Books That Cultivate Courage and Compassion


John Ruskin in The Crown of Wild Olive said this about true education, “The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things-not merely industrious, but to love industry-not merely learned, but to love knowledge-not merely pure, but to love purity-not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.”

As we read books to our children, we are not just exposing them to literacy, but exposing them to the world, and cultivating in them a love for others that can translate into world changing actions.

Below is a list of some beautiful books for cultivating courage and compassion, books about people who have overcome difficulties in their life, and books about seeing the best in people.

Most People by Michael Leannah- An introduction to the theme that most people want to do good

A Weed is a Flower by Aliki- The story of George Washington Carver

A Vision of Beauty by Kathryn Lasky- One woman’s determination to build a better life for herself and her people

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier- The story of Rosa Parks

Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome- The life of Harriet Tubman

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier- The life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Have A Dream-Martin Luther KIng Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson-Text from the speech

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell- A story about the power of empathy and compassion

Roberto Clemente by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Raul Colon- A boy from Puerto Rico becomes one of the most admired baseball players of all time

Fifty Cents and a Dream by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Bryan Collier- The life of Booker T. Washington

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz- A beautiful book about how a boy who overcomes a speech difficulty to advocate for animals

A Girl Named Helen Keller by Margo Lundell-The amazing story of Helen Keller

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway- An amazing story of how a community was changed by one boys diligence and stewardship of his resources

Abraham Lincoln by by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire- A poor boy becomes a famous president

We’d love to know - what books have infused your family with courage, and inspired more compassion?

Check out our new Mountain Guide for around the world preschool learning!

Check out our new Mountain Guide for around the world preschool learning!

Click the button below to download a free sample of our parent guides, children’s activities, printable and book lists to give you a taste of The Peaceful Press Curriculum.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for clicking through and showing your support. While we think that nothing is better than reading an actual story to your child, you can also find many of these as Youtube read alouds.