Laura Raphael's blog

Mr. Rogers and the Kindness Collection

The inimitable children's TV host Mr. Rogers said, "There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."

This is a lesson we surely want to share with our children (and try to remember for ourselves!). One way to do this is to find, read, and talk about picture books with children that introduce the concepts of kindness and empathy.

Here's my "Kindness Collection" - a few of my favorite books for children that will help you have conversations about kindness with your kids:

Kids Are Natural Poets

For many adults, poetry is either a dead or boring format, with no relevance, resonance, or rightness to it. "I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree"? Oh, brother!

History, Every Day & Up Close

History-with-a-capital-H can be difficult for some kids to grasp. ("Boring!"; "What does this have to do with me?"; etc.) One way to make history real (and relevant) is to prepare students with interesting background knowledge about the nitty-gritty, daily details of everyday lives of real people in history.

The Day the Children Celebrated Books (and We Celebrated Children)

"Children's Day" began in 1925 to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. Almost from the beginning, the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has been involved.

Officially, "El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros" - also known as Children's Day/Book Day, or just "Dia" - is an opportunity for libraries to connect children with diverse books and all of the wonderful learning and growing that great literature can bring.

Windows and Mirrors: "The Snowy Day"

A famous librarian dictum (yes, there are famous librarian dictums!) is that picture books should be both windows and mirrors for children.

Windows: into other worlds, knowledge, meaning.

Mirrors: reflecting unique experiences, cultures, and lives.

Before "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats was published in 1962, there were a lot of windows for African-American children...but no real mirrors.

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