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Aug 24

Staff Picks for a Younger Audience - Empathy, Part 3

Posted on August 24, 2020 at 12:36 PM by Bobbie Clark

Empathy Books for Young Readers, Tweens and Teens 

In this 3rd and final part of the Empathy series, Lewis & Clark Library staff recommend books for younger readers. 


Beth recommends . . . 

YR 1 

Can I Keep It?  

by Lisa Jobe  

Empathy is a skill that begins in early childhood. I love this charming picture book which models a caring relationship between a young boy and his mother who encourages her son to think about what is best for the wild creatures he encounters. The book ends with a positive, satisfying conclusion.  

Find it in the library catalog

Check out a delightful video version of Can I Keep It? HERE 


Molly recommends . . .

YR 2 

The Day You Begin  

by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by Rafael López  

My number one recommendation for a book about kindness and empathy is The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. It's a beautifully illustrated book that simplifies the concept of differences and similarities and allows caregivers and children to continue the conversation.  

Find it in the library catalog 

Also available on Montana Library2Go Ebook and Audiobook 


YR 3 

If You Plant a Seed  

by Kadir Nelson 

I also love If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson. This is another beautifully illustrated picture book that uses a concrete example of planting seeds and how the choices that you make can produce a generous crop to share or a mess of weeds.  

Find it in the library catalog

Watch a gentle video telling of this great story HERE 


YR 4 

A Boy Called Bat  

by Elana K. Arnold 

A Boy Called Bat is the first in a series (of the same name) by Elana K. Arnold. The books follow a third-grade student on the autism spectrum as he struggles to adapt to change, be kind to friends, and express himself. He also has to find a way to convince his mom to let him keep the baby skunk (kit) that she rescued 

Find it in the library catalog

Also available on Montana Library2Go Ebook and Audiobook 


Kate recommends . . . 

YR 5 

Sunnyside Plaza  

by Scott Simon 

Sunnyside Plaza is a middle grade novel with a funny, sweet, clever, and persistent narrator who introduces readers to Sunnyside Plaza, the community center for adults with developmental disabilities where 19-year-old Sally Miyake lives. When a resident dies, it's up to Sally, the other residents, and some new friends to discover what happened. 

Find it in the library catalog

Read more about broadcaster/author Scott Simon HERE 



Heather recommends . . . 

YR 6 

Free Lunch  

by Rex Ogle 

A searing, insightful, and hilariously heartbreaking portrait of what it was like for one young man to grow up poor in a rich school district. Winner of the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.  

Find it in the library catalog 

Meet the author in this brief YouTube introduction 



YR 7 

Dear Martin  

by Nic Stone    

Looks at current events related to race through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King's teachings.  

Find it in the library catalog 

Related library materials HERE    


YR 8 

Turtles All the Way Down  

by John Green   

Young people are increasingly overwhelmed by what it means to struggle with and manage their mental health. Take a peek inside Aza's head as she lives life with anxiety, OCD, and her first real boyfriend.  

Find it in the library catalog 

Also available in digital format:  

Montana Library2Go Ebook and Audiobook 

YA Author John Green has a huge online presence connecting with his readers through YouTube and other venues. Great interview HERE  



Other resources for empathy reading materials. . . 

YR 9 

Better With Books: 500 diverse books to ignite empathy and encourage self-acceptance in tweens and teens  

by Melissa Hart 

Find it in the library catalog HERE 

Interview with the author on YouTube HERE 


, check out this great book list on Goodreads website: 


Finally, we here at the library love to hear about what you’ve been reading. Share your great finds in the comments section below




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