Best Kids Books About Forgiveness

The Best 17 Books To Read With Your Child 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.

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.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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!

Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic book
#6
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.

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.

I am absolutely boiling book
#8
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?

We all need forgiveness book
#9
We all need forgiveness
Written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Since 1975, Mercer Mayer has been writing and illustrating stories about Little Critter® and the antics he stumbles into while growing up. Tommy Nelson is thrilled to bring this beloved brand to the Christian market with the Inspired Kids line of faith-based books featuring Little Critter.

You Poked My Heart! book
#10
You Poked My Heart!
Written by Brandy Cooke and illustrated by Laura Logan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Introducing You Poked My Heart!, a sweet board book featuring adorable puppies! Mom has a surprise for Sue and Lou. Two balloons! A red heart for Lou and a yellow one for Sue. Lou loves his red balloon, but Sue is disappointed with hers and wants Lou's. She tries to take his balloon and accidentally pops it, prompting him to say, "You poked my heart!" Lou becomes very sad. Sue tries to fix the situation and finds a long, skinny red balloon, which she twists and fashions into a heart shape. Sue and Lou make up, and all is well again. Featuring adorable puppy illustrations by illustrator Laura Logan, this book is sure to tug (not poke!) at everyone's heart!

The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree book
#11
The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree
Written by Jan Berenstain and illustrated by Mike Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Cousin Fred accidentally damages Brother's brand-new bike,Brother Bear is angry. Can Sister Bear help him see that forgiving hisfriend is the right thing to do?

Enemy Pie book
#12
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

The Bear Who Stared book
#13
The Bear Who Stared
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

Martha doesn't say sorry! book
#14
Martha doesn't say sorry!
Written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Adorably clad in her pink dress and matching headband, Martha is ready to do just about anything-except say those three little words: I am sorry. But when this sweet but stubborn otter learns that niceties like cookies, piggyback rides, and hugs are for people who apologize our mischievous heroine learns the ultimately rewarding feeling that comes with saying she's sorry. Parents and kids alike will embrace the hilarious watercolor illustrations and the irreverent humor throughout in this pitch-perfect picture book that offers the gentlest of lessons.

Three Bears in a Boat book
#15
Three Bears in a Boat
Written and illustrated by David Soman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Afraid to face their mother after breaking her beautiful blue seashell, three bears set out on an high seas adventure to try to find a replacement.

Mouse Says "Sorry" book
#16
Mouse Says "Sorry"
Written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Oriol Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Mouse is late for supper and must use his manners to get home.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word book
#17
Desmond and the Very Mean Word
Written by Desmond Tutu and illustrated by A. G. Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

While riding his new bicycle Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.