Are you looking for phenomenal self esteem books for kids to add to your collection at home and at school? Then this list of self confidence books, stories about self love, and all the reasons to rock what we’ve got is the list for you!Read More
Are you looking for children’s books about responsibility and accountability? Books that will help them understand how important it is to take responsibility for their actions — and even mistakes? These are just the books for you!Read More
Are you looking for books about money for kids so you can begin teaching your children and students some critically important concepts that will stay with them as they grow? Look no further! This is the post for you!Read More
We’ve got a phenomenal list of the very best board books for your little one! Here you’ll find the best books for your one year old and best books for your two year old kids, including black and white books for babies, interactive books for toddlers, alphabet books for toddlers, best board books for teaching toddlers colors, concept books and more!Read More
Good digital citizenship? Media literacy skills? What does it all mean? No matter how we look at it, our children are becoming more technologically savvy every day - some even more so than their parents and teachers. But what are your child’s digital rights and responsibilities? And how do we teach these skills? If you have any of these questions, this is the post for you!Read More
We love STEM books! Any book that encourages kids to make, tinker and discover gets two trunks up in our book, and this new STEM book, Be a Maker, by Katey Howes and illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic, is a total winner!Read More
If you have been following us for a while, you know there is nothing I love to read more than a book that celebrates books — and if it also happens to be an amazing book about strong girls, even better! Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre, is one of those books!Read More
If you are looking for books about strong girls to share with your daughters (and your sons!), you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to find a huge list of some of our very favorite children’s books about mighty girls including amazing picture book biographies and anthologies about the strongest, smartest, coolest ladies — both from world history and today!Read More
The best books for beginning readers must be short with large text and simple sentence structure. A good pre reader book must also contain words that are easy to decode and, most importantly, keep kids wanting more! This is why we totally love Fox the TigerRead More
The best books for beginning readers have large text, short sentences, lots of repetition and simple structure. Most importantly? They must be fun and engaging! Find out if your kids are ready for easy readers, and check out more than twenty pre reader books we love!Read More
If your kids love books about strong girls who have overcome considerable odds to achieve lasting success, then you must read this fabulous nonfiction picture book biography, How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine!Read More
It was a typical afternoon in the library with my first grade students. They came bursting through the double doors, settled down on the carpet, and turned their attention to where I sat with a picture book face down in my lap.
“Raise your hand if you like pizza!”
Every one of my first grade students thrust a hand up into the air.
“Raise your hand if you like chocolate chip cookies!”
All hands stayed up— some even threw up both hands up.
“Raise your hand if you like frog legs!”
Down. Every single hand dropped into a lap- and a chorus of “ewwwwwwwww” filled the room.
“Really?” I asked. “Do you know frog legs are considered delicacies in Japanese and French cuisines?”
No answer, just a series of horrified looks on my students’ faces.
“Wait a minute,” I said. “Raise your hand if you’ve actually eaten a frog leg?”
Nothing. Silence. No hands raised.
I feigned a look of horror. “What?!? How on earth do you know you hate frog legs if you’ve never even tried them?”
One of my boys said “they sound gross.” Another girl said “I think I’d throw up if I ever had to eat them.”
And thus began a conversation about preconceived notions. How we make judgments before we have experience or evidence to back them up. How these judgments can extend not just to food or toys or places, but to people, too. And how, when it comes to people, these biases can be ever so harmful— and even more dangerous.
The conversation sparked curiosity in my students. It sparked adamant statements that they would never judge a person based on anything but their hearts and how kind or thoughtful or compassionate they were. I was proud of them, of course. But then I also spoke about how even when we think we are open minded and inclusive, we can easily succumb to the pressure of those around us who think differently, those who might be scared of “otherness” and are thus quick to speak out against it because of ignorance or fear. And how when that happens, others may quickly follow suit.
It’s easy to slide into apathy, and we can’t let this happen to the next generation. Raising children who are not just open minded, but free thinkers who won’t fall prey to rash judgments must be a priority as a parent and an educator. It is so important that we challenge our kids to recognize when they succumb to preconceived notions, as this is the only way we will ever combat bias and harmful stereotypes.
There is no better way to do this then by reading, and there are a handful of books that have come out recently — together with some classics — that are absolutely fabulous for addressing this critical topic. I hope you enjoy them and find them as tremendously helpful as we do. Here’s to teaching each other, learning from one another, and helping to lift up “others” through books and conversation, today and always.
The Wall in the Middle of the Book, by Jon Agee: Perhaps my favorite story of 2018! In this powerful story, there is literally just what the title says - a wall running along the gutter of the book. On one side of the wall stands a knight who proudly proclaims he is safe right where he is. The dangers, after all, live on the other side of the wall. So what exactly is on that other side? Angry animals and evil ogres, of course. What the knight doesn’t realize, however, is that rising water and a looming crocodile threaten his safety on the safe side of the wall. And when the knight finds himself in need of serious help, the one who comes to his rescue is not at all who the knight anticipated… and the other side of the wall may possess a lot more fun than fright. For our full review of The Wall in the Middle of the book, click here!
The Very Last Castle, by Travis Jonker and illustrated by Mark Pett: An old castle, with no visitors going in and no people coming out? That leaves the castle ripe for rumorville, and the people in town have no problem spinning tales about the horrors that must lie inside. We simply love the way this book challenges the preconceived notions of an entire community – all, that is, but one small, curious girl who constantly tries to catch the eye of the man guarding the mysterious castle. This is a fabulous story in which a child overcomes fear of the unknown by being brave enough to discover for herself what really lies behind the castle’s doors. In the process, she discovers her inner courage, makes a new friend, and creates a big change right within her neighborhood.
