Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Finding Comfort in the Pages of Chicken Soup for the Soul


The first time I picked up a Chicken Soup for the Soul book off my mother’s bookshelf as a child, I didn’t know then how much these unassuming little books would impact my life. As I curled up on the couch and started reading the first story, I was immediately hooked by the heartwarming tales of love, kindness, and the human spirit.

Over 25 years later and with over 250 titles published, the Chicken Soup series has become a juggernaut franchise with stories that inspire, uplift, and rekindle our faith in humanity. As I reflect on what makes these books so special, a few key qualities stand out that keep me coming back as a longtime fan.

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

You can find Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are two of America’s most beloved and influential personal development authors and speakers. Best known for their iconic Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, Canfield and Hansen have helped millions of people around the world achieve their dreams and live more fulfilling lives through their uplifting stories and practical wisdom.

With over 500 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books sold globally, Canfield and Hansen demonstrate an uncanny ability to inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds. Their relatable stories impart important life lessons about positivity, self-esteem, goal setting, overcoming adversity, acts of kindness and compassion that resonate universally. The widespread popularity of the Chicken Soup series placed Canfield and Hansen at the forefront of the personal empowerment movement starting in the 1990s.

Beyond their publishing success, Canfield and Hansen are highly sought-after motivational speakers who between them have addressed Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, non-profits, school districts and major conferences and events worldwide. Their presentations draw from their personal experiences and the key principles outlined in their many bestselling books, focusing on tapping into one’s fullest potential, pursuing your purpose with passion, embracing change and taking committed action towards your biggest goals and dreams.

Veteran authors with decades of experience, Canfield and Hansen have also authored dozens of other standalone titles spanning personal development topics like self-discovery, mindfulness,habit formation,leadership, financial abundance and relationship building. They’ve collaborated frequently with other high-profile co-authors throughout their prolific writing careers as well. Canfield himself has written more than 200 books and holds several Guinness World Records related to the Chicken Soup Series’ worldwide sales.

Regarded as founding fathers of modern motivational literature, Canfield and Hansen’s unique ability to inspire and galvanize readers, coupled with their actionable, empowering advice has solidified their place among history’s most transformative authors – those rare writers who profoundly impact hearts, minds and lives. As their ever-growing catalog of titles continues uplifting new generations, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s legacy as two of the world’s most influential personal development experts seems assured for decades to come.

Stories That Resonate

The stories found in Chicken Soup titles deeply resonate with readers because they tap into universal human experiences and emotions. While the vignettes feature ordinary people, their acts of love, generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness are extraordinary.

I still remember the lump forming in my throat while reading “A Brother’s Gift,” the touching story of a young man donating his kidney to his siblings. I also well up every time I read “Colors of the Heart,” about a little girl who befriends a homeless man. These meaningful stories speak directly to the heart.

Inspiration and Hope

While many stories in the series evoke tears, they also leave me feeling inspired and hopeful about life. I’m always amazed at the kindness people demonstrate during tough times—I think “Compassion in Overalls” where a farmer saves a motorist stranded in a snowstorm is an excellent example.

These snapshots of courage, perseverance, and altruism in action motivate me to want to be a better human. And even during trying periods when my faith has wavered, the resilience depicted gives me hope.

Themes That Connect Us

A major factor that keeps me invested in this book series is how it explores universal themes in a relatable way. No matter our age, background, ethnicity, or circumstances, at the core we share similar hopes, struggles, fears, and desires.

The Chicken Soup stories reflect this common human thread—whether it’s longing for love or seeking acceptance despite our differences. Personally, many tales have mirrored my own life stages, like heading off to college and making new friends in “Wind Beneath His Wings.” I discovered I wasn’t alone in my experiences.

Accessible Storytelling Style

I’m continually impressed at how Canfield and Hansen craft compelling mini-narratives that quickly draw readers in. The conversational first-person perspectives make it easy to put ourselves in the storytellers’ shoes. By letting ordinary people share their real-life moments, we can relate to their honesty on a deeper level.

And while the vignettes are short, they still capture those pivotal, emotionally-charged scenes. The one I often think back to is “Always His Daughter,” where a dad with Alzheimer’s disease momentarily reconnects with his little girl—exquisite storytelling.

A Dose of Comfort

During times when I need a pick-me-up, I reach for these Chicken Soup collections to soothe my soul. The stories transport me into a quiet sanctuary where heart-warming anecdotes wash over me like a warm hug.

In our chaotic world full of bad news, these tales brimming with kindness serve as a soothing balm. And knowing there’s still good out there renews my spirit, whether I’m having a rough day or grappling with something difficult. My copy of “Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul” was a godsend after losing my grandmother.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Having grown up with these books, I’m now introducing the Chicken Soup series to my children. My goal is for them to learn values like compassion and resilience through storytelling. I also want to inspire them read more by showing how relatable tales can profoundly move us.

