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Pre-K

Unforgettable Picture Books About Forgiveness for Kids Ages 3 – 5

by Patricia J. Murphy

prek-books-forgiveness
Photo credit: aydinmutlu, E+ Collection/Getty Images

Maya Angelou once said, “Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It’s not for the other person.” But, as we all know, it’s easier said than done for kids and adults alike. And since kids aren’t born knowing how to say sorry (and mean it), they need patience, modeling, and direct teaching to learn how to apologize and to accept another person’s apology.

To offer a helping hand on the first steps of your child’s life-long journey of forgiving, I’ve compiled a list of picture books that provide heartfelt examples of bears, bunnies, llamas, and humans apologizing and offering forgiveness for a variety of misunderstandings and misdeeds.

While these books are perfect for little ones, they also offer strategies for the entire family to experience the power of forgiving — and forgetting!

  • Turtle in a Tree

    by Neesha Hudson

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    Exploring the question “Would you rather be happy or right?”, this short but mighty read-aloud looks at differing perspectives. A greyhound and a bulldog disagree on whether or not there's a turtle in a tree. If either of them is right, can they remain friends?

    The story’s genius use of white space, spare text, sound effects, and humor offers a beautiful lesson on the value of multiple perspectives.

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  • Sorry (Really Sorry)

    by Joanna Cotler, illustrated by Harry Bliss

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    The barnyard is embroiled in one big bad mood fest. It all started when Cow kicked mud in Duck’s face and refused to apologize. The bad mood spreads to Duck, Frog, Bird, Goat, and Pig in no time. Well, that is until Dog embarks on a mission to turn “not sorry” into “really sorry,” flip the barnyard’s frown upside down, and mend hurt feelings.

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  • That's My Carrot

    by Il Sung Na

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    When two headstrong bunnies discover a carrot sprouting between their gardens, they both want to claim it. But when they try to dig it up, it mysteriously disappears! To get to the bottom of this mystery, they must work together to find a solution. And while they are at it, maybe they will uncover the power of forgiveness — and friendship, too!

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  • The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight

    by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain

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    Things are a bit stormy between Brother and Sister Bear. They're not even sure what they're fighting over. Things get even stormier until they find a way to make up (with some encouragement from Mama and Papa.) The story weaves an excellent metaphor of a storm and a rainbow to illustrate how relationships can be tumultuous at times until the sun comes out — and a rainbow appears.

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  • Big Red Lollipop

    by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

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    This sweet and beautifully illustrated book begins when Rubina gets invited to a birthday party, and Mom insists that her little sister tag along. This sticky situation goes from bad to worse when the little sister becomes the worst birthday guest ever and jeopardizes Rubina's friendships — and a prized party favor. This sweet story of sibling rivalry and forgiveness will become a favorite of sisters everywhere.

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  • The Invisible Boy

    by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton

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    On one side, this is a heartbreaking story about feeling invisible to other people and the resilience of a child to survive without the help of teachers and friends. On the other side, it is a life-affirming story of the power of friendship, forgiveness, trust, and resiliency. A must-read for parents, teachers, caregivers, and kids, this book helps readers see invisible children and help them feel seen, too. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

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  • I'm Sorry!

    by Barry Timms, illustrated by Sean Julian

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    Can best friends Scribble and Swoop repair their friendship after a terrible argument? It depends on if the one who caused the riff apologizes — and means it. This heartwarming story will help teach youngsters how to apologize and why it’s not just saying “I’m sorry” with words, but with one's heart.

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  • Llama Llama and the Bully Goat

    by Anna Dewdney

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    Oh, no! Llama Llama and his friends are being teased and called names by their classmate, Gilroy Goat, and they don't know what to do. Then their teacher offers strategies to help them deal with a bully and hopefully find a way to be friends with Gilroy. This story provides young readers (and bullies) a first look at bullying and the power of forgiveness.

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  • The Power of One

    by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Mike Curato

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    This story celebrates ‘the power of one’ act of kindness by one child to another that sets off a chain reaction. The results of her generosity change her, her school, and her entire community. While the book’s message will touch hearts, the concrete steps that the readers can take will change lives. Warning: this is a powerful read!

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