Nurturing Compassion for Animals

Nurturing Compassion for Animals

Showing compassion to animals is a mitzvah, tz'ar ba'alei chayim.

Parents can do a lot to instill values in children that reflect the mitzvah of animal care. PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is one of the largest animal rights organizations in the world. On its website, in a "Living" article titled "Teaching Kids Compassion Toward Animals," PETA reminds parents that "the easiest and most important way to teach your little ones empathy is to lead by example."


The PJ Library selections below focus on the value of showing kindness to animals. Read them aloud with your family to talk about ways you can care for animals in your everyday lives:

A Hen for Izzy Pippik

A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis

Recommended for ages 6 to 8

What’s a girl to do when she finds a chicken and can’t return it to its owner? How long should she wait before calling the bird (and its many offspring!) her own? Shaina seems prepared to wait forever for Izzy Pippik to return.

Chicken Man

Chicken Man by Michelle Edwards

Recommended for ages 4 to 5

An Israeli kibbutz is the setting for this tale in which a man always does his best regardless of the job he is given, though he’d prefer to be working in the chicken coops. Read The Origins of Chicken Man for some fun facts about how author Michelle Edwards was inspired to write this story.

How to Heal a Broken Wing

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham

Recommended for ages 4 to 5

This quiet story of a boy, a bird, and a broken wing relates the power of compassion, patience, and hope.

Ketzel the Cat Who Composed

Ketzel the Cat Who Composed by Lesléa Newman

Age Recommendation

Moshe was a composer -- and he was inspired by the sounds he heard every day in Israel. But one day he heard a very small sound -- and it came from Ketzel the kitten! Ketzel went home with Moshe and helped him make beautiful music. Learn more about why PJ Library chose this book.


Six Ways to Show Kindness to Animals
11 Children's Books About the Jewish Value of Caring for Animals
Educator's Resource: Old MacNoah Had a Farm Program and Activities