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Yes, please.

by: Jackie Semmens

How can this be happening? I thought to myself, watching my one-year-old’s body turn red as the hives spread across his chest. We had done everything by the book: I hadn’t avoided nuts during my pregnancy; I exposed him to peanuts early like the pediatricians recommend. But here we were, driving to the emergency room. The allergist later confirmed – my baby was allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts.

Thus began a new set of rituals at our house – meticulously reading each and every food label, digging wrappers out of the trash to find out if he can eat the crackers a friend offered him at a playdate, avoiding restaurants unless we can be sure of what they serve, giving each babysitter a detailed list of instructions on what to do if he has a reaction, and carrying an EpiPen with us wherever we go.

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As my son starts preschool this year, we have rehearsed a certain interaction over and over. “What do you say if someone hands you food?” I drill him. “I say, ‘No, thank you! I’m allergic. I have my own.’” We quiz him again and again, reminding him that he is allergic to nuts and to dairy, and that he can never share food with a friend.

We confirmed with the teacher before he started that his room would be nut-free, and knowing that the teacher and fellow parents are willing to help give him a safe environment helps to ease some of my concern. Nut-free environments for our youngest learners helps ensure that all children, even those with food allergies, have access to education while remaining safe and healthy.

Although my son is also allergic to dairy, we’re typically more concerned about his nut allergies when he’s in public, not only because, for him, it’s a more severe allergy, but also because of the nature of nut allergies. As anyone who has ever made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or fed one to a toddler) knows, peanut butter is sticky and likely to end up spread across multiple surfaces before the meal is over.

Although it’s unlikely that an allergic child will have an anaphylactic reaction from mere contact, young children are forever sticking fingers, toys, and even crayons in their mouth, creating the potential for accidental ingestion. And for an unlucky few, even exposure to airborne particles can be enough to trigger a reaction. While severe food allergies are fairly rare, reactions to peanuts are the leading cause of anaphylaxis and death related to food allergy in the United States.

While some maintain that it’s the duty of families with allergies to prepare their child for the “real world,” the truth is that by the time they are old enough to enter that world, they will have a better understanding of the severity of their allergies and the steps they need to take in order to protect themselves.

We don’t send kindergarteners across the street alone just because they will need to do so when they’re older; we require that they hold our hands. It’s similar with allergies – we need to enlist the help of the community to create a nut-free environment while young children are still learning how to navigate their allergy independently.

I have a great deal of sympathy for parents who are frustrated at schools that don’t allow them to pack the simple and economical PB&J for their child’s lunch, or are annoyed at the difficulty of finding an allergy-friendly treat to bring in for special occasions. I share in those frustrations on a daily basis, and curse under my breath every time I see the price of SunButter.

I know what it’s like to have to deny your child something they desperately want to eat, like when they want to know why they can’t eat the same cookies everyone else at the birthday party is enjoying. I follow these restrictions on a daily basis, and without a second thought, because they could save my child’s life. I don’t wish to minimize what I’m asking other parents to do, because I realize I’m requesting that others make a sacrifice that doesn’t benefit them at all. But it greatly helps my child. And I do know this – I would do it for your kid in a heartbeat, especially if it meant saving their life.

While pediatricians do not recommend avoidance of nuts for children without the allergy, as it can actually increase the likelihood of peanut allergy, for children with the allergy, strict avoidance of the allergen is currently the only recommended way to prevent a serious reaction. Even if a non-allergic child attends a nut-free school, this does not prevent them from regularly enjoying peanuts and tree nuts when they are at home. However, there is no reason that consumption of nuts must be done around children who do have allergies. In fact, accidental exposure to peanuts and severe reactions are actually on the decline, likely due to greater public awareness and accidental exposure prevention strategies. As communities have become more conscious of food allergies, children have been made safer.

Raising children is never a solitary venture. We rely on the support of families, friends, and our community to help create safe environments for our kids. Just as we help our children safely cross the parking lot into the school, as a community, we should pull together to help make sure that all children, even those with severe food allergies, are safe when they arrive.

