As children transition from toddlerhood into preschoolers, one of the rights of passage is thinking through their frustrations and overcoming challenges. It's a good day when they no longer scream in frustration, but instead talk about their feelings. But, getting there requires a bit of emotional support. One way to help kids understand resilience is to expose them to books with characters who tackle difficult challenges.
1. ‘In My Heart’
For any child who has missed a family member (or any adult who has ever missed their kiddo), In My Heart, normalizes these feelings. Each time you pick up this book, you'll discover diverse characters, adorable stuffed animals and more.
2. ‘We are Little Feminists: Hair’
Little Feminist wrote this book specifically for families to talk about celebrating race and ethnicity at home. Photos of real families are accompanied by playful rhyming text that will make this a book your kids keep reaching for. Sold as a set of three on Amazon.
3. ‘Katy and the Big Snow’
This unstoppable snow plow named Katy uses she/her pronouns, which is a refreshing change for a vehicle. This 75-year-old classic offers a great opportunity to talk about hard work and beating the odds.
4. ‘Feel Better Daddy’
Feel Better Daddy shows us what it looks like to recognize someone else's need and help accordingly. This book flips the script on the traditional parent as caretaker role. Our little protagonist excitedly steps into the caretaker shoes of her father. You and your little will love the subtle details like a tissue delivery dog.
5. ‘The Rabbit Listened’
The Rabbit Listened shares a simple, yet powerful, message for adults and children alike: we all experience sadness, and not only is sadness okay to feel, but it's also okay that we each experience sadness in our own way. Different animals come to console Taylor, but the animals struggle to empathize and instead offer different solutions to "fix" the problem. It's the rabbit who reminds us of the power of empathy, and how simple it is to offer empathy to those who need it.
6. ‘Happy Like Soccer’
This is a favorite picture book among our book club members because it reminds us that attending weekend events is, in fact, a privilege. We love the diverse family structures represented too.
7. ‘When Aidan Became a Brother’
This #OwnVoices story centers on Aidan, a trans boy, who shows us the depth and complexity of gender identity. Aidan's parents remind us that while we might not always know the best ways to care for our child(ren), we can always learn and grow with our kid(s).
8. ‘The Many of Colors Harpreet Singh’
This amazing book provides a window into Sikh-American culture through the universal theme of navigating a new experience. Harpreet's story reflects how affirming it is to choose what we wear, and touches on the significance of the Sikh head-covering, a patka. Harpreet's different colored patkas take us through emotions that come with navigating change. The illustrations subtly evoke the experience of being othered and how those experiences are amplified for people of color.
9. ‘Ho'onani: Hula Warrior’
When we found this book we had to pinch ourselves cause we thought we were dreaming. This story is an out-of-this-world blend of indigenous Hawaiian culture, gender fluidity beyond the binary, and a true story about a real kid. Don't be surprised when Ho'onani (ho-oh-nah-knee) becomes a household name.
'Harold Finds a Voice'
Harold is fantastic at imitating and copying all the sounds he hears in his home, but as he grows bored of always repeating someone else, he sets out to discover a voice of his own. This colorful and engaging picture book teaches even the youngest readers that your own unique voice is a powerful and important tool.
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