Multicultural and Social Justice Books: Parents often ask us how to address their children’s comments or questions about differences that they notice between other people and themselves. This may be about appearance, abilities, language, behaviors, family, etc. Often, too, the parents want to know what books we would recommend for their child that reflect their own identity or that help them understand differences. We also suggest that you take a look at the booklists (for all ages) on the website of Social Justice Books, a teaching for change project, which provides lists of “multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators” at: https:// socialjusticebooks.org/ [Note: remove the space after the // to enter the link in your browser].
If you want help in evaluating books yourself, this site also provides a helpful Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books
Here are some other books we recommend for parents.
Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba, Ed.D. In our self-obsessed world of today, where teens (and younger) are glued to their phones instead of actually talking and relating to their friends; where kids post “selfies” every day; where on-line bullying is running rampant–Michele Borba tells us, based on research, that teens today are 40% less empathetic than those of 30 years ago. The good news is that emapthy can be learned and practiced, and encouraged–and it begins in preschool! Dr. Borba offers a research-based, nine-step plan that will help kids, including young children, be kind, moral, courageous and and resilient. This book is a must-read for all families and teachers!
The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally, by David Elkind. Dec. 2007, Da Capo Press
Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D. and Christopher Vaughan
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less [Paperback] by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Ph.D., and Diane Eyer. Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff urge parents to step back and practice the “Three R’s: Reflect, Resist, and Recenter.” Instead of pushing preschoolers into academically oriented programs that focus on early achievement, they suggest that children learn best through simple playtime, which enhances problem solving skills, attention span, social development and creativity. “Play is to early childhood as gas is to a car,” say Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff, explaining that reciting and memorizing will produce “trained seals” rather than creative thinkers. Creativity and independent thinking, they argue, are true 21st-century skills; IQ and other test scores provide a narrow view of intelligence.
Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. This author (Six Stages of Parenthood; Ask the Children) has spent her career observing and analyzing how children learn. Collaborating with top researchers in the science of childhood brain development for the past decade, she identifies seven life skills that help children reach their full potential and unleash their passion to learn. Each of seven chapters focuses on one skill, most of them involved with the executive (or management) function of the brain, such as focus and self-control, communicating, and critical thinking. The big message is simple: teaching children to think may be the most important thing a parent can do.
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Dr. Ross W. Greene
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv