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28 Favorite Kids Books About Forgiveness

Updated Mar. 26, 2019

We love and agree with the quote from Mahatma Gandhi that says, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." As parents, we are able to forgive our little ones often for mistakes big and small--like coloring on the walls, dropping grape juice on the carpet, or disobeying. While parents can be the ultimate examples of forgiveness for their littles, we can also read to them about forgiveness to help them understand it and develop it as they grow.

Top 10 Forgiveness Books

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The charming rhyming text and sweet yet spunky illustrations of The Snatchabook were created by a husband and wife team—how cool! Together they weave a FANTASTIC story about a love of reading and friendship that teaches kindness, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness… all while being absolutely enjoyable! This is sure to become an all-time favorite—it is one of ours!

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

The Hundred Dresses book
#2
The Hundred Dresses
Written by Eleanor Estes and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Thoughts from Grammy

Although this story is many decades old, it's message is every bit as relevant today as when the book was first published. I had read the book of a couple of times before I heard an audio version and the difference was dramatic, to actually hear the taunting, teasing girls. Don't think for a minute that just because this book is 'about dresses' that it wouldn't apply to boys as well. Every reader will easily be able to imagine themselves at the brunt of the teasing. The lessons of kindness, acceptance, and even forgiveness.

Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is "never going to stand by and say nothing again." This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.

Jake and Lily book
#3
Jake and Lily
Written and illustrated by Jerry Spinelli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The best part about this book is the lesson on bullying. Not only do you have the characters witnessing bullying, one of the main characters takes part in bullying and walks through the feelings he has after, the forgiveness he receives, the empathy he gains, and what he does to try to make up for his actions.

This is a story about me, Lily. And me, Jake. We're twins and we're exactly alike. Not exactly! Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me. Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood. Right. So anyway, this is a book about goobers and supergoobers bullies clubhouses true friends things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt and about figuring out who we are. We wrote this together (sort of) so you'll get to see both sides of our story. But you'll probably agree with my side. You always have to have the last word, don't you? Yes!

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book
#4
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This was a very cute story. Lilly was infatuated with her teacher. She thought he was the greatest. She wanted to be a teacher like him when she grew up. She pretended to be him at home, and she even bought a chain for her glasses just like his. Then the unthinkable happened. She had brought something very special to school and wanted to show everyone. Her teacher asked her to wait. She could not. She finally could not handle it and did not listen to her teacher. This caused some trouble and tension between the two of them. She was very very sad because she had really liked her teacher before. The best part is how her family helps her overcome this difficulty and she learns to apologize and to listen.

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly's fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends. Lilly, the star of Chester's Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, is back. And this time she has her name in the title - something she's wanted all along. If you thought Lilly was funny before, you are in for a treat. So hurry up and start reading. Lilly can't wait for you to find out more about her.

Lumberjack's Beard book
#5
Lumberjack's Beard
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This is a meaningful tale of making mistakes, trying to make things right again, and conservation, couched in the lighthearted tale of a lumberjack who loves flannel, limbering exercises, and tall stacks of pancakes with maple syrup. It's a fun story with a playful illustration style and is sure to become a favorite!

Every day, Jim Hickory the lumberjack heads into the forest with his trusty axe and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard - until one day it all just gets too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! A story with a green message.

No, David! book
#6
No, David!
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

America's favorite trouble maker will fill your home with good-natured laughter in this brand-new board book that celebrates 20 years of the bestselling, Caldecott-winning classic!

Horrible Bear! book
#7
Horrible Bear!
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The New York Times-bestselling duo behind Wolfie the Bunny presents a hilarious new book about accidents, outbursts, manners...and the power of saying "I'm sorry." Bear didn't mean to break a little girl's kite, but she's upset anyway--upset enough to shout "HORRIBLE BEAR!" Bear is indignant. He doesn't think he's horrible! Then Bear gets a truly Horrible Bear idea. What will he do next? As Bear prepares to live up to his formerly undeserved reputation, the girl makes a mistake of her own, and realizes that maybe--just maybe--Bear isn't as horrible as she had thought.

Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic book
#8
Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Best friends Max and Marla are back in this charming spring tale of friendship and forgiveness Max and Marla know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So when the first sunny day of spring comes along, they've got the perfect plan--a picnic! They pack up their favorite dishes and their comfiest blanket and then they're off to the lake. Once they settle in, Max realizes the picnic needs one more thing to be just right: a bouquet for Marla. But while he's gone, Marla falls asleep, leaving their picnic prey to some thieving squirrels. Max returns to find their spread ruined and says it's all Marla's fault. But best friends can't stay mad for long . . . Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic is another adorable ode to friendship from fan favorite Alexandra Boiger.

Honey Moon Shiver book
#9
Honey Moon Shiver
Written and illustrated by Joyce Magnin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This was a fun, magical book about honesty, friendship, and forgiveness. I also think the hint of Halloween as they live in the town of Sleepy Hollow is a great addition to the book, which makes it a fun read for fall or any time of the year! When Honey gets caught in a tangle of lies, she learns that telling the truth is always the best policy, and she also learns to forgive her friend.

"Honey Moon is in a terrible pickle. She borrowed her mother's precious silver locket without permission and now the family heirloom has gone missing. Honey suspects it was taken by one of her best friends. She sets out to find the necklace before her mother notices it's gone. Along the way, Honey meets Shiver, who turns out to be much more than the owner of the newest popsicle shop in Sleepy Hollow. With Shiver's guidance and a bit of magic, Honey is able to track down the locket and learn the importance of telling the truth and the power of forgiveness."--Amazon.com.

I am absolutely boiling book
#10
I am absolutely boiling
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Charlie and Lola are trying their best to beat the summer heat, but things go from hot to boiling when Lola refuses to talk to her neighbor, Arnold Wolf. He accidentally knocked her ice cream to the ground and won't apologize. Now Lola says that she will not ever, NEVER forgive him. Can Charlie help Lola change her mind?

Books About Friendship & Forgiveness

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The charming rhyming text and sweet yet spunky illustrations of The Snatchabook were created by a husband and wife team—how cool! Together they weave a FANTASTIC story about a love of reading and friendship that teaches kindness, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness… all while being absolutely enjoyable! This is sure to become an all-time favorite—it is one of ours!

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic book
#2
Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Best friends Max and Marla are back in this charming spring tale of friendship and forgiveness Max and Marla know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So when the first sunny day of spring comes along, they've got the perfect plan--a picnic! They pack up their favorite dishes and their comfiest blanket and then they're off to the lake. Once they settle in, Max realizes the picnic needs one more thing to be just right: a bouquet for Marla. But while he's gone, Marla falls asleep, leaving their picnic prey to some thieving squirrels. Max returns to find their spread ruined and says it's all Marla's fault. But best friends can't stay mad for long . . . Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic is another adorable ode to friendship from fan favorite Alexandra Boiger.

Honey Moon Shiver book
#3
Honey Moon Shiver
Written and illustrated by Joyce Magnin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This was a fun, magical book about honesty, friendship, and forgiveness. I also think the hint of Halloween as they live in the town of Sleepy Hollow is a great addition to the book, which makes it a fun read for fall or any time of the year! When Honey gets caught in a tangle of lies, she learns that telling the truth is always the best policy, and she also learns to forgive her friend.

"Honey Moon is in a terrible pickle. She borrowed her mother's precious silver locket without permission and now the family heirloom has gone missing. Honey suspects it was taken by one of her best friends. She sets out to find the necklace before her mother notices it's gone. Along the way, Honey meets Shiver, who turns out to be much more than the owner of the newest popsicle shop in Sleepy Hollow. With Shiver's guidance and a bit of magic, Honey is able to track down the locket and learn the importance of telling the truth and the power of forgiveness."--Amazon.com.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Enemy Pie - It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.

  2. The Bear Who Stared - There once was a bear who liked to stare... and stare... and STARE. Bear doesn't mean to be rude, he's just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

  3. The Selfish Giant - A beloved tale that has lasted for generations, The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s greatest writers, tells the tale of a very selfish giant, his wonderful garden, the curious and playful village children, and, of course, the little child who changes the giant’s heart. A beloved classic in English literature, The Selfish Giant may be Oscar Wilde’s greatest story of redemption and forgiveness. Newly illustrated by renowned artist Jeanne Bowman, this fantastic edition of this famous tale showcases Wilde’s story in a pallet and composition that will delight and inspire both young and old and will become a family treasure to be read again and again.

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