Book One is on the topic of Family Structure for Families of Divorce
Author: Jeanne Warren Lindsay
Title: Do I have a daddy? A short story about a single-parent child.
Publisher: Morning Glory Press
Summary: In this short story, the topic of children having one parent in their home is talked about in a sensitive, compassionate way. A little boy at school is talking to a friend when the friend tells him that he doesn’t have a dad because his dad doesn’t live in his house as her dad does. This upsets the boy and so he talks to his mother about it when he gets home. The single mother explains to her son that his father left shortly after he was born. She says, “I don’t know if I really understand it. He went away but it wasn’t because of you. The important thing is I’m here for you.” The boy is still a bit confused and questions why his father didn’t want him or like him, but the mother is able to use positive language to help her son through his tough emotions. The mother explains that there are many different kinds of dads, and maybe someday her son would have a dad if she gets married someday. The book ends with her saying that her son has uncles, and a grandpa that would love to spend time with him and this cheers the boy up. He decides to go for a walk with his grandpa and ends the conversation with his mother on a positive note. After the end of the book, there is a section for parents to read with information on how to talk to their children about different family structures that may be relevant to them.
Book Two is on the topic of Religious Traditions
Author: Karen Katz
Title: My First Ramadan
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Summary: My First Ramadan is a wonderful book that introduces different cultural traditions to children in a way that is easy for them to understand. The book is from the point of view of a child as they explain what Ramadan is, and why and how they celebrate. They talk about how they fast during Ramadan to bring them closer to their religious beliefs, and that they break the fast with a sweet fig because that is what Allah did. Next to some words like Ramadan, there is pronunciation assistance. This book is developmentally appropriate for my children because it is descriptive without being confusing or too complex for them, and it is filled with colorful, detailed pictures. It introduces the concept of people celebrating different traditions than the "norm", and how we should be accepting and welcoming of these differences because they make us unique and interesting!
Book three is on the topic of Life Cycles
Author: Eric Carle
Title: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Publisher: World Publishing Company and Penguin Putnam
Summary: This book does a great job of teaching life cycles in a very simple way. Young children are able to grasp the concepts being described in the book easily. At the beginning of the book, it talks about how a little egg on a leaf turns into a small caterpillar. The caterpillar is very hungry and so he must find some things to eat! The book teaches counting as it describes each food item the little caterpillar ate. The children are able to see that the more the caterpillar eats, the bigger he gets! He finally is no longer hungry and no longer very small. He is a big, fat caterpillar and he decides to build himself a cocoon. Then the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon and he is a beautiful butterfly! This book is simple and shows children the stages the caterpillar must go through before he can become a butterfly. Children are able to understand this is how a life cycle works.
Book four is on the topic of Emotional Regulation
Author: Cornelia Maude Spelman
Title: When I feel sad
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
Summary: In this book, a little guinea pig character is talking about sadness and how it feels to them. They describe sadness as a "tired, achy feeling". In the book, there are a few scenarios given as examples of what might make someone feel sad. These examples help children put themselves in those situations and explore how it would make them feel if, for example, someone won't let them join playtime. The book also talks about what an individual might try to do in order to make themselves feel better when they are sad. For example, they suggest that it might help to be close to someone when they feel sad. The author ends the book on a positive note, “When I am sad, I know I won’t stay sad.”
Book Five is on the topic of Healthy Eating
Author: Lauren Child
Title: I will never, not ever, eat a tomato
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Summary: I will never, not ever, eat a tomato is an immersive, fun book about siblings, Charlie and Lola. Sometimes Charlie is in charge of serving Lola her dinner when their parents aren’t around. This is a tricky task sometimes because Lola is a picky eater! Charlie comes up with some creative ways to entice his little sister Lola into eating some foods that she claims to dislike. He creates some elaborate stories for what eat food “really” is, to convince his little sister to give them a try. The creative stories are enough to get Lola to try the orange twiglets from
Jupiter (carrots), green drops from Greenland (peas), cloud fluff from Mt Fuji (potatoes), and finally, moon squirters (tomatoes!). This story is great at making children laugh and think more about how they can make it more fun to eat foods that they aren’t too thrilled about trying. After reading this story, it is fun to ask the children to come up with their own silly names and funny stories for the foods they may not like!
