Category Archives: For Parents

Empathy, kindness & Respecting Others

Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from the other person’s point of view. It is imagining how someone else is thinking or feeling as well as understanding that other people have feelings and those feelings count. By mastering empathy children develop compassion and the ability to make friends.

We often ask children to think about “walking in someone else’s shoes” to help them learn to consider the feelings and experiences of others, like being polite to others, even when you are in a bad mood. Picture books are a great way to help children develop empathy. Through them, children can live the experiences of someone else. Anna Dewdney, author of the Llama Llama books, is well known for speaking about the role picture books can play in the development of empathy in children.

When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.” ~ Anna Dewdney, The Wall Street Journal: How Books Can Teach Your Child to Care

Listed below are several picture books that celebrate the differences of others and highlight the experience of empathy as well as the friendships and strength of community that result from it.

Websites:

Books:

All Kinds of FamiliesAll Kinds of Families – Families of all shapes, sizes, and colors, including celery stalks and buttons, are presented in this colorful picture book celebrating the diversity, familiarity, and importance of togetherness.


Beryl a Pig's TaleBeryl: a Pig’s Tale – Tired of being mistreated and cooped up, Beryl the piglet escapes her farm and meets a group of wild pigs, whose settlement splits up over the decision of whether to let her stay, and with her new “family” she sets out to find a new home.


The Chickens Build a WallThe Chickens Build a Wall – When a friendly hedgehog visits the farm, the chickens build an enormous wall to keep out “prickly invaders.


The Colors of UsThe Colors of Us – Seven-year-old Lena and her mother observe the variations in the color of their friends’ skin, viewed in terms of foods and things found in nature.


Freedom SummerFreedom Summer – In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is black, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.


Hello My Name is OcticornHello My Name is Octicorn – The octicorn– half octopus and half unicorn– introduces himself and tells readers why, though strange and unique, octicorns make great friends.


June and AugustJune and August – Two animals who share a love of the night sky meet in the daylight and are surprised to discover how different they are.


Let's Talk About RaceLet’s Talk about Race – The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual’s or nation’s “story.”


The Little Bit Scary PeopleThe Little Bit Scary People – Some people are a little bit strange or a little too loud, and just a little bit scary. But I bet, if you knew them, and knew their favorite things, you’d think that maybe, (probably) most people aren’t so scary after all.


Little Sweet PotatoLittle Sweet Potato – A sweet potato, lost and trying to get back home, rolls down the road looking for other vegetable and flower patches, trying to fit in. Told repeatedly he’s lumpy and bumpy and doesn’t belong, Little Sweet Potato finally finds acceptance at the “hodge-podge patch” (a garden).


Looking After LouisLooking After Louis – When a new boy with autism joins their classroom, the children try to understand his world and to include him in theirs.


My Grandma's a NinjaMy Grandma’s a Ninja – When Ethan’s grandma suggests they take a zip line to school, Ethan realizes that his grandma is a little different. In fact, she’s a ninja! Ethan is soon the hit of the school when his grandma drops from the ceiling at show-and-tell, and teaches the kids karate moves and how to do backflips in slow motion. But when his grandma deflates his team’s soccer ball, everyone is upset–including Ethan. Why can’t he just have a regular grandma? But when Ethan tries out his new karate moves during the championship game, he’s happy that his grandma isn’t ordinary.


The Name JarThe Name Jar – After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.


Once Green AppleOne Green Apple – While on a school field trip to an orchard to make cider, a young immigrant named Farah gains self-confidence when the green apple she picks perfectly complements the other students’ red apples.


The Other BearsThe Other Bears – Mother and Father Koala are suspicious of the ‘other’ bears. They don’t like the panda bears and they don’t trust the polar bears. But their grumpiness melts away as they watch their little Koalas play together with ‘other’ bears.


The Other SideThe Other Side – Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2004-2005, K-3 Nominee.


The Peace BookThe Peace Book – Describes peace as making new friends, sharing a meal, feeling good about yourself, and more.


Some Monsters are DifferentSome Monsters are Different – A warmhearted celebration of individuality describes the many differences found among monsters, from beasts who are picky or will eat anything to creatures who chatter or remain quiet, explaining that all monsters are wonderful just the way they are.


