Tag 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

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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Not Too Little To Help! Raising Socially Conscious Kids

Can We Help?“Can I help?” is one of the most often repeated sentences of small children. Toddlers and preschoolers are typically curious and eager to learn, willing volunteers to be included in the projects and jobs they see going on around them. This is a great time of year to talk about helping!

Young children understand the concept of support, assistance, and teamwork. When everyone helps out, “many hands make light work.” To help within their own family, kids can pick up toys, select items from a low shelf to add to a shopping cart, or feed the dog. The books listed below will help you take helping out to a new level. Even small children can contribute to their community, the bigger world outside their own home. “Can I help?” Yes, you CAN!

You can find more books & activities about helping out at home at Read Right Right Now! Helping.

Super Deeds – Be a Force for Good! This summer, your family can get started taking action right now! Help the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Department of Child Services and IndyPL provide children in foster care with a backpack filled with 25 books. Use your reading points to select and donate prize books, or donate new and gently used books from home.


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?
Just Critters Who CareMiss Fox's Class Goes GreenThe Berenstain Bears Get InvolvedCurious George Plants a TreeOne LoveThese Seas Count
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Or, use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN (What’s My PIN?) to set up a Hoopla account to check out FREE e-books. Click on a book jacket to begin.

Fantastic Kids Helping OthersGrover's 10 Terrific Ways to Help Our Wonderful WorldHow Can I Help?Let Me Help

Print Books:

100 Ways to Make the World BetterA Heart Just Like My MothersA is for ActivistJoey and the Giant BoxMr. Tweed's Good DeedsMy Heart Will Not Sit DownOk GoRaising a HeroThe Berenstain Bears Go GreenThe Can Do ThanksgivingSomething BeautifulGood Deed Scouts Help Their NeighborsGood Deed Scounts to the RescueOlivia Helps Mother Nature

Celebrating Families

A family is a group of people brought together by birth, by marriage or other relationship or by living in the same space. Kids grow up in all kinds of different family situations. In A Family is a Family is a Family, a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special. One child is afraid to share about her family because it seems so different from other families. Other children in the class do share; about being raised by a grandmother, or by two dads, or having a family of step-siblings. One child wants to share about a new baby. This book is a great look at the many kinds of families children live in.

Children love books that mirror their own day-to-day lives. They also like books that give them a look at someone else’s life. In these stories, children will see themselves as well as their friends. The family stories are different, but the same in the way that matters most of all. Children thrive living with adults who care looking out for them every day.


Just Right Family – Meili, who is six years old and adopted from China, learns that her parents are going to adopt a baby from Haiti. She’s not happy. Why do they need a new baby? Their family is just right as it is. As Meili learns more about her new sibling and the importance of being a big sister, will she realize that a new addition can be just right for their family too?


And Tango Makes Three And Tango Makes Three – At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches. Based on a true story.


Annie and Snowball and the Wedding Day Annie and Snowball and the Wedding Day – Annie loves living with her dad and her bunny, Snowball. But she wants her dad to find someone to love. Then he meets a woman named Martha. Soon it is time for a wedding!


Black is Brown is Tan Black is Brown is Tan – Describes in verse a family with a brown-skinned mother, white-skinned father, two children, and their various relatives.


The Different Dragon The Different Dragon – For a bedtime story, one of Noah’s two mothers tells him a story about a brave boy in a boat with his cat and and his encounter with a fire-breathing dragon, following Noah’s suggestions along the way.


Do You Sing Twinkle? Do You Sing Twinkle? – A boy’s parents help him adjust to his new stepfamily when his mother remarries after a divorce.


Elliot Elliot – Elliot’s parents do not know how to take care of him. As Elliot moves from one foster home to another, his visits with his real parents leave him anxious and conflicted about where he wants to be. At last he finds stability with a new adoptive family.


Families Families Families Families Families Families – A host of animals portray all kinds of families–any combination of people who love each other.


The Family Book The Family Book – Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what.


Fred Stays with Me Fred Stays with Me – A child describes how she lives sometimes with her mother and sometimes with her father, but her dog is her constant companion. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, K-3 Nominee.


The Great Big Book of Families The Great Big Book of Families – Features illustrations and descriptions of different types of families and how their lives are similar and different.


Heather has Two Mommies Heather Has Two Mommies – Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.


