Over Christmas, I think the kid’s have been required to reflect on a lot of things. Many have been lucky enough to be asked repeatedly ‘What do you want do you want Father Christmas to bring?’ resulting in much pondering about what items should make the ‘list’. But actually, even CBeebies told a version of Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ – encouraging even the youngest of children to look beyond themselves. And of course, the story of the baby Jesus, born into poverty, often prompts adults to ask children to imagine what that situation must be like.
It seems to me, that if children are capable to considering these things at Christmas – then we should continue to challenge how they think (and behave) throughout the year too. In a world where we are well aware kid’s are bombarded with ‘unhealthy messages’ – it’s important to be mindful of this. And to purposefully act against it by presenting them with an alternative view as well. In my mind, one small thing we can do is read books that hold such messages. Here are five that I think are good for helping kid’s to reflect on their worldview:
1. Beautiful OOPS– by Barney Salzberg. Every mistake can lead to a beautiful new adventure: That s the lovely life lesson behind this inspiring board book full of pop-ups, pull-the-flaps, and pretty amazing not to mention surprising feats of paper engineering.
2. The Giving Tree – by Shel Silverstein. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.
3. The Boy in the Dress – by David Walliams. Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…
4. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids– by Carol McCloud. Listed as one of the top children’s books that encourage kindness towards others. It encourages positive behaviour by using the concrete concept of an ‘invisible bucket’ that holds your good thoughts and feelings. When you do something kind, you fill someone’s bucket; when you do something mean, you dip into someone’s bucket and remove some good thoughts and feelings.
5. Last Stop on Market Street – by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson. CJ begins his weekly bus journey around the city with disappointment and dissatisfaction, wondering why he and his family can’t drive a car like his friends. Through energy and encouragement, CJ’s nana helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine.
What’s your favourite book for challenging assumptions? I’m also on the look out for some more meaningful books for my age range too!
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P.P.S. Illustration is by the awesome Alison Soye – follow her on Instagram for more wonderful illustrations!