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Recommended Reading



Compassion Omaha 


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Here are some of our favorite books that encourage discussion of the many facets of compassion, and urge compassionate action.  Many of the books are suitable for young readers or young adult readers, but are also great reading for adults. Enjoy!


Sources for these sections include:  Dr. Richard White, Sandy Aquila, Roxanne Wach, Linda M. Garcia Perez (Storyteller, Nebraska Humanities Prime Time Family Reading), Seeds of Compassion, Committee for Children, Squidoo, Amazon, Random Acts of Kindness and



A Time of Angels by Karen Hesse

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by The Dalai Lama

All Families Are Special by Norma Simon

Andy and the Lion by James Daughtery

Arlene on the Scene by Carol Liu

Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor

The Can Man Hardcover by Laura E. Williams

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Cultivating Kindness in School: Activities That Promote Integrity, Respect, and Compassion in Elementary and Middle School Students by Ric Stuecker

    This new training program, which includes 72 classroom and schoolwide activities, is built around Three Basic Rules: being kind to ourselves, being kind to one      

    another, and being kind to this space; and The Kindness Pledge: seeking to be positive, putting down put-downs, honoring our differences, discovering our similarities,

    healing our hurts, listening to one another, honoring heroes, reaching higher for success, and living our dreams. During the program, students are rewarded and    

    recognized for their acts of kindness. Cultivating Kindness promotes a positive school environment, lowers tension among groups, decreases the number of disciplinary

    reports, and teaches students the social skills they need to be successful adults.

The Compassionate Life by The Dalai Lama 

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Ethics for the New Millennium by Dalai Lama

Freedom in Exile by Dalai Lama

Friendship, Altruism, and Morality by Lawrence A. Blum

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle

Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud

Health Through Balance by Dr. Yeshi Donden

     Dr. Donden received training in Lhasa, Tibet, and served for over two decades as the personal physician to H.H. the Dalai Lama. A clear and fascinating explanation of

    the Tibetan Medical system. Great for both for lay people and professionals. Dr. Donden’s book was seen on NBC’s Dateline during a feature on Tibetan medicine and

    breast cancer. Tibetan medicine is holistic in nature, emphasizing the relation of mind to body and of the organism to the universe at large.

The Heart of Wisdom: A Philosophy of Spiritual Life by Richard White

    The Heart of Wisdom gives an account of spirituality that draws primarily from ancient philosophy, recent continental thought, and the wisdom traditions of Asia. Each

    chapter examines a different spiritual theme: it starts with suffering and it continues with compassion, generosity, forgiveness, reverence and joy. In this way, The Heart

    of Wisdom describes a spiritual journey from suffering, which is the beginning of spiritual life, to joy, which is the ultimate affirmation of existence. This is the “way of

    philosophy” which has not been examined before; philosophy and spirituality are closely related to each other, and this book shows that the spiritual appeal of

    philosophy is basic.

Home of the Brave by Allen Say

Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores by James Howe

Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs by Sandra Mcleod Humphrey

How to Be Compassionate: A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World by The Dalai Lama

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski (an autistic kid)

Humanity by Jonathan Glover

Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt

Justice by Carey Harrison

Italy in 1946: the war is over and done with, and Italians are united in a desire to forget its horrors. But Miri Gottlieb, an Englishwoman whose Italian husband was killed in the war and whose young son was deported to Auschwitz, never to return, cannot join in the widespread voluntary amnesia. For her, nothing is over and done with yet. There can be no peace while atrocious wartime crimes go unpunished. There has to be a reckoning.  A tale about revenge vs. forgiving the unforgivable.  British novelist, Rose Tremain, wrote of Justice: “I haven’t read a novel in a long time in which I could see the colours and taste the scents so clearly. It lays out the compassionate idea that forgiveness and self-sacrifice can liberate the wronged as consolingly as revenge.”

Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover

Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Wallace

Lifting the Veil: Hidden Judaism Revealed by Steven Evans (The author has generously donated royalties to Compassion Omaha.)

Love’s Philosophy by Richard White

    Love comes in many forms and touches all our lives, and in spite of its changing history, it remains a constant in human experience. In this book I examine friendship,

    romance, parenthood and humanitarian love using classical and contemporary perspectives in philosophy and in literature. I argue that the philosophical neglect of

    love has been a mistake; and by illuminating the historical and contemporary formations of love, I propose alternative models to guide both our thinking and our

    experience of what love is. This book is an original discussion on the nature of love.

Makayla Cares about Others by Virginia Kroll

Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Mirror of Wisdom: Teachings on Emptiness by Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen

     Geshe, a highly respected scholar and meditator and founder of the Ganden Monastery in Tibet, takes you into the understanding of Emptiness

     into a place of the peaceful mind.

The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein

The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

On Kindness by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor

On My Way To A Happy Life by Deepak Chopra

One Dharma by Joseph Goldstein

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Peace Begins With You by Katharine Scholes

Philosophy of the Buddha by Christopher W. Gowans

Prince William by Gloria Rand

Radical Virtues: Moral Wisdom and the Ethics of Contemporary Life by Richard White

    Radical Virtues offers a sustained discussion of the four cardinal virtues – courage, temperance, justice and wisdom – as well as compassion, which can be viewed as the

    most basic aspects of moral goodness. The goal of this book is to rethink each of these virtues by considering philosophical, historical and cross-cultural perspectives.

    Taking an original viewpoint, Radical Virtues also explains how the virtues support and justify particular social movements, including environmentalism, pacifism,

    multiculturalism, social justice and animal rights. Its focus on exemplars such as Socrates, Buddha, Gandhi and Orwell, shows the lived reality of virtue in the context of

    an individual life.

Sam and the Lucky Money Paperback by Karen Chinn

The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson

Say Something by Peggy Moss

Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

The Story Of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

Tibetan Relaxation by Tarthang Tulku

    Yoga healing, energy and relaxation techniques from the Tibetan tradition. Very practical breathing, sitting postures, self body massage and stretching

    with a lot of photographs.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

    In this important and thought-provoking work, Karen Armstrong—one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—provides an    

    impassioned and practical guide to helping us make the world a more compassionate place. The twelve steps she suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion,” and

    close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for

    everybody.” She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to “hear one

    another’s narratives.” Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.

Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions by Martha C. Nussbaum

Visions of Compassion edited by Richard Davidson and Ann Harrington

The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth

Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth



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