I Love You Like Crazy Cakes I Love You Like Crazy Cakes – This story of a woman who travels to China to adopt a baby girl, based on the author’s own experiences, is a celebration of the love and joy a baby brings into the home.


I Love You Near and Far I Love You Near and Far – A reassuring rhyming story, written from a child’s point of view, stands as a love letter to family members who are far away because of divorce, military service or simply because they live in different places around country or world.


I Wished for You I Wished for You – Follows a conversation between a little bear named Barley and his Mama as they curl up in their favorite cuddle spot and talk about how they became a family. Barley asks Mama the kinds of questions many adopted children have, and Mama lovingly answers them all.


In Our Mothers' House In Our Mothers’ House – Three young children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.


Introducing Teddy : a gentle story about gender and friendship Introducing Teddy: a Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship – Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it’s riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party, or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do. One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas is sad, even when they are playing in their favorite ways. Errol can’t figure out why, until Thomas finally tells Errol what the teddy has been afraid to say: “In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas.” And Errol says, “I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.”


A Mother for Choco A Mother for Choco – Choco, a little bird living alone, sets out to find a mother, but he has no luck until he meets the warm-hearted, generous Mrs. Bear and her other children.


My New Mom and Me My New Mom and Me – When the puppy comes to live with his new mom, he is nervous. His new mom has stripes and he doesn t. But his mom says she likes that they look different. The puppy’s new mom does all the things other parents do: she plays with him, takes care of him, and sometimes even makes him mad! But when he’s feeling sad, she knows just what to say.


Night Catch Night Catch – When a soldier’s work takes him halfway around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son.


One Family One Family – A family can be many things, in this story that introduces numbered groups from one to ten.


Our Gracie Aunt Our Gracie Aunt – Johsnon and his sister, Beebee, seem to be all alone in the world. Their mama has gone away many times before, but something tells them that this time she won’t be coming back. Then a social worker comes and takes them to meet their Aunt Gracie. Beebee barely remembers her, and Mama never even told Johnson about her. They wonder where she’s been all this time–and why she would want to take care of them. Warily, though, the children begin to trust Aunt Gracie. And in the process, they come to a better understanding of what it means to be a family.


Stella Brings the Family Stella Brings the Family – Stella brings her two fathers to school to celebrate Mother’s Day.


Stellaluna Stellaluna – After she falls headfirst into a bird’s nest, a baby bat is raised like a bird until she is reunited with her mother.


A Tale of Two Daddies – A young girl describes how her two daddies help her through her day, including her poppa cooking eggs and toast, her daddy fixing her knee when she is hurt, and both fathers being there for her when she needs love.


Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born – A young girl asks her parents to tell her again the cherished family story of her birth and adoption.


Two is Enough Two is Enough – From playing in the snow to a rainy-day ride, to double-scoop treats and crash-landing in leaves, two can be the perfect number for creating life’s memories. And two can definitely be enough for a warm family, full of the love, support, and comfort that every child needs.Whether a father and daughter, mother and son, or a grandparent and grandchild, two is enough to fill each season of the year with wonders, big and small. Author Janna Matthies’ soothing rhyme and Merrilee Liddiard’s warm illustrations of diverse pairs make this story perfect for encouraging a sense of acceptance, security, and community.


Visiting Day Visiting Day – A young girl and her grandmother visit the girl’s father in prison.


We Are Family – Rhyming text and illustrations of families explore how all families are different, but also the same.


We Belong Together a Book About Adoption and Families We Belong Together a Book About Adoption and Families – The joy of adoption and bringing families together is presented in this tale.


Welcome to the Family Welcome to the Family – Introduces different types of households and discusses families with children, adoption, foster parents, same-sex parents, and fertility treatments.


When Otis Courted Mama When Otis Courted Mama – While his life seems perfectly good as it is, Cardell, a young coyote, learns to tolerate–and even like–the coyote that is courting his mother.


Who's in My Family? Who’s in My Family? – Nellie and her little brother Gus discuss all kinds of families during a day at the zoo and dinner at home with their relatives afterwards.


Wolfie the Bunny – When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.


Zak's Safari Zak’s Safari – Zak’s Safari is a book about donor-conceived kids of two-mom families. When the rain spoils Zak’s plan for a safari adventure, he invites the reader on a very special tour of his family instead. Zak shows us how his parents met, fell in love, and wanted more than anything to have a baby–so they decided to make one.