This morning I was thinking about the characteristics that make me most proud of my children. With a smile on my face the words strength and kindness came to mind. One of my goals in the next few weeks is to flood our home and my Facebook page with children’s literature that celebrates the amazing, diverse world we live in. We need to arm our children with knowledge and compassion and strength because if there is one thing this 2016 election has taught me it is that we all lose if we lose sight of the empathy we need to have as human beings. Here are some of my favorite Strong and Kind Children’s Book Characters.
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Check out these Strong and Kind Children’s Book Characters!
The story of Crow Boy depicts Chibi, the main character, as a shy boy who is made fun of by the other students. In a small Japanese village Chibi travels far to come to school each day only to feel sad and alone. Finally a teacher celebrates his talents. Too often teachers turn a blind eye to bullying. Chibi’s teacher demonstrates the importance of strength and kindness when caring for the emotional health of his students. The children are genuinely sorry for their horrible actions and learn the importance of caring for each other.
And Tango Makes Three
Oh how I love this true story of 2 penguins, a zookeeper and a little egg in the Central Park Zoo. When the zookeeper sees that the two male penguins are so desperate to care for a little egg of their own, the zookeeper finds an egg that needs to be cared for. Placing love and emotional well-being before convention is the ultimate act of strength.
The Art of Miss Chew
Demonstrating the importance of looking at the whole child and using a student’s strengths to support her challenges, Patricia Polacco shares her personal childhood story in The Art of Miss Chew. Polacco effortlessly celebrates teachers who understand that supporting emotional development is a necessary component to enhancing intellectual development.
I reference this book a lot with my own children. It is so important to teach our children the importance of not being a bystander when it comes to bullying and hatred. As a child I was taught that if you remain silent you are part of the problem. In the book One, the character of Red is constantly picking on people, especially Blue. While the other colors like Blue and play with him, they stay silent when Red is mean to Blue. When One witnesses Red being horrible to Blue One calmly, but with strength, sticks up for Blue.
This book tells the tale of a crayon, Red, who never feels quite right. All around him crayons and other writing tools are trying to make him one thing, but no matter what he can never be who they envision him to be. Until one day when another crayon sees Red for who he truly is and he blossoms before their eyes. Honoring people for who they truly are is the ultimate act of strength and kindness.
Last Stop on Market Street
The grandmother in Last Stop on Market Street represents all the characteristics I strive to be as a parent. Throughout the story the young boy questions his grandmother’s decisions on how they lead their lives, but the grandmother remains consistent with her message that that their life is exactly the way it should be. She leads with positivity helping the young boy see the beauty and happiness in their daily existence.
A Chair for My Mother
When their apartment catches fire and burns all their belongings the amazing family in A Chair for My Mother has to start over. The mother works long hours coming home and longing to sit in a comfortable chair. The daughter doesn’t complain, working side by side with her mother after school, slowly adding coins to the jar that will eventually buy them a beautiful chair perfect for resting and snuggling after a long day. The love of family is the heart of this beautiful book by Vera B. Williams.
This is a great book to explore in preschool and early elementary school as I have seen children be made fun of because their food choices are perceived as “weird” or a child is self-conscious to eat what they love for fear of being made fun of. Yoko demonstrates the importance of teachers creating opportunities for our differences to be celebrated and explored.
It takes a lot of strength for a child to stand out from the crowd. At an age when boys are simply more comfortable fitting in and looking like everyone else, the character in Those Shoes makes an amazing decision to help another child, realizing he already has everything he needs in life.
There are books that come into my life that immediately touch my heart. Extra Yarn is one of those books. One of my favorite elements of this book is the main character. A young girl who sees the positive in each step she takes and each person she encounters. When a loud, obnoxious leader attempts to bully her into giving up her yarn box she quietly refuses. It is the ultimate book for the statement “When they go low, we go high.”