Compassion and service are traits that we want to encourage in young people. These books for young readers exemplify these attitudes in a variety of situations by different types of people.
Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair, by Patricia Polacco
Okay, a book by one of my favorite children's authors that features a librarian heroine, is bound to be on the list. It is also a tale that shows humor and a morality tale can exist together. The town of Triple Creek are obsessed with television. People don't read their books, they use them as tables, bricks, etc. Aunt Chip the former librarian does the unthinkable, she teaches the children to read. Things rapidly progress from there, unleashing a flood of change.
The Clown of God, by Tomie de Paola
My favorite story, from my favorite author. This is an Italian version of the Juggler of Notre Dame. The story shows that all people have something to give, to contribute. If we give happiness to others, we are giving a gift. An excellent example of how no gift given in love is ever a waste.
The Emperor and the Kite, by Jane Yolen & Ed Young
Princess Djeow Seow spends her days playing with a kite made from paper and sticks because her family ignores her. When her father is held prisoner is a tall tower her skills save him. All gifts and talents have value. All persons are deserving of respect because we all have something to contribute.
Symphony of Whales, by Steve Schuch
This is a fictionalized account of the thousands of whales that were trapped in the Siberian Senyavina Strait. In Schuch's version of the story, young Glashka can speak to whales. She hears their songs in her head. It is Glashka who helps the adults to know how to lead the whales to safety.
Related Article: Come Meet Tomie de Paola!