Forgiveness is a powerful lesson that children learn from an early age. The concept of forgiveness is taught by teachers in preschool, kindergarten and elementary education classrooms and by parents, grandparents and other family members in homes around the world. Stories provide visual, age-appropriate and engaging representations of forgiveness for children that encourages kids to embrace the concept in their own lives. These age-appropriate stories help children learn what forgiveness is and the specific words they can use to offer and accept forgiveness.
"Veggie Tales" is a series of religious short stories that teach children a variety of Bible stories and religious concepts, and "Hats Off to Lyle: A Story of Forgiveness," by Ronald Kidd, is one example. It focuses on Lyle, who knits Viking hat covers, despite being teased by his peers. Later, those peers realize that they need hat covers, and Lyle learns the value and importance of forgiveness. "Sirena's Tears: A Story about Forgiveness from the Island of Guam," by Maris D'Souza, is about a little girl named Sirena who yells at her mom and runs away to the ocean. Sirena learns about forgiveness as she turns to God for comfort and hurries to make it home before she turns into a mermaid. A young boy spends an entire day getting angry and irritated at friends and family in "Show Each Other Forgiveness," by Melody Carlson. At the end of the day, he learns that he must forgive in order to feel happy.
"The Forgiving Lion" by Efrat Haddi, is a short story appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary-age children. It's about three lion cubs who know how to ask for forgiveness, but aren't willing to grant forgiveness. The moral of the story is that children must learn to forgive if they want to maintain friendships. A story that includes beloved childhood characters, "The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree," by Jan and Mike Berenstain, is about Brother Bear and his friend Cousin Fred, who wrecks Brother's new bicycle. Sister Bear helps Brother remember that forgiveness and friendship are more important than brand new bikes. "The Forgiveness Garden," by Lauren Thompson, is a tale about a boy who once threw a rock at a girl, causing injury, and the families have been enemies ever since. The injured girl, however, refuses to retaliate and, instead, shows both families the value of forgiveness and love instead of revenge and hate.
For Older Kids
Bill the Warthog is a character created by Dean Anderson, and he's featured in several books geared toward older kids. In "King Con," Bill is after a master criminal called The Big Pig, and he's not letting anything get in his way. He soon realizes that he must forgive after a run-in with nine nano ninjas. "The Grudge Keeper," by Mara Rockcliff, is a short, simple story that encourages meaningful discussions among older children. In the story, Cornelius is the Grudge Keeper, and he remembers every wrong ever committed against him; because of this, he doesn't have any friends. When a storm rolls through the village, the people must rescue Cornelius, and along the way he learns to forgive. In "The Last Shall Be First Series: An Act of Forgiveness," by Lily L. Ratliff, a young boy learns how to forgive a group of boys who bully and pick on him constantly. It's a powerful lesson for bullies and victims.
Miscellaneous Stories That Teach Forgiveness
With attractive watercolor illustrations, "Jacob the Dragon Catcher," by Amy McNeil, tells the story of forgiveness with pictures as well as words. Jacob, a young boy, has devoted his time to catching dragons and selling them to zoos, but deep inside he knows that what he's doing is wrong. Eventually, Jacob stops catching dragons and learns how to apologize and ask for forgiveness. "Einstein's Enormous Error," by Shelia Walsh, "Bikes For Rent," by Isaac Olayleye, and "Don't Hug a Grudge," by Donna Perugini, are additional short stories that use colorful illustrations and age-appropriate text to teach children about forgiveness.