9 Resources for Finding Children’s Books with Humane Themes

by Marsha Rakestraw

Children’s literature is often a reflection of society (and sometimes an influencer).

As we humans continue to make progress in doing more good and less harm and in striving to create a better world, we’re seeing more books for children that explore and celebrate those themes.

Although we can search online for keywords of interest, it’s not always easy to find children’s books that address humane issues; so we’ve created a list of eight sources to get you started.

1.  Animal Issues Books for Children
HEART maintains a list of children’s books for ages 2-10 that highlight the human-animal bond and promote empathy for animals and people.

2.  ADL Books Matter
The Anti-Defamation League has a long list of suggested books for children and young adults on topics ranging from ableism and hate to genocide and social justice.

3.  Amelia Bloomer Project
A task force of the American Library Association creates a list each year of recommended feminist literature for ages birth through 18.

4.  Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards
Each year this award recognizes children’s books that “effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence.”

5. A Mighty Girl
This resource includes thousands of suggested girl-empowering books in a variety of categories, including social issues.

6.  Reach and Teach
Reach and Teach is a store offering products related to peacemaking, social justice, environmental protection,  and they have a whole slew of suggested books.

7.  6 Elements of Social Justice list
An annotated list of children’s books, categorized by the 6 Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (from respecting others to raising awareness and taking action). The list is updated by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University.

8. Social Justice Books
This site offers suggested multicultural and social justice books and booklists for young people of all ages.

9.  Vegbooks
Created as a resource for adults to support the veg kids in their lives, but the scope of the kinds of books reviewed has expanded into environmental and social justice issues as well.

What resources do you use for finding children’s books with humane themes?