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Alternative Culture Magazine

Ten Books That Teach Compassion

By Heather Moore
Senior Writer
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Thirty years have passed since Peter Singer’s ground-breaking book, Animal Liberation, was first published, but it’s still considered to be the bible of the animal rights movement. This influential book introduces readers to the term speciesism (discrimination against nonhuman animals) and explains why all beings who are capable of suffering are worthy of equal consideration. Animal Liberation is the one book not to be missed by anyone seeking a better understanding of the philosophy behind the animal rights movement.

But if you are looking for a somewhat more heartening, uplifting book that illustrates kindness and empathy, the following 10 books will touch your soul and show you how to live compassionately:

Peace to all Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken's Soul
by Judy Carman

This spiritual book discusses how reverence for all life is the path to peace for people, animals, and the world. Although the author doesn’t advocate one religion over another, she does encourage readers to be more compassionate to animals in order to become closer to a higher power. Her affirmations and prayers for animals, along with her faith in positive thinking, help readers transform knowledge of cruelty to animals into positive thought and action for animals. Peace to all Beings has something for caring people of all faiths—Hindu prayers, Christian prayers, Buddhist prayers, Jewish prayers, and more.




Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times
by Zoe Weil

This book is perfect for parents. The author, a pioneer in the field of humane education, offers 10 key characteristics of a humane life and suggests a plan for nurturing these qualities in children. Above All, Be Kind includes chapters for early, middle, teenage, and young adult years, as well as activities—, everyday situations that present opportunities to teach compassion— and tips on being role models for the children in our lives. Weil touches on every topic, from cats and dogs to circuses and zoos to experimentation and veganism. The book is engaging and anecdotal and contains wonderful role-playing ideas. 




Living in Harmony with Animals
by Carla Bennett

Carla Bennett, PETA’s “Kindness Consultant” and regular “Ask Carla” columnist for Animal Times, is a fountain of expert advice about animal rights. She draws on a lifetime of experience to answer questions about coexisting peacefully with animals in all sorts of situations. In Living in Harmony with Animals, Carla covers everything from dealing with allergies to animals, reasons to go vegan, traveling with companion animals, shopping tips for caring consumers, myths and realities about hunting, and more.




Animal Angels: Amazing Acts of Love and Compassion
by Stephanie Laland

Laland, the bestselling author of Peaceful Kingdom: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals, now offers another collection of true, heartwarming stories about remarkable animals—not only dogs and cats, but also gorillas, dolphins, seagulls, rats, and pigs—who have performed amazing acts of love and compassion. In addition to touching stories about animals who saved their guardians’ lives, Animal Angels also tells of animals who defended and cared for others not of their species, even those who are natural enemies. Animal Angels is so named because if humans performed such acts of altruism and kindness they would surely be called saints.




Minding Animals
by Marc Bekoff

Scientist Marc Bekoff takes us on a thought-provoking tour of the emotional and mental world of animals. Bekoff points out why an “us versus them” mindset fosters disconnectedness from other beings, and reminds us, by recounting his own experiences and those of others, that animals—their intelligence and their emotions—should be considered, not by human standards, but by their own.




Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living
by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Foreword by Sir Paul McCartney

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s brand- new book covers everything from how to make humane choices that cause you to feel good about yourself, your relationships, and how you treat others to tried, true and brand new compassionate options for furnishing a home. The book includes tips on planting a garden, volunteering your time, cooking for yourself or your family, traveling with animals, nicely evicting insects from your home and more! The book has something for everyone, with stories and sayings all along the way.





Voices from the Garden: Stories of Becoming Vegetarian
Edited by Sharon and Daniel Towns

Voices from the Garden consists of nearly 50 personal stories about the motivations, concerns, and life journeys of people from all walks of life who have chosen to become vegetarians. It is a wonderful inspiration for those who hope to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle and an affirmation to those who have already done do.




Saving Emily
by Nicholas Read

This touching children’s book about the relationship that develops between a boy and a cow is not just told through the eyes of the boy, but also through the eyes of Emily the cow.  It compels children to empathize with animals and gives them a feeling of empowerment so that they can stand up for animals, too. It’s never too soon to teach children to be kind to animals. Saving Emily is best for kids ages 8 to 12.




A Perfect World
by Debra Trione

Author Debra Trione asked PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk and more than 50 other influential people to name two things that they hope will be true about the world in 50 years, to tell her about the environment in which they personally thrive, and to paint a picture of their ideal world. The author agrees that a vision of a perfect world would have to include the well-being of animals and plants, as well as humans.

For Bea: The Story of a Beagle who Changed my Life
by Kristin Von Kreisler
Foreword by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

For Bea is  the tale of an unforgettable canine and the human she inspired by her ability to overcome past grief and live utterly in the present. Bea, a beagle abandoned from a research laboratory, teaches the author that even the smallest packages can deliver the power of love in a way that changes our lives forever.

These books will give you a real insight into the animal rights movement and hopefully inspire and motivate you to action. They can be found in your local bookstore or ordered from




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