No, thank you.

by: Varda Epstein

I’ve heard (anecdotally) of a guy who dropped dead at a bus stop in my town after kissing his spouse. She’d eaten a cookie that had trace amounts of peanuts in it just moments before. He died so quickly that no one had time to find and use his EpiPen. That was in the 1980s when trace amounts of ingredients were not yet listed on food labels in my adopted country of Israel.

That has changed. By law, Israeli food labels must now include a warning of possible trace amounts of allergens in food products. Still, there was, and is no thought of banning nuts in Israeli schools, even today.

In fact, far from banning nuts from schools and daycare centers, the peanut is urged on babies and children in the form of a peanut-flavored snack called Bamba. Bamba are exactly like Cheese Doodles without the cheese. Or rather, instead of cheddar, the little puffs are flavored with peanut butter.

Bamba takes the place of the Cheerio for Israeli babies. They fit nicely in a baby’s fist and when gummed, melt into goo for easy swallowing. Because they’re so much a part of the infant diet, the Osem company, which produces the little snack puffs, fortifies them with vitamins.

Which is a good thing. Because I don’t know about your babies, but most of mine went through a picky period where they didn’t like anything I tried to feed them. Other than Bamba, that is. Even when they were cranky from teething, they’d eat Bamba. With Bamba I knew my kids were getting their vitamins, eating something, and I didn’t have to worry.

So here’s where it gets really interesting: my second child (of 12) was and is allergic to several foods, including peanuts and other nuts. Yet as an infant, I had no clue this was the case, as she too, did just fine on Bamba. Her allergies never developed to the point of anaphylactic shock, thank goodness, and in light of a March 2015  study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, I do believe that we have Bamba, the peanut-flavored snack, to thank for this fact.

The study in question was the Learning Early about Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial; an attempt to discover whether the “early introduction of dietary peanut could serve as an effective primary and secondary strategy for the prevention of peanut allergy.” The LEAP researchers, based in the United Kingdom, used Bamba, purchased at a discount from Osem, as their primary source for peanut protein.

The findings of the LEAP study suggest that medical advice calling for avoidance of exposure to peanuts had actually caused the rate of peanut allergy among American children to skyrocket. Meanwhile, feeding babies Bamba during an infant’s first year of life, beginning at around age seven months, appeared to lower the risk of developing peanut allergies by 81%. Furthermore, in those children who ate Bamba as babies and then went on to develop peanut allergies (like my daughter, for instance), the allergic responses appeared to be far milder in nature.

This study was groundbreaking. For the first time, researchers had proof that early exposure to allergenic foods could prevent or lessen allergic reactions. The hope going forward is that research will manage to produce similar results using allergenic foods like soy, eggs, and dairy, for instance.

The study of immunization and food allergies has a long way to go, of course. As a teenager, I received allergy shots for pollen and other airborne allergens. But I was told no such therapy was available for food allergies. The Bamba study seems to have blown that myth right out of the water.

But if that’s the case, why are we banning peanuts from all places where children congregate? Places like schools, daycare centers, and yes, summer camps? Here’s the truth: we’ve created a nut-free society because of poor – or at least outdated – medical advice.

Schools would not tremble at the sight of a peanut butter sandwich had we not stopped feeding kids peanut butter. So how did it happen? When did we decide peanut butter was dangerous to the point that we made it dangerous?

It began in the 1990s when a slew of newspaper headlines such as, “Little Girl Drops Dead After Eating PB&J,” appeared. Parents read those headlines and freaked. At the same time, medical journals began to be full of articles about serious peanut allergies. Soon we had an epidemic on our hands.

Peanut Panic

Or did we? Researcher Miranda Waggoner, is convinced the epidemic was more a peanut “panic” than an actual rise in severe peanut allergies. According to Waggoner, severe peanut allergies remain rare. The reported tripling of the rate of peanut allergies was, she says, a social construct (with the aid of experts who spread the fear among the public), rather than an actual contemporary public health issue.

