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My children are a gift to me, and I hope to raise them in such a way that they are also a gift to this world. At 2 and 10 they are exemplifying behaviors that reflect the values most important
to my husband and me.
One of the things I've always tried to do is provide them
with opportunities to see other people (including me) model kindness and show empathy.
Sometimes these are real life people and other times they are characters in a
movie or, even better, a book. Here are a few books that can support you in
raising (more) empathetic children.
This darling story is
about a girl who diligently saves her coins, along with her mother and
grandmother, so that they can purchase a chair after their family had lost
everything they had in a fire. Although their neighbors, friends and family
brought them replacement furniture (which speaks to the gift of community) they
still wanted a comfortable chair to rest in.
Memorable quote from the book: "The family across
the street brought a table and three kitchen chairs. The very old man next door
gave us a bed from when his children were little. My other grandpa
brought us his beautiful rug."
a wonderful book to read alongside your older child. The story is touching
and allows the reader to see things through the eyes of the various characters
beginning with August. August is a child with facial deformities, which
resulted in him being home-schooled until fifth grade, the grade he
begins public school. This story is a testament to the power of the human heart
and its ability to, unlike our eyes, see beyond the surface.
from the book: " ... your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories
instead of stone."
I have mixed feelings about "The
Giving Tree." I've heard both sides of the debate with regards to this book: how
the boy took from the tree until there was nothing left and all the tree could
offer was herself in the form of a stump. And maybe that's the beautiful part. The tree that loved a
boy so much that she gave as if there were no limits like so many of us parents
do even when it's difficult or hurts a little bit.
Memorable quote from the book: "'Well,' said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she
could, 'well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down.
Sit down and rest.' And the boy did. And the tree was happy."
Friendships have the ability to make us come alive.
This book is a reminder of
the gift it can be to be seen. It can literally change the course of someone's
day or even life to have someone acknowledge their existence. Friendships
have the ability to make us come alive and flourish in a way that we might not have, should we remain isolated.
Memorable (and heartbreaking) quote from the book: "And
the kids laugh. All of them, that is, except Brian. He sits there wondering
which is worse—being laughed at or feeling invisible."
Despite being the biggest bull, Ferdinand is most content being calm and smelling flowers, rather than
engaging in the behaviors of the other bulls. His mother would sometimes worry
about him but he was happy. And because of that, she didn't try to convince him
to do or be something different.
Memorable quote from the book:
"His mother saw that he was not lonesome, and because she was an understanding
mother, even though she was just a cow, she let him just sit there and be
A touching story about growth
and seeing things differently, the book addresses concepts such as
accountability to one another, being an agent of change and using your gifts to
help you create it (for Ivan his art was a tool that helped shed light on the
poor treatment the animals at the mall were subjected to.).
from the book: "A good zoo," Stella said,
"is a large domain. A wild cage. A safe place to be. It has room to roam
and humans who don't hurt." She pauses, considering her words. "A
good zoo is how humans make amends."
Everyone has limits,
even crayons. This book is hilarious but perhaps it will remind you to listen intently
to both words and non verbal cues. The black crayon is perfect for outlining, but he longed to do more than that. And the red crayon was quite weary from all
from the book: "I even work on holidays. I have to color all the Santas at
Christmas and all the hearts on Valentine's Day! I need a rest! Your overworked
friend, Red Crayon"
This memoir provides a
glimpse into history for an African American girl growing up in the 1960s and '70s but it also tugs at the heart strings of the reader. "Brown Girl Dreaming" is so many things, including a beautiful reminder of the power of our stories
and the universal feeling of wanting to belong.
Memorable quote from the book: "May, I am thinking, there is something
hidden like this in all of us. A small gift from the universe waiting to be
This beautifully written book covers various emotions and
concepts ranging from grief and loss, hope, love, acceptance and resilience. It's about Hà's experience of immigrating due to war from the home that she
knew and loved to Alabama.
from the book: "Mother says, People share when they know they have escaped hunger. Shouldn't people share because there is hunger?"