Teaching children how to forgive can be challenging, particularly if you struggle in the area of forgiveness yourself. Many children's picture and fiction books explore the issue of forgiveness in stories specifically geared to children. These stories can help you guide your children in learning how to forgive others as well as themselves.
The Hundred Dresses
A children's fiction novel by Eleanor Estes, "The Hundred Dresses" tells the story of an impoverished girl who undergoes extensive teasing and bullying by school classmates. The tormented girl makes a final gesture of kindness that captures the power and importance of forgiveness. Anita Silvey, in "The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators," praises the book both for its effective exploration of childhood cruelty and for its overriding theme of forgiveness and understanding.
Gershon's Monster: A Story for the New Year
A children's picture book by Eric A. Kimmel, "Gershon's Monster: A Story for the New Year" tells the story of a man who encounters a sea monster and learns about the importance of forgiveness. Louise Margaret Granahan, in "Children's Books That Nurture the Spirit: Choosing and Using the Best," recommends the story as a powerful one about forgiveness and repentance from the perspective of the Jewish faith, but she cautions that some of the story elements may be too complicated or frightening for younger children.
VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them?!?
A 32-minute video from Big Idea Productions and Everland Entertainment, "VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them?!?" explores the theme of forgiveness within two short, animated stories. "The Grapes of Wrath" focuses on learning how to forgive insensitive people, and "Larry's Lagoon" looks at forgiveness from the perspective of the Christian faith. Granahan recommends the video, explaining that children will appreciate the humorous cast of vegetable characters and the simple and straightforward messages.
A children's fiction book by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, "Shiloh" tells the story of the friendship between a poor boy and a mistreated dog set in rural West Virginia. The boy's kindness to the dog and forgiveness toward the dog's cruel owner helps to bring about a change in the lives of all involved. Miriam Johnson, in "Building a Child's Library: Inside Twenty-Five Classic Children's Stories," explains that the book not only examines the struggle between good and evil but also explores the importance of love and forgiveness.
The Coat of Many Colors
A children's picture book by Jenny Koralek, "The Coat of Many Colors" retells the Biblical story of Joseph from the Old Testament. The book tells about Joseph being sold into slavery by his older brothers and then choosing to forgive those same brothers. Jill Rigby, in "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World," recommends the story, explaining that children can learn from Joseph growing to become a wise and forgiving young man, despite the cruelty that he encountered at the hands of his family.
- "The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators"; Anita Silvey; 2002
- "Children's Books That Nurture the Spirit: Choosing and Using the Best"; Louise Margaret Granahan; 2003
- "Building a Child's Library: Inside Twenty-Five Classic Children's Stories"; Miriam Johnson; 2004
- "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World"; Jill Rigby; 2008