Young adult books that teach empathy

The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow

Zana Fraillon

Subhi's imagination is as big as the ocean and wide as the sky, but his world is much smaller: he's spent his whole life in an immigration detention centre. The Bone Sparrow is a powerful, heartbreaking, sometimes funny...

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13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why

Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and first love - who committed suicide. Hannah's voice explains there are...

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The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas

A powerful and brave YA novel about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century.

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The Protected,

The Protected,

Claire Zorn

A compulsively readable novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky So Heavy. The worst thing that could happen would be for my life to go back to how it was before Katie died. Hannah's world has imploded, all thanks to her older...

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 Read reviewWhen Michael Met Mina

When Michael Met Mina

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Michael has always believed that everything in life is black and white. But that was before he met Mina.

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This One Summer

This One Summer

Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki

Every summer, Rose goes with her mum and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different.

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 Read reviewThe Things We Promise

The Things We Promise

J. C. Burke

Gemma's older brother Billy made her a promise that he would ensure she looked fabulous for her first school formal. But his circumstances change dramatically and Billy's promise becomes the least of the family's concerns.

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Becoming Aurora

Becoming Aurora

Elizabeth Kasmer

Sixteen-year-old Rory is at a crossroads in her life. While her gang plans its next move in a racially motivated turf war, Rory is sentenced to spend her summer at an aged care facility.

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Trouble Tomorrow

Trouble Tomorrow

Terry Whitebeach, Sarafino Wani Enadio

The compelling story of a Sudanese boy who escapes from civil war and learns not only how to survive on his own without friend or family, but how to construct a new and peaceful way of living.

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Beck

Beck

Mal Peet, Meg Rosoff

The final novel from Carnegie Medal-winning author Mal Peet is a sweeping coming-of-age adventure, with all the characteristic beauty and strenth of his prose.

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 Read reviewAll I Ever Wanted

All I Ever Wanted

Vikki Wakefield

Mim knows what she wants, and where she wants to go - anywhere but home, stuck in the suburbs with her mother who won't get off the couch, and two brothers in prison. She has set herself rules to live by, but she's starting to...

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 Read reviewMr Romanov's Garden in the Sky

Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky

Robert Newton

Living in the commission, Lexie is left to fend for herself. Her mother is mostly absent, out searching for something to help her forget the tragic death of Lexie's dad. But then, after witnessing the aftermath  of a shocking...

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Freedom Swimmer

Freedom Swimmer

Wai Chim

This incredible tale about two boys' swim from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom from poverty and oppression is inspired by a true story.

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Sister Heart

Sister Heart

Sally Morgan

A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships. ...

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Everything Beautiful

Everything Beautiful

Simmone Howell (AUTHOR)

Riley doesn't want to be at Spirit Ranch Holiday Camp with its jumpsuit-wearing counsellors, the feel-good mantras, do-gooder campers and the monotonous schedule of team-building exercises and outdoor activities. But is everything...

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Becoming Kirrali Lewis

Becoming Kirrali Lewis

Jane Harrison

Set within the explosive cultural shifts of the 1960s and 1980s, Becoming Kirrali Lewis chronicles the journey of a young Aboriginal teenager as she leaves her home town in rural Victoria to take on a law degree in...

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The Sun is also a Star

The Sun is also a Star

Nicola Yoon

The dazzling new novel from Nicola Yoon, the New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything.  

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 Read reviewMax

Max

Sarah Cohen-Scali, Penny Hueston

A compelling and chilling read about a young boy's ambition to become a model soldier in Nazi Germany.

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