My kids delight in hearing “Pennies from Heaven,” chuckle over the antics in “Dog Beach,” and ask to re-read favorites like “The Baseball Glove.” And my daughter was especially touched by “See the Good,” reinforcing how small acts of kindness matter—I watched her pay it forward to a classmate who was bullied.

Why You Should Pick Up These Uplifting Reads

If you need encouragement, a much-needed hug, or reminders about the inherent goodness in humankind, I strongly recommend the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. During tough times or moments of doubt, these real-life stories will remind you of what truly matters most—love, compassion, forgiveness, and our shared humanity.

Canfield and Hansen have curated these heartening tales for over 25 years, creating a legacy of hope in book form. Just as favorite songs can lift our moods, these vignettes will stir optimism when you need it most. And the powerful storytelling will remain with you over the years.

So next time you’re feeling weary, cynical or despairing about the state of the world, I suggest picking up a Chicken Soup title—let these ordinary people making a difference fuel your soul. You’ll laugh, cry, and realize you are not alone in this human journey.

Readers Also Enjoyed

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set during World War II follows the parallel journeys of a French girl and German boy whose paths ultimately collide. Heartbreaking yet beautiful story about hope and the human spirit.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Set in Nazi Germany, this is the story of a young girl who finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with others during the horrors of war. Features vivid storytelling and lyrical prose.

3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Spanning decades, this spellbinding tale explores friendship, betrayal, redemption, and the power of reading. Offers insight into Afghan culture and history.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Powerful novel tackling racial inequality and discrimination told from the point of view of black maids working for white Southern families in the 1960s. Eye-opening and emotionally gripping.

5. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

Uplifting nonfiction book where two Nobel Peace Prize winners discuss how to find joy during all of life’s inevitable suffering. An inspiring dialogue on gratitude, compassion and humanity.


What is the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series?

The Chicken Soup for the Soul series is a collection of inspirational, motivational, and uplifting stories compiled by authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. First published in 1993, the series now includes over 250 titles in multiple niche genres, all featuring true, personal stories meant to “open the heart and rekindle the spirit”.

What topics are covered in the Chicken Soup books?

While the first Chicken Soup book centered around general inspirational themes, later books covered topics like teens, grieving, parenting, marriage, teachers, women, Canada, pets, country music fans, coffee lovers, cat and dog lovers, grandparents, and military families. The wide variety allows most readers to find a book that relates to their life situation.

How did Chicken Soup for the Soul get started as a series?

According to the creators, the first Chicken Soup book got rejected by over 30 publishers in 1993 before finally finding a small publisher to take a chance on the collection of inspirational stories. Positive word of mouth propelled the first book onto bestseller lists by 1995. Today there are over 500 million Chicken Soup books in print in over 40 languages.

What is the typical style or format of the stories in these books?

Stories featured in the Chicken Soup series tend to be 3-to-5 page uplifting, emotional true stories organized by themes. Each book generally contains 101 stories shared by “ordinary” people from all walks of life meant to inspire readers, offer perspective, and elicit emotions through empathy.

Do the same stories appear in different Chicken Soup titles?

While a handful of popular stories have been featured across multiple books, the vast majority are unique to each edition. Every new Chicken Soup title contains never-before-published personal stories curated to fit specific themes that haven’t appeared in previous editions.

Various Chicken Soup books have included inspiring stories from well-known figures like Magic Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Gloria Estefan, Patty Duke, and Anderson Cooper, as well athletes, business leaders, and everyday people sharing impactful moments.

How do you submit a story for consideration in a Chicken Soup book?

Submission guidelines on state that anyone can submit a 3-5 page nonfiction story for consideration either on the site or via email. Works must be original, true personal stories that fit specific topics outlined, written in first-person point of view with natural conversational language.

What is the reading level or intended audience?

As an inspirational series written in accessible language and dealing with universal life lessons and relatable moments, the entirety of the Chicken Soup lineup appeals to adult readers across varied literacy levels seeking motivation. However select books specifically target groups like teens, women, seniors, pet lovers, etc.

Why is it called Chicken Soup for the Soul?

The homey feel-good name is meant to invoke the metaphor of chicken soup’s healing and comforting qualities being applied to difficulties of the human soul. The stories act as the “chicken soup” to bolster readers’ spirits and recharge their outlook.

How many Chicken Soup books are published per year?

Chicken Soup currently releases around 15-20 new books per year, including both all-new volumes and updates of popular niche-topics from past years. Recent yearly highlights include special anniversary editions, children’s versions, and holiday-themed Chicken Soup selections.

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