The SneetchesThe Sneetches – The Star-Belly Sneetches think they are the best, and look down upon Sneetches without stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches remain depressed and oppressed, prohibited from associating with their star-bellied counterparts, until Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes along & begins to give stars to the Plain-Belly Sneetches. The original Star-Belly Sneetches are angry at no longer being different and special, so they get Sylvester to remove all their stars. This continues back and forth until no one can remember which Sneetches were originally what, and an epiphany strikes them all at once: that it really doesn’t matter whether a Sneetch has a star belly or not – they are all really the same, and can coexist and be friends with one another.


Shades of People – Explores the many different shades of human skin, and points out that skin is just a covering that does not reveal what someone is like inside.


SplashdanceSplashdance – Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition. But a new regulation at the community pool–no bears–leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, she encounters a group of undaunted animal swimmers at a local pond, and Ursula and her new team figure out a way to participate in the competition and make sure everyone is welcome at the pool once and for all.


Strictly No ElephantsStrictly No Elephants – A boy is excluded from joining his friends’ pet club because of his unusual pet.


Tilt Your Head Rosie RedTilt Your Head, Rosie Red – Classmate Fadimata is teased because of her hijab until Rosie a high-energy child who wears a red cape, listens carefully and always tries to see things “from every angle,” finds a way to celebrate Fadimata’s unique head covering, inspiring others to follow suit.


We Came to AmericaWe Came to America – Celebrates United States immigration and the country’s diverse immigrant heritage.


Who We AreWho We Are – Join Nellie, Gus, baby Jake, and their parents at Funland as they go on rides, watch performers, and play games along with many other children and grown-ups. As they enjoy their excursion, they notice that people are the same as one another in lots of ways, and different in lots of ways too. Helps children realize why it’s important to treat others the way they want to be treated whether a person is a lot like you or different from you, a good friend or someone you have just met or seen for the first time.


Whoever You AreWhoever You Are – Despite the differences between people around the world, there are similarities that join us together, such as pain, joy, and love.


You and Me TogetherYou and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World – From a festival in India to a bus in Germany, from a park in China to a campfire in Australia, loving moms, dads, and kids share their lives.


Yo YesYo! Yes? – Two lonely characters, one black and one white, meet on the street and become friends.

 

 

 

20 Books for Surviving Bullies

Llama Llama and the Bully GoatNobody should be mean! That’s an important skill to pass on to small children. Even very young children can learn to be kind. Important teachable moments happen every day. A teacher, parent or other adult can help children find ways to understand their own frustrations and feelings, which will help them be kinder to others. Remind them that everyone is different. Not better or worse. Just different. The books listed below can help children learn how to be kind to their friends  or help them learn how to survive being bullied themselves.


eBooks:

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Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?Overdrive Logo
BerenstainBullyChester Raccoon and the Big Bad BullyTwo Tough CrocsRoscoe Rules Never Swipe Bully's Bear

More FREE Online Reading:


Printables, Crafts & More about Bullying:


Books:

Hairy McClary form Donaldson's DairyOneBad AstridBen Rides OnBluebirdBootsie Barker BitesStella's StarlinerPinky and Rex and the BullyBullyElmer and the Big BirdJustin and the BullyLion vs. RabbitThe Little BillyScary MaryThomas the Toadally Terrible Bully

Introducing Kids to a Second Language

El Gato EnsombreradoLearning to speak is a natural part of child development. The brain chemistry of small children is designed to acquire language skills. They easily  learn by listening to the people around them every day.

In many homes children hear two languages, but even if your home is not bi-lingual you can introduce your kids to a second language when they are very young. Since kids’ brains have the advantage, wired as they are to absorb new information, the rule of thumb is start young and practice often!  The younger a child starts, the easier it is to become fluent in a language!

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We can help you introduce a new language to your child:

  • Try Mango Languages, a language learning computer module – all you need is a computer or mobile device and your Indianapolis Public Library Library card. There are over 70 languages to choose from!
  • Check out e-books, e-audiobooks and streaming videos. Try one from the list below! To check one out, click on a book or video in the list & enter your Library Card number to borrow.
  • Check out print books at any of our locations! A fun way to take a first look at a new language is by looking at a familiar story in new language.
  • IndyPL Ready to Read: Leer por Internet Ahora Mismo: Historias en Español
  • International Children’s Literature Database: Los Libros en Español
  • Uniteforliteracy: Choose stories in more than 40 languages
  • Free App for kids Duolingo – Over 30 languages to choose from – all completely free!

