Happy May! Learning and coping with the world starts at a young age. And how to children learn? Through reading.
A book can influence a child permanently; therefore what they read is highly important. It can shape their development in adulthood. It is great for children to read fun books and books about love and caring. However, it is important for their list to be diverse. They should be reading about all different kinds of topics, particularly social and political issues. They should understand what is going on in their world currently, and a children’s book is the best way to put that in context that children can understand. In honor of Children’s Book Week, we have complied a list of important books for children to read this week.
These first books deal with social issue topics in children’s books:
Divorce is something that almost 50% of Americans face yearly. It is something that can be very real to children, and many times it’s hard for many of them to cope and understand, particularly when they are at a young age. This book takes divorce and puts it into terms that children understand. It can help them cope with the feelings associated with being split between houses and not seeing one parent as much as they used to. It’s a reality that many children face, which is why it’s an excellent subject for them to read about.
- What Happens When a Loved One Dies?: Our First Talk About Death (Just Enough) by Dr. Jillian Roberts
This is another book that is great to help children deal with difficult situations in a way they can understand. Death is something that can be very incomprehensible to a child. However, this book does not shy away from this difficult subject and shows kids what they need to learn in order to cope properly in life as they grow up.
Not many children’s books deal with transgender issues so openly, which is why this book is great for children to learn about all types of people. It is a book that teaches acceptance and can help fight discrimination and bullying within schools as well as outside in the real world. Teaching children acceptance from a young age can help combat discrimination in the future. Another great thing about this book is that the book is based on the real life of Jazz Jennings, who has her own show on TLC and has become a spokesperson for trans kids everywhere. This makes it more relatable to children with similar experiences, and more realistic to understand for children who have not experienced what Jazz has.
- We Are All Born Free Mini Edition: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures by Amnesty International
A book like this is an ideal topic for the current events going on particularly in America right now. Movements such as black lives matter are linked to important topics like human rights. These movements are about the right to be treated equally by the law and others, which has to do with the fact of equal human rights. Other human rights movements, such as ones going on in other countries for civil and free rights, are other current events that children need to learn about. This book in particular has to do with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was signed on 10th December 1948. It reserves the right for everyone to have the freedom they deserve. This is not a heavy topic for children; it is a topic they need to learn about.
The following are more particularly political topic books:
This book is perfect for the past election. A boy decides he is going to make himself king of the playground, and soon after a girl does as well and claims her own part. Meanwhile the other children just accept the claims, without voicing their own opinions. This book shows political struggles as people fight for power over land. It’s a great allusion to help children learn about politics and the importance of having a voice. But its also a great book to learn about sharing.
A book about dictators is something that can be understandable to children. Similar to the book above, children must understand a distribution of power, bad or good, and many Dr. Seuss books can entertain a kid while having an undertone of discomfort of government. (Note: The Lorax, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, Yertle the Turtle, The Sneetches, and The Butter Battle Book.) This book will help children learn to speak their mind and not let someone take their voice.
Refugees are a big political issue in our country right now. They are a heated debate in our political system right now and it is something that our children should know about and understand. Being a refugee is a difficult life, and many children refugees are in schools right now with other children. The topic is especially important so that these children who are not refugees can understand their peers and be able to see other people’s lives and situations.
Another huge issue right now in America is immigration, particularly with people from Mexico. This book shows the separation between a child and his grandfather all because of the tight immigration laws that Mexicans are currently facing. The discrimination of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the United States is a serious current issue. This book shows children how discrimination of any person, no matter their race, religion, gender, etc., is wrong.
There are a lot of complaints about political topics in children’s books. This book is a satire on that. It is important to have these topics in some children’s books. Children should have a variety of books to read at a young age. Some books should be fun, some should be about feelings, and others should be lightly about politics or current news. Children need to read about this to understand the world. It will help them better cope and understand in the future. It sets us up for a better tomorrow.
All these books are important in their own ways. It is important for children to understand the world they are living in and the best way to do that is through reading.