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Peaceful Engagement: 25 Books for PreK-3 on Kindness, Empathy and Understanding

©2024, 2021 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Compiled by Megan Schliesman

We frequently get requests for books about kindness, empathy, understanding and related themes. The books on this list can serve as both invitations to reflection and conversation starters with children.

You can find more CCBC-recommended books on these and related themes using our Recommended Book Search.

Ali, S. K. and Ibtihaj Muhammad The Proudest Blue. Illustrated by Hatem Aly. Little, Brown, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Boelts, Maribeth Those Shoes. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Bowles, David My Two Border Towns. Illustrated by Erika Meza. Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Burgos, Hilda Eunice The Cot in the Living Room. Illustrated by Gaby D'Alessandro. Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

de la Pena, Matt Last Stop on Market Street. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. Putnam, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 3-8

de la Pena, Matt Milo Imagines the World. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. Penguin Random House/Putnam, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Doerrfeld, Cori Beneath. Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, 2023. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Edwards, Michelle Me and the Boss: A Story about Mending and Love. Illustrated by April Harrison. Anne Schwartz Book/Random House, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Felder, Molly Henry the Boy. Illustrated by Nate Christopherson and Tara Sweeney. Penny Candy, 2019. 36 pages. Ages 5-7

Flett, Julie Birdsong. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Greystone, 2019. Ages 4-8

Frazee, Marla Little Brown. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2018. Ages 3-7

Greenwood, Sara My Brother Is Away. Illustrated by Luisa Uribe. Random House/Random House Studio, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Jin-Ho, Jung Look Up!. Illustrated by Jung Jin-Ho. Translated by Mi Hyun Kim. Holiday House, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Kang, Anna We Are (Not) Friends. Illustrated by Christopher Weyant. Two Lions, 2019. 40 pages. Ages 3-6

Khan, Rukhsana Big Red Lollipop. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Viking, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Miller, Sharee Don't Touch My Hair!. Illustrated by Sharee Miller. Little, Brown, 2018. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

Mora, Oge Thank You, Omu!. Illustrated by Oge Mora. Little, Brown, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Morales, Yuyi Dreamers. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Holiday House/Neal Porter Books, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

Naylor-Ballesteros, Chris Frank and Bert. Illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. Nosy Crow, 2023. 32 pages. Ages 3–6

Phi, Bao A Different Pond. Illustrated by Thi Bui. Capstone, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Raczka, Bob Niko Draws a Feeling. Illustrated by Simone Shin. Carolrhoda, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Scott, Jordan I Talk Like a River. Illustrated by Sydney Smith. Holiday House/Neal Porter Books, 2020. 40 pages. Ages 4-8

Sorell, Traci Powwow Day. Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight. Charlesbridge, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Woodson, Jacqueline Each Kindness. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Putnam, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

Yang, Kao Kalia A Map Into the World. Illustrated by Seo Kim. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2019. Ages 5-9

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.