E-books:

Use your indyPL Library Card number to check out e-books, e-audiobooks and streaming videos. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number to borrow.
Easy Spanish Phrases for KidsMy First Chinese WordsDino Lingo French for KidsThe Kids Way to Learn GermanLet's Learn ItalianLittle Pim Arabic for Kids Let's EatDino Lingo Spanish for Kids ColoresSpanish on the Move for Kids

Books:

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations. Click on a book jacket below to request the book. You will be notified when it is available for you to pick up. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

lily-y-su-bolso-de-plastico-moradose-venden-gorrasclifford-el-gran-perro-coloradojorge-el-curiosola-llama-llama-rojo-pijamaWhere the Wild Things Are ChineseMax et lex MaximonstresUn Bolsillo Para CorduroyHarold et le Crayon VioletSplat the Cat Whale of a Tale RussianDia de MudanzaLa Pequena Locomotora Que Si PudoBonsoir Lune

Read Right Now! MISSING MOMMY

In Owl Babies, three baby owls panic when they awaken one night and find their mother gone. They worry about what has happened to her, feel scared about being in the dark and wonder if she is going to come back.

Like the baby owls, most kids get homesick at one time or another or suffer from separation anxiety.  A child might be worried about going to bed alone, getting picked up from daycare, going to school, or sleeping over for the first time. The beginning of a new school year is a prime time for kids to experience fears like these. The ability to act independently is an important skill for preschoolers to learn and some of their favorite book characters can show them how it’s done! Listen below as Martin Waddell reads aloud his story, Owl Babies.

Listed below are more reassuring books for kids suffering from separation anxiety. For children nervous about starting school for the first time, try Read Right Now! Starting School. On this page you can hear a story about a little llama who gets to school and REALLY misses his mama!

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

FREE Online eBooks about Missing Mommy:

OwlBabiesKissingHand

More FREE Online Reading:


eBooks:

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Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?
BearBoyFirstDayKissingHandEdwardSleep

Printables, Crafts & More about Missing Mommy:


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Read Right Now! STARTING SCHOOL

Going to school for the first time is exciting…and maybe a little scary! In I am Too Absolutely Small for School, Lola is not happy about having to go to school. When her older brother Charlie tells her about all the fun things that go on there, Lola becomes less nervous and starts looking forward to attending her first day. Shellie Rich, Public Services Librarian at Central Library, says this story is a family favorite at her house. “I love this book so much…I am pretty sure it is the best kindergarten book ever. And we still call my twelve-year-old’s school uniform her schooliform because of this book.”

In Llama Llama Misses Mama, little Llama is like a lot of children, anxious about the first day of school. When he is finally in the classroom without his mama, little Llama really MISSES her!

You can listen to Anna Dewdney herself read aloud Llama Llama Misses Mama. Find out what little llama does when he misses his Mama that helps him have a fun day at school anyway! Mama llama helped by taking little llama to school early to see the classroom and visit with the teacher. Charlie helped Lola think about the fun new things she would be able to try at school. These are all great strategies when a child is nervous about the first day of school.

Another great idea is reading books about other kids and favorite characters who are ALSO worried about the first day of school. Stories featuring the Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, Curious George and more can help your child practice what it might feel like to be anxious about school and learn great strategies for having fun instead!

More FREE online stories about starting school:

Clark the SharkMaria Had a Little LlamaTeacher CatHow to Get Your Teacher Ready for SchoolEmilySchoolAreYouReadyForSchool

More FREE online reading:

More picture book ideas about school:


Printables, crafts & more about starting school:

Berenstain Bears Back to School PrintableBuffalo Ready for Kindergarten Printable

An indyPL reading program for you:

Daily reading to infants, toddlers and preschoolers is the best way to establish a habit that will benefit them for a lifetime,” according to Abby Brown, IndyPL’s Early Literacy Specialist. “If a parent reads one book a night to a child for three years, they will have read 1,095 books!

You can do it and we can help! How to participate in the 1,000 Books by Kindergarten Program


Books about starting school:

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Visit any of our locations to check out books or use your indyPL Library Card online to check out e-books and e-audiobooks on your device. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number to begin reading.
The Berenstain Bears Go to SchoolCurious George First Day of SchoolA Day at SchoolEdward Almost Goes to SchoolFranklin Goes to SchoolSnuffy Goes to SchoolAmelia Bedelia First Day of SchoolPinkalicious School RulesBiscuit Goes to SchoolMittens at SchoolMorris Goes to School

 

Books Recommended by: Janet Spaulding, Selection Services


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