A poll by Amnesty International UK found that more than half of parents participating believe reading books encourages their children to empathize with others. Parents also listed books they believe help their children see things from a different perspective. Topping the list? Two very different books for two age groups (and some of my favorites): The BFG by Roald Dahl and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
I agree that books have the power to encourage empathy in all readers, not just children. When you can understand how a character feels, especially a character who is different than you are, then you are more likely to transmit that understanding to your personal relationships.
Read more about the poll and find out about other books parents chose at TheGuardian.com.