The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur is right around the corner (this year, it starts on the evening of Sept. 15). This solemn day for Jews to focuses on repenting and turning back to a path of kindness and respect. Whether or not you celebrate this holiday, it creates a great opportunity for conversations about forgiveness and apologizing with your children..

For most kids, these are not easy concepts to grasp. And, to be perfectly honest, I am reasonably sure that many adults grapple with it as well. We talk about forgiving but not forgetting or even just wander around holding a grudge for slights of any size. Being able to forgive another person helps children forge healthy relationships with others.

The flip side of forgiveness is the apology. Admitting that you have done something wrong is hard. It brings up feelings of shame and embarrassment. It sometimes is even the reason that children lie.

One safe way to talk about complicated topics is through literature. Here are some books for different age groups that talk about forgiveness and apologies.

Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox

I Love My New Toy by Mo Willems

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

No David! by David Shannon

Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen

The Hardest Word by Jacqueline Jules

For more on apologies, check out this past post on secret to crafting an effective apology. It’s more than just saying I’m sorry.