I remember when I was working as a teacher. I would look everywhere for interesting books for my students. I didn’t like getting traditional books every teacher had. I wanted trendy books, yes, but I also liked books that would open my student’s minds to being curious about the world. I brought them books from other cultures and interesting people from around the world that made history. Then we would talk about it in class. I had a special day of the week for this storytelling time, and it was amazing and special.
As a mom, I do the same. It’s like an addiction. Every store I go to, I always check the children’s book section. Every time someone posts about giving away books, I try to be the first to respond so I can have a look at them and pick the best.
Several years ago, my son was a baby, he was about 1-year-old (I think) anyways, someone posted on a mom Facebook group that she had 50 books to give away. She was a sales representative or something related to an educational publishing brand, and she had so many books she wasn’t using anymore.
So I sent her a message, but she saw it late, and at the same time, someone else responded through other means of communication, so she was giving them away to her. I didn’t want to stir trouble for some free books, so I let it pass. I was, of course, disappointed because books are like a treasure to me. Anyways, she told me if the other woman didn’t go for them, she would contact me. Days went by, so I forgot about them. One day, a month later, she contacted me and told me the other woman never went for them, so if I still wanted them, I could go pick them up. She lived quite close to me, so I went, and I found some fantastic books inside that I will share with you. Things just work out.
Books are an incredible resource to talk to children about many issues in the world. We have been dealing with so much intolerance and hatred that we MUST raise a new generation that can solve these problems with grace, love, and care for every human life.
The list of books I’m about to share are books that I own and that I use to open natural conversations with my kids. Sometimes these books talk or show characters or beliefs I don’t share. It doesn’t matter. I buy them for that particular reason because I can use them to teach my kids our own set of beliefs and values.
We talk about how in the world we will encounter people who don’t look the same as us, and that’s ok, we can still be very good friends with them. We will meet people who don’t believe in the same things as us, they will probably have different religions or ideas, and that’s also ok.
We raise them to have a strong faith and to be firm in their ideas and opinions but also to respect other ideologies and religions. We teach them to take care of their bodies, to have ownership and respect of them so no one can harm them, and to extend that respect to others. We are not perfect parents. We do so many things wrong in the process of learning and becoming better, but we try as everyone else does. So, I hope that in sharing these next titles, you too can have some new resources to talk with your kids about all these topics and more.
1. The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart encourages kids to ask questions and parents to enjoy and promote this behavior at home.
2. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman talks about inclusivity in all of its splendor. You can have SO MANY conversations with just this single book.
3. The 100 Book Series: 100 Women Who Made History, 100 Events That Made History, 100 Inventions That Made History.
4. The Rookie Read-About Holidays Series. Learn about many holidays celebrated in the world but also in the USA that features different cultures and religions.
5. The Story of Anne Frank (from DK readers) or even if you find a child-friendly version. This story is amazing to talk about injustice due to race, skin color, religion, and more.
6. Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo features many stories of strong women who made or are making history. (I know there is a version from different authors for boys, and I will buy it soon too).
7. Crayola Color in Culture is a beautiful book that features color use in different cultures and shows us how diversity makes this world beautiful.
8. Sofia Valdez Future Prez by Andrea Beaty talks a little bit about school politics but is also useful to talk about minorities and politics.
9. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is a funny book about how to express yourself to get something you want, kind of like how to protest in a good way.