Book Six is on the topic of Sexual Abuse
Author: Sandy Kleven
Title: The Right Touch
Publisher: Illumination Arts
Summary: This book does a wonderful job of talking about a very uncomfortable, difficult subject in a way that isn’t scary for children to hear. Sandy Kleven takes special care to depict a safe, open, loving relationship between a little boy and his mother. When the mother is tucking in her son, she starts to playfully nibble his ear and he says, “Stop!” After he tells his mother to stop, she uses the opportunity to talk to him about positive touches and touches that might make him feel “warning feelings” because the touches are secret, forced or deceitful. There is an example of a little girl being lured to a familiar person’s home to see their new kittens, but it turns out it was a trick and the person touches the girl inappropriately. The author goes on to tell children how they can resist inappropriate touching in a way that is gentle and sensitive. This story should be read by caregivers that are trusted.
Book Seven is on the topic of Grieving
Author: Thomas P.
Title: I miss you: A first look at death
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series
Summary: This story was written by a psychotherapist. They delve into what death is by describing what a dead person/thing does (does not move, feel, think, breath, etc). After talking about what death is exactly, they then discuss who death affects and how. Descriptions of what takes place after someone’s death are also given. The author talks about how they hold ceremonies called funerals for people that die and what happens in those ceremonies. Children are given sensitive dialogue to listen to that describes what grief can feel like, what they can do to feel better, and how they can get help from adults when their feelings seem too big for them to handle. This is a great book to read to children going through grief or children who are about to experience a loss.
Book Eight is on the topic of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author: Celeste Shally
Title: Since we’re friends: An autism picture book
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Summary: This book is about two little boys that are the best of friends. One child, Matt, has autism, and the other child does not. However, that does not matter! The book talks about how both boys enjoy a lot of the same things, especially sports. Sometimes, it is hard for Matt to focus or understand what to do during a sports game when the gym is too loud. Since they are friends, he shows Matt what to do. The author describes how Matt gets upset when someone is already on his favorite swing on the swing set because Matt likes to play things the same way every time. Since they are friends, he finds something to do with Matt while they wait for the swing he likes to use. The author talks about how Matt likes to talk about things he is very interested in, all the time, and since they are friends, he doesn’t mind talking about Matt’s interests a lot - because he likes them too! This book does an amazing job of showing how even though the boys have their differences in behaviors, they figure out ways to work through things and make their friendship work!
Book Nine is on the topic of LGBTQ Families
Author: Leslea Newman
Title: Heather has Two Mommies
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Summary: In this book, a three-year-old, Heather goes to her first day of school. Heather talks about how her favorite number is two and how one of the reasons for that is because she has two mommies. Although, Heather doesn’t find this unusual. Until other children start to talk about their daddies and Heather quietly wonders to herself if she is the only one without a daddy. When the teacher asks the group of children to draw pictures of their families, Heather learns that everyone has a family that looks different! Some of her peers have siblings, or one mommy, one daddy, or step-parents! The teacher brings home the message that it does not matter who is in a family, it only matters that a family loves each other. This dispels Heather’s worries and she is proud to show her mommies the picture she drew of their family when they come to pick her up from school at the end of the day.
Book Ten is on the Topic of Doctors and Hospitalization
Author: Howard J Bennett
Title: Lions aren’t scared of shots: A story for children about visiting the doctor
Publisher: Magination Press
Summary: This is a highly relatable book for children because all children visit the doctor, and most children are apprehensive about their visits from time to time. In this story, a child named Molly has to go to the doctor to get shots. She is very nervous about going to the doctor and really does not want to go. Children will feel empathy as they can understand the fear of doing something kind of scary! When Molly goes to the doctor, her pediatrician is able to help her through the process by asking Molly to pretend to be different animals throughout the appointment. This is a great way to show children positive coping mechanisms for when they are trying to be courageous in intimidating situations. Molly is able to finally feel like a fierce lion, not afraid of shots at all, and she survives her doctor’s appointment with a smile!