Two children sitting at a table reading picture books and surrounded by bins and shelves of children's books

19 Lists of Children’s Picture Books for Your Humane Education Classroom

by Marsha Rakestraw

Children’s books are a terrific tool for sharing positive values, teaching students (in age-appropriate ways) about global ethical issues, and inspiring them to take positive action.

They are a powerful part of any classroom and curriculum.

Here’s a round-up of 19 of our lists of suggested children’s picture books on a variety of topics that are relevant for any humane education classroom.

1. 11 Children’s Picture Books That Shatter Gender Stereotypes
Help students cultivate an understanding of healthy gender and identity roles.

2. 14 Children’s Picture Books About Kindness
Help students embrace kindness as a daily habit.

3. 14 Children’s Picture Books Exploring Race and Racism
Help students become more comfortable and skilled in talking about race and racism.

4. 12 Children’s Picture Books That Challenge Traditional Gender Roles
Help students celebrate gender diversity and challenge traditional gender roles.

5. 16 Children’s Picture Books About People Helping Animals
Share these picture books featuring people helping nonhuman animals.

6. 12 Children’s Picture Books About Access to Education
Help students – especially those in privileged circumstances – explore issues surrounding access to education.

7. 12 Children’s Picture Books About Families With Gay Parents
Help students explore the diversity of families and the importance of acceptance.

8. 14 Picture Books About Women Changemakers
Help students see girls and women in meaningful roles as changemakers.

9. 12 Children’s Picture Books About Sharing
Spark discussion about sharing with others and sharing the Earth.

10. 14 Children’s Picture Books About Homelessness
Help students explore homelessness and the kindness we’re capable of.

11. 21 Children’s Picture Books for Exploring Eco-Friendly Actions
Share these books that can help inspire a desire in students to care for the earth.

12. 13 Children’s Picture Books About Bullying
Help students explore issues of bullying, refusing to be a bystander, and what it means to be a good citizen.

13. 13 Children’s Picture Books Whose Characters Have Special Needs
These stories with human or nonhuman characters that have physical or mental challenges can help expand students’ concept of “normal” and exposes them to a wider array of experiences, building empathy and acceptance.

14. 12 Children’s Picture Books About Human Rights Issues
Help students understand that each of us has certain rights that are meant to help us live with sufficiency, safety, and dignity, and sometimes those rights are denied.

15. Treehuggers: Children’s Picture Books Honoring Trees
Help students fall in love with trees and understand how important they are.

16. 16 Children’s Picture Books About Refugees
Help students understand what’s happening with refugees and why.

17. Children’s Picture Books About War and Peace
Help students understand and explore issues related to war and peace.

18. 11 Children’s Books About Nonviolent Protest and Resistance
Share these historical and contemporary examples of effective nonviolent protest and resistance.

19. 14 Children’s Picture Books About Solutionaries
Share these stories of people who have made a positive difference in the world.

Find more booklists (and other resources and tools) on our Humane Connection blog.

For more recommended books for children and young adults, check out our online Solutionary Hub.