Author: Patty Lenz Bovie

Give the gift of reading and compassion

Girl reading book
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

More and more, children’s book authors are featuring characters in their books who are challenged with physical and emotional conditions. With so many kids either managing these disabilities themselves, or becoming familiar with these conditions through others, it can be enlightening for young people to experience life through the eyes of complex characters who aren’t defined by their disability.

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Best picture books to teach children gratitude

Father reading to his daughter at home

Saying “thank you” is one of the first steps in teaching children to appreciate things. But to be truly grateful for what they have, children need to understand what it’s like not to have something — either by experiencing it themselves or witnessing it in others.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, why not take a moment to curl up with a good book that can help your little ones experience gratitude through the eyes of empathetic characters. Here are a few suggestions, for ages 4 and up, that will make a lasting impression on anyone’s heart, no matter their age.

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Reading to teach and heal: More books for 8-12 year olds

Middle-schooler reading book in winter

The holiday season is a time to reflect, find gratitude and show kindness, especially to those who may be struggling. It’s also a great time to escape the chaos and hunker down with a good book.

Why not do both?

Today, there are more and more books about children and teens coping with physical and mental health issues that help young readers empathize with these characters but also relate, especially if they’re faced with a similar condition. We’ve selected five books that will not only make great gifts for the kids on your list, but also will stay with them long after those holiday decorations are put away.


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Reading to teach and heal: Best books for 8-12 year olds

Best books for 8-12 year olds.

Books are great tools for teaching empathy to children. They can help kids understand what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes — someone with a physical or mental disability, chronic illness or learning difference. They can also help kids with medical issues see how other kids cope — which can be validating or even help spark new ideas. And books help younger generations recognize that no matter what obstacle they may face, they’re still just kids, and they’re not alone.

Today, many children’s book authors are weaving characters with medical conditions into their stories with appropriate sensitivity to both inform and create a sense of understanding among readers. Here are four must-reads for 8-12 year olds:

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