In other words, experts and the media raised awareness of severe peanut allergies to the point of hyper-awareness. As a result, peanut bans were instituted, and this in turn affected the immune systems of our children because we avoided exposing them to nuts. We prevented them from developing their immune systems to the point of resisting peanut allergy, by depriving them of peanut butter.

While the LEAP trial involved giving children Bamba at a very young age, rather than school age, it is quite possible that nut-free schools may actually contribute to nut allergies, by limiting exposure to nuts. No one can say this for sure, right now. What we can say is that if you look at the actual number of children experiencing severe reactions to peanuts, you will find it is a very low number, indeed.

Trying to find the actual number of school children with peanut allergies was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Waggoner found that only 1% of the American population has a reported allergy to peanuts. If you look at how many of those Americans are children, you are looking at a number that is less than 1%.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says that 400,000 American school children have peanut allergies. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) puts the total number of American school children at 50.4 million. That means that .79% of school children have peanut allergies, but this figure says nothing of the severity of their allergies. How many of those children are going to have a severe anaphylactic shock in response to someone eating a peanut next to them?

If your child has a known, severe allergy to peanuts, it makes sense you’d approach the school and ask that precautions be taken. But nut-free schools in general? They’re hurting more kids than they’re helping.

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The holidays are quickly on their way, and while there are tons of ways to celebrate, you should feel free to get a little creative with it and make your own traditions (there's no law requiring you to dress everyone in matching red velvet jumpers to sit on Santa's lap). So instead of battling between getting the perfect picture and your baby's natural urge to wiggle, harness the power of those inevitable Hallmark moments—the first giggle, the budding personality, the two-toothed grin—to make your December super special.

Here are six new traditions you can start to meet your little one where they are and celebrate joy in this season—without all the stress.

1. Make DIY ornaments

Decorating the tree is a beloved tradition, and having a little one is all the more reason to get into the spirit of it. Get the baby—and the rest of the family—involved in the fun by letting everyone color or paint on an unbreakable, homemade ornament and hang them towards the bottom of the tree. And sure, your infant may not create any masterpieces at this age, but not only will the precious family heirlooms stay higher up (read: away from tiny hands), you'll also be creating keepsakes to build on for years to come.

2. Bring a holiday scene to life

Connecting your children to the spirit of the season is an important part of teaching them what it's all about, but it's not always so easy to do through books and stories alone. Instead, offer them the chance to live it out! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or another significant holiday, playing pretend is the ideal way to teach and have fun along the way for everyone in the family. Use a kid-friendly nativity book as a guide or make your own menorah as you explore the story of the oil that burned for 8 nights—whatever your religion, there's an important tale to tell.

3. Make video cards

There is joy in receiving physical mail and holiday cards are a wonderful way to make your loved ones feel special. But don't stop there! Record a video greeting to send to your nearest and dearest to keep even the most far-away relatives feel like they're right there with you. Everyone will love seeing the baby's latest milestones in live-action, and it's a great way to spread the season's warmest greetings.

4. Start a time capsule box

Making (and maintaining) a baby book is a fabulous idea, but sometimes keeping it up-to-date gets lost in the shuffle of parenthood. Use the holiday season as a time to reconnect with all those beloved memories for your kiddo by starting an annual time capsule box: Each year, have all members of the family add one item of their choosing (or your choosing, depending on age) to the box and label it with a little note. Things can range from a favorite holiday-themed blanket or toy to something they no longer need but aren't ready to throw away.

5. Begin a culinary tradition

Nothing says "cozy" like a yummy-smelling kitchen filled with laughter. While your tot may still be too small to really help in the kitchen, it's never too early to kickstart their love of cooking. Pick a recipe you'll make every year and get them "involved" with a spoon and an empty mixing bowl. You'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor together and it'll help encourage them to cook with you more year-round, too.

6. Play king for a day

We all know that as babies grow up—independence is a priority, no matter how ready for it we really are. This year, give them the gift of being in charge. By allowing your little one to eat what they want, wear what they pick (a sparkly tutu? No problem. An adorable Christmas cape? Great!) and play with what they prefer, you'll be empowering them with a sense of self and giving yourself the gift of hilarious photo ops for years to come.

