These children’s books teach how to navigate feelings, diversity, and even the summer of COVID-19
There’s no doubt why parents worry about what shows and books their children are consuming. After all, the values kids are taught today will define the person that they become tomorrow. And in a world that seems to be in a constant state of growing pains, it isn’t easy to know how to raise children of good character. Thankfully, we know of some great children’s books that can help.
Here are five books that tackle important issues, such as racism and feminism, yet offer timeless lessons on empathy, love, acceptance, and growth.
1) Visiting Feelings
Children understand thoughts and emotions more than adults give them credit for. They begin to develop emotional intelligence at a very young age. We learn to deal with feelings in childhood, and carry this lesson with us throughout their lives. This is why Dr. Lauren Rubenstein’s Visiting Feelings is a great reading choice for all children.
It teaches them to make sense of and explore all feelings. The book tells children how to be present in a moment and process their feelings. Also, the book includes a note with advice and activities for parents to effectively assist their children in their emotional exploration.
Learn more about the book at visitingfeelings.com.
2) ColorFULL: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us
Everyone loves colors. But why is it that so people would rather be colorblind when dealing with the colors of our skin? Multiracial faith community leader Dorena Williamson addresses this topic in her book ColorFULL. The beautifully written picture book tells the relatable story of two friends, Imani and Kayla.
Through a fun story, the book teaches children that differences should be celebrated rather than ignored — and that the color of our skin is one of the many parts of us that makes us unique and special. This book teaches children the importance of diversity and acceptance. It will foster empathy in children and is an invaluable read.
Learn more about ColorFULL and other work by Williamson at dorenawilliamson.com/publications.
3) The Day You Begin
“There will be times when you walk into a room, and no one there is quite like you.” That’s a quote from Jacqueline Woodson‘s book, The Day You Begin.
The book starts a necessary conversation in an understandable way for children. It emphasizes the importance of creating connections with other people in the form of friendships.
Growing up can be a very scary experience. Children meet new people as they begin to branch out and experience loneliness and uncertainty for the first time. This book tells children that reaching out and sharing their stories is a form of bravery. It helps them navigate new experiences as a companion, as their first friend.
Learn more about The Day You Begin at jacquelinewoodson.com/the-day-you-begin.
4) And Then Comes Summer
Summer may be a season, but this book is anything but seasonal. The vivid and relatable book written by Tom Brenner is a timeless masterpiece. It talks about Summer and all the freedom and happiness it brings.
“From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks”, the images in this book are not just the ones in the drawings.
The author’s evocative and straightforward language, combined with the beautiful illustrations by Jaime Kim, makes for a treat of a read. This children’s book will bring up feelings of nostalgia and happiness for children whenever they read it. After all, don’t we all need a bit of that this summer?
Learn more about And Then Comes Summer here.
5) A Is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World
Children love the alphabet, and they will love this book even more. No one should miss this feminist version of an alphabet board book. It introduces important women and role models in a fun and information-packed book.
A Is For Awesome introduces girl power to young readers — an essential read for both boys and girls. It is inclusive and representative and talks about influential women, all the way from the youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai to the Roman goddess Venus. Author Eva Chen surely deserves an A for awesome for this book.
Learn more about A Is For Awesome here.
The joy of children’s books
They say it’s never too early to start reading to children. Well, we’d suggest that it’s also never too late. These books are also great reads for adults, and can offer a gentle reminder of some of those great lessons we may have learned early on.