I posted about my reading life a few weeks ago. Reading is a special pastime for me – I see it as a mechanism to deepen my empathy, understanding and perspective. And I believe it has the same power for the minds and hearts of my kids.
So, here’s a glimpse into our family reading life. In a nutshell, our reading consists of 25% fairy/princess/pink and 75% good stuff. My 4 and 5 year old gals walk into the library or bookstore and beeline it straight to the “girly girl” section. Always. And hey, I’m grateful they’re interested in books as a form of entertainment. I don’t want to label any book as “bad”, even the Sexy Veterinarian Barbie one that makes me gag, but I do influence their selections and tip the scale to emphasize stories and characters that compliment what we’re trying to develop in their lives.
Stories are a powerful way to illustrate life’s truths to curious little minds. As a parent, it’s my job to help expand their view of the world to a reality that goes beyond their daily experiences. To show that their life experience is not the only way. Which leads to a depth of empathy, understanding and perspective – because even at ages 4 and 5, they have the capacity for it.
So, once we’ve read through a few princessfairypink books, we explore. While classic favorites (i.e. Elephant and Piggie, The Berenstain Bears, Fly Guy) are always an easy win, I encourage us to spend most of our time with books that tap into interests I want to nurture (i.e. gymnastics, animals) and stories that will expand their worldview. Just like my own reading list, I look for books that use relatable language and characters to tell stories and address relevant social, environmental, political, racial and spiritual concepts.
And the cool thing is, there are SO MANY BOOKS that do this SO WELL. I thought I’d round up some recent reads that touch on relevant social/community/global issues. These books illustrate positive engagement in a community, tell stories of strong women, encourage creativity, broaden a worldview and make you think as you laugh. Lately books are my go-to birthday gift for preschool and kindergarten buddies and I like gifting books that my own kids love (and have a solid message). Many of these books were gifted to us too!
*These books are well suited for preschool – early elementary kids.
- Extra Yarn
- Ada Twist, Scientist
- The Journey, Return, Quest Trilogy
- I am Rosa Parks
- The Water Princess
- What Do You Do With an Idea?
- What Does It Mean To Be Kind?
- Zen Socks
- Brother Eagle, Sister Sky
I’d love to hear what you’re reading with the little people in your life. Please share!