5 Best books to teach children empathy and tolerance

We picked our favourite reads on Hopster that encourage little ones to be more accepting and understanding of others

Sandbox Kids
3 min readMar 2, 2021


At Hopster we discover the best shows, books and games that help kids learn while having fun. We hand-select everything we put in our app to make sure it’s not only educational but inclusive and gender neutral.

Little ones can discover a range of beautiful picture books that they can listen to with voice over narration or read together with their family in our Book Boat, found within our app.

We have selected five beautifully illustrated stories that encourages inclusivity and teaches kids to be more empathetic and accepting of others’ differences:

1. Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

A touching story about a young refugee girl, Lubna and her best friend, a pebble. It shows how, even in conditions of deprivation, we can still show love and compassion for others less fortunate.

Beautifully illustrated and sensitively told, this tale of loneliness, uncertainties and friendship will encourage empathy in readers of all ages.

2. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

This lavishly illustrated book tells the tale of Julian, a little boy who gets captured by three spectacularly dressed up women on the subway. Jessica Love’s debut picture book defies nonconforming ideas of gender identity and beauty and encourages self-expression and acceptance.

The book was the winner of a 2019 Stonewall Book Awardand nominated for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

3. The Girl with Two Dads by Mel Elliot

A story about Pearl and her new friend, Matilda, a little girl with two dads. Although a family with two dads first sounds interesting to Pearl, she soon finds out that Matilda’s family is just like her own.

The story encourages kids to understand that each family is different yet the same, no matter what the set-up.

4. Julia’s Circle of Friends: A Julia Storybook by Leslie Kimmelman

This Julia Storybook features Julia, the first Sesame Street muppet with autism, and her friends, Abby Cadabby and Elmo.

Following Julia’s first day at camp, little ones can learn to be kind and understanding and to notice the things they have in common with others, rather than the things that make them different.

5. One Button Benny by Alan Windram

This award-winning book tells the story of Benny, a special robot. Although he is different from the others, his special power will help him save his friends and make them appreciate his difference.

The book is delightfully narrated by Scottish author, Alan Windram.



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