Feelings and Empathy Books for Children

Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story, Carmen Agra Deedy.(1991) Peachtree Publishers, Ltd., Atlanta.
Agatha says, “Everything comes from something, Nothing comes from nothing.” The geese who gave her the feathers for her new bed challenge her to give back something in return.

Annie and the Old One, Miska Miles.(1971) Little, Brown and Company, Boston.
Annie, a Navaho girl, struggles to understand the cycle of life as her beloved grandmother ages and gets ready to “go back to the earth.”

Dumpling Soup, Jama Kim Rattigan.(1993) Little, Brown and Company, Boston.
A young Hawaiian girl tries to make dumplings for her family’s New Year’s celebration with the special encouragement of her grandma. Recipe for Dumpling Soup included.

Emma, Wendy Kesselman.(1980)Barnes and Noble Books.
Emma discovers how painting pictures of the places and people she loves helps her not to feel lonely.

Grandad Bill’s Song, Jane Yolen. 1994)A Paperstar Book.
The answers to Jon’s question “What did you do on the day Grandad died?” help him understand a life well-lived and realize that Grandad Bill lives on in many memories. It shares feelings of sadness, anger, denial and finally acceptance appropriate for a child experiencing the death of a loved one.

Grandpa’s Town, Takaaki Nomura. (1991) Kane/Miller Book Publishers, Brooklyn, NY.
A young Japanese boy, worried that his grandfather is lonely, accompanies him to the public bath. Written in both Japanese and English, the story takes the grandfather and his grandson all over town to meet grandfather’s many friends. Grandfather’s of community is vibrant, alive and very loving.

My Grandfather’s House, Bruce Coville. (1997) BridgeWater Paperback.
When grandpa dies, a young boy is full of questions and memories of the times they have shared. He attends an open-casket funeral with his family. Comforting and simply wrought, this is a book for families to share

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, by Tomie DePaola. (1973) G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY.
Four year old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable deaths.

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light, Tim Tingle. (2010) Cinco Puntos Press
This touching and thought provoking book tells of the exceptionally close relationships existing in the author’s family, generation after generation, and the mutual respect and understanding amongst his relatives. In Tim’s family, the closeness particularly includes his grandmother, “Mawmaw” who gains her eyesight late in life.  Grades 3-5

Storm in the Night, Mary Stolz. (1988) Harper Trophy Press.
While sitting through a fearsome thunderstorm that has put the lights out, Thomas hears a story from Grandfather’s boyhood, when Grandfather was afraid of thunderstorms too.

Sunshine Home, Eve Bunting(1994) Clarion Books, New York
A 7-year old child feels apprehensive the first time he visits his grandmother at the Sunshine Home, but finally relaxes when he talks to his Gram and ends up helping his parents and Gram share their real feelings.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Mem Fox. (1985) Kane/Miller Book Publishers.
Humorously told, a young boy tries to discover the meaning of “memory” so he can restore it for an elderly friend.

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