady favorite of his for 3 years. With sparing texts and gorgeous illustrations, this book celebrates the diverse character your little one really is! I am quick as a cricket, I am slow as a snail and it goes on. super boy can now *read* the pictures and loves it when he gets the adjectives all right.
I’m not cute! by Jonathan Allen
This is my favorite in this lot. And this book is one you should own if you have kids who absolutely do not like to be called cute. This story about a fiercely independent but somewhat indecisive little owl will touch a chord if you have a similar tot in your home! Jonathan Allen captures the independence and the innocent tantrum with adorable illustrations and simple texts! A gem in every way!
Mr. Big by Ed Vere
Mr. Big is strong, tough, big but he is also alone! He doesn’t have friends, wherever he goes people around him find excuses to leave the place immediately. This wonderful book with bold and vivid color illustrations, minimal texts and comical situations is a gem and is great to send the message that you should not judge someone by their looks.
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton
One thing about our existence is our reaction towards temptation. Being adults handling temptation is difficult, a small kid has a very hard time, but George the dog has the worst time. George’s owner leaves him alone in the house and asks him if he can be good. George thinks it can’t be difficult until he sees a cake. The next page spread asks the reader, What would Gorge do? If your guess is George is going to be good, you are going sorely amused when you see George giving in to every temptation. This is a great book to discuss about temptation, and about consequences. This could be a great character building exercise. The author use simple script, bold illustration and lots of humor to get a very important message across.
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson is a favorite author of Aarya’s and this book which we recently got as a gift from a very dear friend, didn’t disappoint. This tale is about a little hermit crab, a blobby purple anemone and a tickly bristle worm who find a shell and share it. Crab finally has a fight with the other two as over time they all become somewhat big, and are really heavy! This book is great talking point about arguing with friends, going their own separate ways, feeling sad and lonely and then making friends. A great book to talk about sharing and being nice to each other!
You Make Me Proud by Umesh Shukla
You Make Me Proud by Umesh Shukla is a really sweet book. The story involves a Papa bear and kiddo-bear leaving post-it notes for each other about what makes them proud about each other. I got into this habit of telling Aarya that I was proud of him and sometimes I told him why I was so proud of him. At first I thought he did not *get* it; but later on, I understood that he really loved hearing this from me. And I try to say and point out things more often now, it has become a bedtime ritual in our home, where I try to tell at least one thing that Aarya did, that made me proud. On good days, it is easy. But on difficult days, it is even more important.
The Pleasant Rakshasa by Sowmya Rajendran
This title from our favorite publishers Tulika Books, is a treat! Karimuga is a gorgeous Rakshasa, who is envied for his beautiful attributes. Seeing all of his friends envious and rather sad, he decides to share his good looks with them. But afterwards, starts to feel sad. What happens in the end? You have to read to find out. Beauty is a perception and one can find happiness with one’s perception and not just beauty! A beautiful message to share
Have you read any of the above titles, which one is a favorite?
What are the core values that are important to you? How do you deal with bullying, and how do you talk about compassion in your household?
I hope you do share with us some of your favorite books that has helped share your values with your kids!