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Kids’ Books That Can Instill Empathy in Your Little One

Teaching children empathy and kindness for all—no matter someone’s species or size—is an important part of parenting. It helps your little one navigate how to treat others and how to understand their experiences, even if they haven’t experienced something similar. These animal-friendly kids’ books can help instill these qualities in your child. They also make great gifts for any other kids in your life!

Family reading a kids' book

Before You Were Mine

This story is about a boy and his adopted dog. While the child wonders what life was like for the dog before the two met, he knows that his new life will be full of love.

Hey, Little Ant

In this story, a kid tries to decide whether they should squish an ant—and the ant makes a compelling case for his survival. The ending asks readers to decide on the outcome: “What do you think that kid should do?” This question offers a perfect opportunity to discuss the ethical treatment of other animals and build empathy.

Hobbes Goes Home

Hobbes Goes Home is the real-life tale of Hobbes, a little brown dachshund who’s taken out of an abusive home and placed at an animal shelter. Readers learn about his experiences at the shelter and how, after dreaming about a new family, he meets a man who changes his life forever! Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll love this heartwarming true story. Pair it with this engaging activity from TeachKind.

How to Heal a Broken Wing

Everyone passes by an injured pigeon lying on the ground—except Will. He takes the bird home so that he and his mom can nurse him back to health and return him to the sky.

Junebug: No Life Too Small

June makes it her mission to speak up for tiny animals. She encourages her friends to use caution and show compassion whenever they encounter bugs in their daily life—and explains how even the smallest beings are just like us in many ways.

My Name Is Jessie

Read about Jessie, a homeless dog in pursuit of a permanent, loving home. Witness her perseverance through all her life’s trials and see how she finally finds kindness and safety.


Books are a great way for children to learn about others and better understand different types of experiences that they might not go through themselves. Check out this more extensive list of animal-friendly books:

For Kids