Top Tips: Best reads on enhancing empathy in our children

In August 2017, Maggie shared this list compiled by of books to spark conversations about empathy…

Maggie said she found the Franklin the Turtle series a good range of books to build empathy. She asked her Facebook community for any other suggestions may promote empathy in our children and we updated this list again in June 2023.

Other Book suggestions from our community

  • What to say when you don’t know what to say by Davina Bell
  • You, Me and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
  • My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
  • The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson
  • Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson


  • Snail & the Whale by Julia Donaldson
  • Miss Lily’s Fabulous Pink Feather Boa by Margaret Wild
  • The Naming of Tishkin Silk series by Glenda Millard
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silversteen
  • Oliver and Patch by Claire Freedman


  • Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor
  • Henry and Amy by Stephen Michael King
  • Mutt Dog by Stephen Michael King
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  • Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy


  • The Red Feather by Ben Kitchin
  • The Very Cranky Bear series by Nick Bland
  • Wonder (a children’s novel) by R J Palacio
  • Miss Spiders Tea Party by David Kirk
  • Tough Boris by Mem Fox


  • Old Pig by Margaret Wild
  • We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
  • Frog Ballet by Amanda McCardie
  • The Legend of the Golden Snail by Graeme Base
  • Charlotte’s Web by E B White


  • The Song From Somewhere Else by A F Harold
  • Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
  • Wilfrid Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
  • Heart to Heart by Lois Ehlert
  • Have you Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud


  • Kit and Arlo Find a Way – Teaching Consent to 8-12 year-old Children by Vanessa Hamilton
  • The Best Loved Bear by Fiana Noonan
  • The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld



For a good article on this subject, check out Dr Janet Lansbury’s How Children Really Learn Empathy

Games that teach empathy

Common Sense Education has also published this list of the best empathy games, apps and websites for kids.


You might also be interested in taking a look at our  Top Tips: Best reads on teaching children kindness.




Download this list as a PDF: TopTips_EmpathyBooks