We’ve all got a lot to learn, whether about the world we live in, the people around us, or simply how to be a better human. In my short time at DBRL, I’ve found that the most accessible information on any topic will be in the children’s section, broken down into pictures and phrases that we can all understand. I’ve also noticed that, due to the simpler nature of picture book phrasing, they can communicate broad emotions, concepts and ideas in ways that are easily digestible yet still spark deep thought and conversation.
I think that these books are incredibly helpful, not only for sharing serious or difficult concepts with children in an age-appropriate way, but also for educating them and allowing them to feel represented. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop wrote in a 1990 essay that books ought to act as ‘mirrors, windows, and sliding-glass doors’ for children to see themselves in, see and understand others in, and step into another’s shoes through. Many of these books acted as windows and sliding glass doors for me, educating me about things I never even knew existed. I highly recommend every book on this list — for instance, even if your family is not Hindu, they will still enjoy the beautiful story and peppy illustrations in “Binny’s Diwali.” They will also be able to learn about another culture’s practices and holidays, which is a wonderful way to introduce children to people with different lifestyles.
While perusing this list, I recommend thinking of Bishop’s words — does your child need a mirror, a window, or a sliding glass door right now? All three? Do you need one or the others? Picture books are wonderful ways to learn about the world around us because of their simple, solid prose and their clear and colorful artwork, for children and parents alike. Happy reading and happier learning!
“Just Help!” written by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
This book is so heartwarming! Personally, I find myself stressing about the ‘big bad’ problems of our world all too frequently. Racism, climate change, homo- and transphobia — all of these challenging parts of our world can be difficult to navigate, especially for kiddos on the way to inheriting it. Still, there is something we all can do every day — not for the great big world but for our small ones, where our community thrives. We can, as the book shows, be kind to our friends, family and community. This book helped to remind me that small changes are how big changes eventually come to be. I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs that comfort. Continue reading “Books that Taught Me Something”