The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld, is hands down, my favorite kids’ book that’s come across my desk lately. It’s a simple story about how to respond with compassion when you see someone suffering and it couldn’t come along at a better time.

Doerrfeld’s sweet, minimalist illustrations have captivated my kids, and the important life lesson here could actually help them change the world.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this picture book should be required reading for every child and adult this year.

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The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld: Everyone has an idea of how to help

The book revolves around a child’s block tower falling down, something so mundane that any child can relate. Subsequently, a stream of animals try to comfort him with suggestions for how to fix it, advice on how he could have done better, excuses for the failure, or encouragement for him to try to build again.

The rabbit, however, is the only animal who just listens.

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Once the boy has a friend to hear him out, he is able to process all of the same thinking from the animals on his own — I should have done this, next time I’ll do this, let’s fix it now! Then finally, I’m just sad.

Magically, by just listening, the rabbit is able to help the boy to feel loved, feel better, and eventually to move on.

My hope is that by reading Doerrfeld’s wonderful words, my kids will learn what true compassion and empathy look like — and even that it’s okay for something as small as a fallen block tower to feel like a big tragedy. And I suspect that right along with the kids, even we adults can learn a thing or two here about saving our judgment, and just… listening.

Sometimes that’s what’s needed most.

You can find The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld at our affiliate Amazon, or from your local bookstore or library.