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Acceptance and Friendship

      There's nothing better than a book that reminds you of all the good that is still in this world. A book that opens the doors to essential conversations about accepting others and showing kindness. I love hearing my 4 year old's perspectives on these books and concepts when we read. She says these powerful things like "why are they being so mean? they don't even know her!" or "I don't like him, but I know that the only way to teach someone bad to be good, is to be nice to them" It's a pleasant reminder that although our lives and situations can become "complicated" - when it comes to human to human interactions it really is that simple. Be Kind.

Below is a list of our current favorites that in one way or another touch on issues of acceptance and friendship.

      The Boy and the Giant (pictured above) is a beautiful story about learning the importance of taking the time to welcome and accept others. In this book the boy does not believe his grandpa when he tells him about the local giant, the boy says the giant isn't real because if he was he would have seen him. His grandpa gently reminds him that sometimes people stay hidden for fear that their differences will not be welcomed.

     Ok, sometimes you need a little laugh when learning the art of friend making. Tammi Sauer's picture book packs the comedic punch and the beaver who has a hard time making friends, is a sweet and relatable character children will love.

     The Rabbit Listened is an exceptionally beautiful book that touches on the importance of not only being there for your friend in a rough time, but truly listening to your friend's needs and wants. In addition, the author chose to keep the text free of pronouns, the main character is simply referred to as Taylor throughout the story.

      Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug is a brand new book that all our kiddos are going to fall in love with! We all know T. Rex's have tiny arms, and such is the case with Tiny, the only problem is, he really wants to be able to give his friend a hug when he's feeling sad.

      Wolf in the Snow is an almost wordless picture book about a child who finds a wolf stranded in the snow and goes to great lengths to return it to the pack. Powerfully illustrated, this book elicits conversations around selflessness and compassion.

      The Wall in the Middle of the Book is about acceptance, accepting that you may not know the truth about someone or some place, and accepting others who may or may not be different than you. I love the message this funny books sends about how we should never make assumptions about others.

      Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora is a perfect read in November when everyone is busy talking about gratitude and giving thanks. But this book is also very much about showing kindness to others, regardless of your own circumstances. In this book Omu gives her stew, which she had prepared for herself for dinner, to anyone who comes by asking. In return, those who she shared her own bounty with, had a little something to share of their own.

      Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse has a very special place in my heart. About a boy from humble means with the biggest imagination you've ever come across, this book shows you again that kindness is always best. We should do our best to avoid making assumptions or judging others, which is exactly what a little girl learns when she takes the time to truly see Adrian Simcox for who he really is.

      Oh the beautifully detailed illustrations in this next book...TWIG is a story of a stick bug who is tired of being overlooked. She wants everyone to see her and she has to learn to muster the courage to speak up for herself and make herself known. Once she does that, she is able to make friends and be happy at school.

      I Walk with Vanessa is another wordless picture book, and possibly one of the most powerful ones I have ever come across. This book powerfully illustrates the possibility one act of kindness has to snowball into an entire culture of kindness and love. I really cannot say enough good things about this one, I hope all kids can read this and experience this level of kindness in their classrooms and community.

       The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade is about a little girl who is tired of her classmates hurting each other and she decides to speak up. Even though she is small, she has big hopes and immense bravery as she works to make sure her class and school are a kind and welcoming place to be.

       The Adventures of Beekle The Unimaginary Friend (by Dan Santat, we are huge fans of all his work) is about an imaginary friend that has yet to be imaged (and therefore befriended) by a real child. Beekle goes to great lengths to find a friend, and his journeys are nothing short of extraordinary.

      The Day You Begin is a stunning book that I think all children should hear. It is a poetic picture book all about feeling different than the other kids at school. It walks a girl through the challenges that arise when you are different than your classmates, but also the beauty that lies in finding a friend who you can connect with. Maybe you have some similarities but also you learn to love your differences and celebrate them as much as what you find in common.

      Stick and Stone is a wonderfully charming book about Stick and Stone, who find each other and are so excited to have a friend. They happen upon a bully and Stick stands up for his friend, a great message for all kids on the importance of speaking up when you see something or someone being unkind. Kids will just fall in love with these characters.

      Be Kind, it's right there in the title. Also on our top reads of 2018 this book is so beautiful and essential for today's classrooms and homes. May we all work with our kiddos to create and sustain a culture of kindness for all the generations to come.

There are thousands more out there and as we come across them we will continue to share them with you, there's nothing more important in this world than the utter simplicity of kindness.

Happy Reading Everyone!



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