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5 Picture Books That Show Students They Can Change the World


Sharing great books that get students excited to read more is definitely one of the best things about being a teacher. For one thing, it’s a fun and easy way to build an engaging, positive classroom culture. And reading aloud to young people is a highly effective way to improve their reading fluency and comprehension skills. Because of this, we’re so excited to share five beautiful picture books and one amazing reading program, Read to Feed, that all highlight the same powerful idea: Young people can help change the world for the better. And with Read to Feed, your students can make the world a better place through reading!

Why these 5 books?

Each book was recommended by Heifer International, a nonprofit organization with the powerful mission to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For the past 20+ years, their Read to Feed program has provided a free and easy way to get students involved in this worthwhile goal. After checking out the books, keep reading to learn more about how this program will get your students excited and inspired to read books and make the world a better place.

Photograph of the book cover of

This picture book is all about not judging one another by our outward appearances. The book’s beautiful text and images encourage children to look inside other people to see who they truly are and who they can be. It’s perfect for starting conversations about why all people matter.

Photo of the book cover for
Heifer International

This picture book was written especially for Heifer International. It tells the story of Flora, a young girl living in Rwanda. When one of her family’s roosters runs away, Flora embarks on an adventure to get him back. As she does, she learns valuable lessons about the importance of family, responsibility, and the power of a gift. This book is available as a free download at Heifer International.

Photo of the book cover of

This lovely book is an excellent way to begin a conversation about how we can best care for others. The story follows a group of students throughout their school day. Their school is a place where people from all backgrounds learn from one another and celebrate their differences and traditions.

Photo of the book cover for the Heifer International book,
Heifer International

Another stunning Heifer International picture book that you can download for freeWinter in Songming is the story of young Zadou, a boy living in rural China. During the winter, people in his village work together to build improvements onto their homes, and this year, Zadou is able to work alongside his father and the other men in the village to make their home strong so that it will last through many winters to come.

Picture of the book cover for

One of the best ways to help students understand empathy is by discussing the ways in which we’re all the same. This adorable picture book does that beautifully. Through funny and engaging rhymes, the book explains how even superheroes get sad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. It then shows young readers how these superheroes deal with their emotions and how we can use these methods to help us cope with our big feelings too.

The Read to Feed Program

After your students have read some of these amazing stories about young people changing the world for the better, why not keep the momentum going by showing them how they can do the same? Heifer International’s Read to Feed program encourages student reading by incentivizing the number of books, pages, or the amount of time a student spends reading. By reading, your students can raise money to help people all around the world in real, meaningful ways. You and your students can easily keep track of their progress by downloading the Read to Feed app or by using the printable version, available here.

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