These Books Can Help Teach Empathy

By Keimig, Bailey | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), July 12, 2020 | Go to article overview

These Books Can Help Teach Empathy


Keimig, Bailey, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded the same rights and opportunities as those with no disabilities.

To celebrate, recognize and normalize individuals with disabilities, try to seek out books that prominently, accurately and respectfully feature people with disabilities.

Not sure where to start? Check out the following picture books to share with the young people in your life.

"Mommy Sayang," by Rosana Sullivan (Disney Press, 2019)

Aleeya loves her playful, peaceful daily routines with Mommy Sayang (a Malay word meaning "dear"). When they are together, even their chores seem fun. Whether they are resting, enjoying meals with other loved ones or sharing bedtime stories, Aleeya and her mother are inseparable.

One day, though, Aleeya's mother becomes too ill to play with her. Aleeya has to spend her days alone, missing her mother and trying to think of a way to help her feel better.

Although her illness is never identified in the story, Aleeya's experience with her mother's illness is a gentle way to discuss reasons why loved ones might not always be able to spend time with us in the same way. The beautiful illustrations are filled with emotion and movement and help the story linger in the minds of the readers.

"Hello Goodbye Dog," by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Patrice Barton (Roaring Brook Press, 2017)

Zara and her dog, Moose, are best friends. That means Moose always wants to be by Zara's side, even when Zara is at school. Zara tries to say goodbye to Moose at home, but it takes Mom and Dad to get Moose to stay put.

Later, when Moose finds a way to zoom over to the school, Zara is happy to let her enjoy story time with her classmates. But then, it takes Mom, Dad, Zara and the teacher to get Moose to leave. Moose continues escaping to rejoin Zara at school, and more people are needed to help get Moose to go home.

Finally, Zara has a wonderful idea. …

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