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As an ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi talks to a lot of pro athletes. But as a parent he knows that sometimes raising kids is as hard as training for the big leagues (seriously, science proves that kids energy levels surpass endurance athletes' and parents are running after those kids).

Negandhi knows what it's like to be face-to-face with athletes that so many people idolize, but he also knows that a parent can be more influential than any big league idol, and that's why he's working with Dove Men+Care SPORTCARE to put real dads in the spotlight.

"We have a platform to showcase what they do as everyday athletes, but also as everyday men, everyday fathers," says Negandhi, who has three kids himself. He tells Motherly he tries to make sure he's active with his kids—playing sports with them so that they understand the importance of staying active—but also staying active with the kids when the touch football ends and the real parenting endurance test begins. Like many modern fathers, Negandhi is committed to doing more childcare than his own father did.

"My mom did everything in our house," he tells Motherly. "My dad worked, but my mom worked as well. And she did everything. She raised us. But at the same time she showed me another side. And many times growing up I said, 'How can I be different than my father?'"

Being involved with his kids and doing more of the unpaid work in his household than his own dad did is how Negandhi is doing it, and he's taking time to showcase three fellow dads who—while sharing their names with professional athletes—certainly don't get as much credit as the pros.

That is actually something of a problem in media right now. According to a recent survey by Dove Men+Care, 70% of men wish regular guys who are athletes (but not professionals) got more attention in sports media. Because as much as winning the Superbowl or making it to the major leagues should be celebrated, being a dad who is physically active and active in raising his kids should be celebrated, too.

Research shows that when kids grow up seeing dads exercise they are healthier, and while these three men happen to share their names with famous athletes, they don't get the same glory. So Negandhi and Dove Men+Care are giving these hard working dads some recognition.

Alvin Suarez

Alvin Suarez is teaching his kids that having a disability doesn't disqualify you from being an athlete. As a visually-impaired person, Alvin isn't the standard athlete we see represented in media. He plays Goalball, a sport that relies on keen ear-hand coordination, and he is certainly a keen father, chasing after his twin girls.

Alvin says the difference between sports and fatherhood is that you can train for sports, while parenthood takes you by surprise. "I try to be a good role model for my daughters and I want everyone to know that everyone has potential and that there is no such thing as a nobody."

Alvin has won championships as a Goalball player, but says holding his daughters in his arms for the first time was like winning a medal but multiplied by a million.

Sean Williams

Sean Williams is committed to his community and his kids. He uses physical fitness to connect with his kids and to, literally, save lives. A volunteer firefighter, Sean keeps fit so that he can use his body and energy to maximum impact. He isn't just changing the lives of people impacted by fires, but also his fellow dads.

The founder of The Dad Gang, an organization committed to celebrating and telling the real story of black fatherhood, Sean has created a space for dads to connect with their children and each other while staying active.

"One of the challenges we put out on social media is where you do pushups with our kids on our backs and that merges fatherhood and fitness," he explains.

If there was a Super Bowl for community service, Sean would be wearing the ring.

Chris Paul

A Marine Corps veteran, Chris needs a ton of energy to keep up with his blended family. It started out as an "all-girl Brady Bunch" he explains, as his wife and he had six daughters between them, but they've since added a boy to the family which now included seven kids. .

He's basically got his own sports team at home so it makes sense that Chris is super committed to staying fit for them. The Marine turned realtor takes time to help other dads in his community stay fit and knows when to draw boundaries to protect his time with his kids.

He's got some good endurance, but he's not going to work 15 hours a day when his kids are waiting at home for him. Chris says in former times dads were often passive figures in their kids' lives as the child rearing was done by others.

Like the other men, he's changing that. "I'm an active participant and I want to make sure that I can contribute to my children's lives."

