Our Favourite Books For Teaching Kindness and Tolerance - The Grace Tales

Our Favourite Books For Teaching Kindness and Tolerance

Recently on Instagram, I commented that I had been on searching for children's books that promote acceptance, love, tolerance and inclusivity.

I love a good bedtime story as much as the next parent (note my use of the term good here – sorry kindergarten readers, but you don’t make the cut), but recently I’ve been really conscious of what a unique opportunity we have at bedtime. It’s when we cuddle up to our children, when we put away our devices, and when we connect in a (mostly) calm, loving way.

So rather than indulging in any old story plucked off our packed shelves, I’ve been making a concerted effort to select stories that teach a lesson. Not in a preachy way, but subtly told through beautiful characters and moving storylines. 

When this world feels a little chaotic (it’s not just me, is it?), these stories are helping me to feel like I’m making just a little difference in my children’s lives each evening. If you’re trying to do the same, here are my top picks. 

Header image by Grace Alyssa Kyo

Every Australian family needs a copy of Mem Fox’s I’m Australian Too on their shelves. Mem says it best herself, “I decided to write a very rhythmic, loving, friendly Australian book, about all the people who have come here to make Australia the lovely place it is. They also contain a scream on behalf of refugees, and a longing for a kinder Australia—the country we used to be, before high-profile racists in politics and the media were granted the power to make heart-breaking decisions and speak detestable words against many of the decent, inspiring people who populate this beautiful land.”

Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They both like to draw, dance, read, and play at the park.  They both cry if their feelings are hurt. And, like most friends, they are also different from each other. Isabelle has Down syndrome. Charlie doesn’t. Written by Isabelle’s mother, this charming tale encourages readers to think about what makes a friendship special. My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson opens the door for young children to talk about differences and the world around them. 

My gosh, how we love this book. So much so, that it was Isaac’s Book Week costume last year. We’re All Wonders is specifically made for younger readers (with the same characters as the original), following the Auggie and Daisy on an adventure. For those who aren’t familiar with Wonder (check out the movie, too), Auggie Pullman is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his story teaches children to “Choose Kindness”. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. 

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love is such a mesmerising, heart-filled story about self-confidence and love. After seeing three women spectacularly dressed up and full of joy, Julian goes home to dress up just like the ladies he saw in his own fabulous mermaid costume. What follows is a brilliant lesson and a gorgeous book to stare at for hours (the illustrations are divine). 

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? The lovely Last Stop on Market Street helps CJ (and our little listeners) to see the beauty and fun in the world around us all.