The Boy and the Giant, by David Litchfield: Did you hear about the secret giant in Gableview? He’s got legs the size of drain pipes and feet the size of rowboats, and everyone in town is terrified of him. But is the giant really real? And if he is real, is he truly as horrible as everyone makes him out to be? When Billy happens upon the giant, he runs away in fear -- and ends up hurting the poor giants feelings! But maybe the the giant isn’t really as scary as the townspeople think. He might even just be the most loving guy in town. We love the way this book challenges — and then turns on their head — the judgments people make about someone who looks so wholly different from themselves. This beautiful book reminds us all that if we learn to embrace our differences, we may create fulfilling relationships with the people we least expected.
Bear’s Scare, by Jacob Grant: Bear loves a clean house (don’t we all!?) and he will stop at nothing to keep his house tidy and clean. The only thing he loves more than a clean house is his stuffie, Ursa. When Bear happens upon a sticky, icky spiderweb, he will stop at nothing to find the spider. After all, messy guests must be banished from the house, and a spider is surely a messy guest! But when he does discover that messy house guest, Bear and Ursa learn that Spider may be much less messy — and much more friendly, helpful and lovely — than they initially thought. This is a perfect book for young readers to convey the message that we should never be quick to judge others!
The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson: Ferdinand is a peaceful, calm little bull, content to graze in the grass and sniff his favorite flowers. But this isn’t what a bull should really do — it’s not at all how a bull should act. Bulls should be tough! Aggressive! They should snort and leap and butt heads. Why? Because that’s how everyone else has been trained to think they should act. But not Ferdinand. We will forever love this book that teaches children they can go against the grain and buck common stereotypes about how they should — or should not behave. Any book that teaches kids to be true to themselves will forever be a winner in our house!
Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems: Leonardo has a problem: he is one terrible monster. As hard as he tries, he cannot scare anyone! After his first attempt at frightening a little boy named Sam, Leo realizes Sam needs a friend instead of a monster… and in doing so, he goes against the grain and doesn’t act how monsters are “supposed” to act. I love the way this book challenges how we see ourselves — how we think we ought to be instead of who we want to be. Willems brilliantly illustrates that even the scariest creatures have emotions too, and some can even be quite sensitive to the needs of others. Not what any kid first thinks of when they conjure up images of a monster, is it? This one is a hoot — but even as it’s giving kids belly laughs, it’s making them question everything they thought they knew about that things that go bump in the night. For our full review of Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems, click here!
Did you like this post? Yay! We think you will love these as well - make sure to check them out! Picture Books to Help You Raise Kind Kids, 21 Books to Promote Kindness, Inclusiveness and Equality, Favorite Books About Courage, and Favorite Picture Books of 2018
*HEE received review copies of some of these books from publishers. However, all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own. All links are affiliate links.
My poor Pickle. He’s one of the only kids in his kindergarten class who has yet to lose a tooth. Some of his classmates have lost not one, but mouthfuls of teeth! In our house, though, we don’t even have a teeny-tiny wiggle. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Not gonna lie — it totally bums him out sometimes, and he’ll stand in front of the mirror to examine whether any of them are finally wiggly. Thank goodness for Josie’s Lost Tooth, an adorable and oh-so-authentic new book by Jennifer K. Mann! It couldn’t have come into our lives at a more perfect time.
In Josie’s Lost Tooth, Josie was always the kid in her grade to do everything first, but not anymore. Poor Josie is the only one who hasn’t lost a tooth. But, alas! One day, she feels a wiggly one! With every move she makes, she thinks it will be the move to knock that tooth right out. But nothing, absolutely nothing, works, until Josie plays sharks on the playground with Richard, and she trips and falls. And that trip? It does just the trick and knocks Josie’s tooth right out of her mouth. Her stumble does such a good job, in fact, that Josie can’t find her lost tooth anywhere! Whatever will she leave the tooth fairy now? Shark loving Richard comes to the rescue -- but I can’t tell you anymore without spoiling the story!
Having a kiddo in the exact same position as Josie while we read this book made us love Josie’s Lost Tooth and it’s authentic main character so very, very much. Why? Because Josie’s Lost Tooth is one of those special books that speaks directly to kids without being didactic or preachy. It made Pickle feel so understood, so much more OK with the fact that he still hasn’t hit the milestone that so many of his friends have, and because of this he just loved it. He was mesmerized! Even better? The way Richard helps Josie when she can’t find her tooth, coming up with an awesome and incredibly thoughtful alternative to Josie’s plight. Richard’s action is such a touching addition to the story. It is simple yet gracious, setting a powerful example that generosity will always move mountains and kindness will forever be cool. Josie’s Lost Tooth gets two trunks up from our team, both for helping little ones who struggle with feeling left behind, and for simultaneously showing them that kindness rocks!
Did you like this post? We are so glad! Check out these fantastic lists - we think you will love them too! Favorite Books About Friendship, Favorite Books About Love, and Favorite Books for Raising Kind Kids. You will also enjoy this grouping of books about doing good deeds!
Want the book? Get it here! Josie’s Lost Teeth, by Jennifer K. Mann. HEE received a review copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.