So this Monday was the day of the African child and Storymoja had their Read Aloud campaign because, reading is always fun. The book they chose to read, Attack of the Shidas, covers diversity and coming together for the better of all. I haven’t got my copy yet but grabbing one this week. This got me thinking about other books that could help kids overcome tribalism, bigotry and all other social issues they may grow up to face. The list is short but feel free to add more in the comment section.
1. My little princess boy, Cheryl KiloDavis.
A picture book that the author wrote for her son who doesn’t express himself according to gender norms. That is he’s not like your typical boy, wrestling and action figures (such as myself) but would much rather wear dresses, jewelry and do other things that normally people would call…girly.
2. Heather has two mommies and Dad’s roommate, Leslea Newman and Michael Willhoite respectively.
What would an LGBT couple read to their kids? Very few children’s books cover same sex family units such as these two authors do in their books. One features Heather and her life with her two mothers while the second covers the life of a divorced dad who moves in with his life partner. Personally I think the kid in the second book will eventually need therapy but, whatever.
3. It’s Ok to be different, Todd Parr.
Any book by Parr is perfect reading material for kids but I highlight this particular one because I think it needs to be made MANDATORY in Kenya like yesterday. The book teaches kids to accept their individuality and celebrate it through acceptance of others. Something that we all need more of in Kenya.
4 Tiger Flowers, Patricia Quinlan.
This one’s a bit heavier than the others as it tackles two issues that a lot of parents wouldn’t be comfortable talking to their kids about. How to handle with the loss of a loved one and AIDS. The story is about Joel who copes with the loss of his uncle to the virus by concentrating on the much happier times they spent together such as trips to the zoo and planting Tiger Lilies. Grief is not the only thing covered in the book but also gives a few helpful pieces of advice such as “He told me I couldn’t catch aids from being near him like I caught chicken pox from Tara”
5. The Sissy Duckling, Harvey Fierstein
Elmer’s a bit of an odd duck (queer?). As the title suggests he’s not like the other boy ducks in that he likes to paint, bake and do other unboyduck like things. This of course leads to bullying (as usually happens in the real world) and his dad says horribly hurtful things to him causing him to run away. Later on however his unique interests allow him to save his father’s life.
6. That’s Not Your Mummy Anymore Matt Mogk
This book is awesome and made it here by virtue of it’s utter coolness. A kids guide to spotting if his mum has gone all walking dead on him. It takes every day situations such as being at the supermarket and throws in an entertaining twist of mum munchies the cashier.
The world is a mean place right now, our country not being any different and considering what I’m seeing on social media worse than most. Even if your kid isn’t “different” or you’re in a hetero relationship it wouldn’t hurt for your child to learn that being different or coming from a non traditional family unit shouldn’t be a big deal. This is how we fix the world by making sure our kids grow up to be amazing humans.
first published at http://blog.storymojafestival.com/books-i-think-you-should-read-to-the-little-one/