My son has always been really into books. I love that. I’m grateful he loves “reading” [He’s 2]. But when he came home from the Library with a stack of children’s books that were SUUPER dumb, it got me thinking. We have a duty as parents to be intentional about the books we put in front of our children, to make sure the messages they hear are going to shape them into the best human beings they can be, whether intellectually, socially, emotionally or all of the above. And I have a duty to my awesome mom-friends to share some of my favorites.
Thus, the list for Top Ten Books for Raising a Good Human Being was born:
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark: Ages 4 – 8 Years
A fantastic picture book about the childhood of the infamous RBG, a young Jewish girl growing up in Brooklyn. Teach your child lessons about standing up for what is right and fighting for fair treatment. This one’s still a bit advanced for my son, but he pulls it off the shelf to look through! He really is drawn to it! ::Proud Mama::
The Mixed Up Chameleon: Ages 1- 4 Years
A classic Eric Carl book with his signature illustrations, the Mixed Up Chameleon teaches a lesson that even grown-ups need to hear…It’s easy to compare yourself to other people and it’s okay to want to be like them, but at the end of the day, the best thing you can be is yourself!
The Little Engine that Could: Ages 3 – 7 Years
Originally published in 1930, this story has stood the test of time for a reason. Through positivity and motivation the little engine is able to achieve his most important goals!
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Volumes 1 and 2): Ages 4 – 101 Years (Really)
Both volumes are comprised of 1-page stories of both little-known and famous women throughout history who have done something rebellious and extraordinary. From Cleopatra to Simone Biles, each story is compelling and unique. SUCH a great gift idea for any little girl or boy in your life!
She Persisted: Ages 4 – 8
A great companion book to compliment the Rebel Girls book, She Persisted looks at thirteen inspirational American women throughout history who refused to take NO for an answer!
10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes: Ages Baby and Up
A beautiful and simple rhyming book that reminds us that no matter our differences, we all share fundamental similarities. [This is one of my son’s favorites. Reminds me of when he was a baby. [::Sniffle:: I’m not crying. It’s just raining on my face.]
The Quilt Makers Gift: Ages 4 – 8
This wonderful book with intricately illustrated pages shows a King forced to slowly give away his material possessions. With each thing he gives away, the happier he becomes. By the end of the book, he’s had a total change of heart.
Martin’s Big Words: Ages 5 – 8 Years
The powerful words of Dr. Martin Luther King are captured in a wonderful picture children’s book to help tell the story of his life. A must-read for children learning about MLK who want to dive deeper into his words.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ages 9 and Up
I know, you’re probably wondering what this one is doing on the list, but think about it. #Muggleplease. What better way to teach kids and young adults about the importance of life-long friendship, standing up to bullies, and good overcoming evil, than through the world-wide phenomenon of Harry Potter? [And let’s be honest, At least 1 in 3 adults still read these books on a regular basis. Why not do it with your children and fall in love all over again?].
The Hundred Dresses: Ages 6 – 9
This is one of those books that changed my life. If your’e a Bentonville native and had Miss Massey in the 3rd grade, you’ve probably read this book. It sticks with you forever. Since its original publish date in 1945, it has never been out of print. It’s a tale of a young Polish girl in Connecticut endlessly teased by her classmates for wearing the same blue dress every day. It touches on the themes of immigration, bullying, and forgiveness.
It’s hard to pick just one or two books from this list. Hell, it was hard to pick just ten. But as parents, all we can do is give our children the tools to become good human beings by exposing them to ideas, differences and stories. Lots of stories. The rest is up to them. Happy reading parents!