Make it Better: Books about the Golden Rule and Compassion for Children
Preschool through Grade Five.Compiled by: Ilene Cooper, Children's Books Editor at Booklist Magazine, booklistonline.com
All the World. By Liz Garton Scanlon. Illus. by Marla Frazee.2009. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99 (9781416985808). PreS–Gr. 1.Little ones will get a chance to feel a part of the larger world and understand how we are all connected in this lovely book with eye-catching, child-appealing illustrations.
Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons. By Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illus. by Jane Dyer.2006. HarperCollins, $12.99 (0-06-058081-X). PreS–Gr. 1.Cookies provide the framework for this clever book, but the focus is really life lessons. Each spread features a word and a definition, which are further explained in an engaging picture. For instance, ―Cooperate means, / How about you add the chips while I stir?
Do Unto to Otters. A Book about Manners. By Laurie Keller. Illustrated by the author.2007. Holt, $16.95 (0-8050-7996-3). K–Gr. 3.Mr. Rabbit is worried about his new neighbors, the Otters, until a wise bird offers the advice, ―Do unto Otters . . . A humorous look at the Golden Rule.
Gathering Sparks. By Howard Schwartz. Illus. by Kristina Swarner.2010. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781596432802). PreS–Gr. 3.The concept of repairing the world is explained as a Grandfather and his grandchild look at the stars. Grandfather explains God made 10 vessels to carry light across the sky. If they had stayed intact, ―the world would have been perfect,‖ but they became increasingly fragile and broke apart. Now, it‘s up to us repair the world.
Get Happy. By Malachy Doyle. Illustrated by Caroline Uff.2011. Bloomsbury, $14.99. (978-8027-2271-3). PreS-Kindergarten.Sweet, round-faced children give their young listeners good advice: ―Squabble less. Share more...Grab less. Give more!‖ Pithy text and great messages.
The Golden Rule. By Ilene Cooper. Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska.2007. Abrams, $16.95. (0-8109-0960-X). K-Gr. 4.A boy discovers the Golden Rule and his grandfather explains that this simple yet profound sentiment appears in almost every religion and culture. Beautifully illustrated, the art captures the essence of a rule that is simple yet not easy and golden because of the way it shines.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler. By Margery Cuyler. Illus. by Sachiko Yoshikawa.2007. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (0-689-87344-1). PreS–Gr. 1.Mrs. Ruler is frustrated with her kindergarten class. They have been acting out all week, so she reminds them ―kindness is cooler‖ and charges each student to perform five acts of kindness.
Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace. By James Proimos. Illus. by the author.2009. 40p. Little, Brown, $15.99 (9780316032926). K–Gr. 3.Paulie is ―nothing special...no more special than you are,‖ but things change after he begins showing kindness to animals and even ―reading to trees.‖ Soon, Paulie moves on to people, making amends with his sister and sharing his lunch with a classmate; and when he discovers that cupcakes can resolve disputes, his peace-making ambitions grow.
Sneaky Weasel. By Hannah Shaw. Illus. by the author.2009. 32p. Knopf, $15.99 (9780375856259); lib. ed., $18.99 (9780375956256). K–Gr. 3.When nobody comes to Weasel‘s birthday party, he wants to find out why. He‘s reminded by his classmates that his mean actions have repercussions, and he decides to better. The meaning and value of friendship get a solid treatment in this smartly illustrated book.
Thank You God, for Everything. By August Gold. Illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin.2009. Putnam, $16.99 (9780399240492). PreS–Gr. 2.Gold, the spiritual director of Sacred Center New York, notes that the happiest people see everything in their lives—both the good and the bad—as reasons to be thankful. Her goal here is to ―show young readers how to develop their own thankful eyes.‖ A diverse group of children do just that in the meaningful text and attractive art.
Also see compassionatekids.org for more resources for children's books and more about compassion!