Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Books That Inspire Compassion

One of the most wonderful things about good fiction, in my opinion, is its power to trasnport the reader not only to a different time or place, but to a different mindset.  One of the best ways to teach compassion to our children is to let them see through someone else's eyes by immersing themselves in a good story.

To that end, three of my favorite stories that inspire compassion for those who are "different":

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely and deeply moving book about a 5th-grader with a facial deformity going to school for the first time.  Palacio uses different viewpoints to tell Auggie's story, the most compelling being Auggie's own perspective on what it's like to be him.  The only con to this story is that you might have Natalie Merchant's song stuck in your head the whole time you read it.

RulesRules by Cynthia Lord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve-year-old Catherine's little brother has autism, and the "Rules" she comes up with to help him be more "normal" (including "keep your pants on in public")might make readers laugh, but her friendship with a paraplegic boy and her growing awareness of the kind of person she wants to be will also inspire.

Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fifth-grader Melody has cerebral palsy and is trapped inside her own body and head.  Unable to speak, she still learns to find her voice.

In case you are thinking that these are only books for grade-schoolers, think again.  Even grown-ups need the reminder to be a little more compassionate!

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