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Back in 2017 when we learned Beyoncé was starring in a new remake of The Lion King I was thrilled. My son (my only child) was almost 2 years old and I told my partner I wanted The Lion King to be our son's first movie theatre experience. Going to see the original Lion King in a movie theatre was a big deal to me as a kid and I wanted to recreate that experience for my son.

Flash forward to July 2019 and The Lion King is in theaters—but my son and I are not. Turns out I really overestimated how long 3-year-olds can sit still. While my son loves watching 1994's Lion King at home (he always stands on the couch and lifts his stuffed animals to the sky during "Circle of Life") he's just not quite subdued enough for the cinema yet.

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So we have been waiting to see The Lion King at home, and now we finally can! October 11 marks the film's digital home video release, and the Blu-ray hits stores on October 22.

Rob Legato, a VFX supervisor on the film, tells Motherly that "the visuals are so well preserved on 4K and newer television sets that it is literally the mini theatre experience and you're not missing much by seeing it at home."

Basically, the digital version is going to be just as awesome as seeing it in theaters, except that we will be able to pause for potty breaks and my kiddo can stand on his seat pretending to be Rafiki without blocking anyone's view.

The movie is, of course, incredible, but so are the animals it's based on. Screening the movie at home is an amazing way to start conversations with your kids about the various animals in the film as they are of course more similar to the real animals they are based on then their animated counterparts were in 1994.

The filmmakers went to Africa to research the animals they were bringing to life and they also spent a ton of time at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve inside Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida watching various species to try to make their movements as realistic as possible. There, 34 species live on 110 acres and the filmmakers got to watch them closely, making this film incredibly detailed.

Some of the animal experts who work with these animals on a daily basis say that when they watch The Lion King, they can actually tell which characters are based on which of the animals they know in real life.

"This film presented a really wonderful and unique opportunity to bring the production crew to the animals here at Disney's Animal Kingdom. They spent about 6 weeks here collecting reference footage of the animals here and we partnered really closely with the animal care teams at Disney's Animal Kingdom to make sure that all of the filming that we were doing, the impact to the animals was minimized," says Jon Ross of Disney's Animals in TV and Film department

The film crew watched the animals from a distance, which is something families can also do at Disney's Animal Kingdom by taking the Kilimanjaro Safari or staying in Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where giraffes and other animals can be seen right from hotel balconies.

But the work Disney is doing with the animals is more than a tourist attraction. The company is serious about conservation and protecting the animal species featured in the park and in its films. "Tied to the Lion King film we launched the Protect the Pride initiative," Claire Martin of Disney's Conservation & Partnerships team tells Motherly. "We realized that we'd lost half of the world's lions since the first Lion King film debuted and we want to turn that around, so we're working with the Wildlife Conservation Network's Lion Recovery Fund to help their vision to double the amount of lions in the wild by 2050," she explains.

Marin suggests that parents watching The Lion King with their kids can use the film to talk to their children about conservation issues and continue the education long after the end credits roll. "We encourage people to learn more, visit the website, get involved and learn more about how they can make an impact on lions and other wildlife across Africa," says Martin.

Through the website, parents can even download an activity packet (you can print it and make your kids a cool book) with all kinds of information and cool activities and to help kids feed their lion obsession in an educational way even when screen time is over.

The Lion King is available to stream now and will be on Blu-ray October 22 (with even more educational features about the animals!)

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For those without a toddler glued to the screen, Blippi is the colorfully dressed, bespectacled YouTube alter ego of Stevin John. He delights children by acting like a little kid as he visits farms, indoor playgrounds, construction sites and more, teaching simple lessons and singing songs about everything he sees. His channel has 5.71 million subscribers, with hits like "The Excavator Song" racking up 50 million views.

This kind of success meant he was long overdue to take the show on the road. Earlier this week, he announced a 30-date U.S. tour with an interview on Billboard, as well as on his social media. But now parents of Blippi fans, are concerned that they won't get the "real" Blippi when they attend Blippi Live shows next year.

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Parents flocked to his site to purchase tickets, which cost $26-$70, for the shows running in February and March 2020. But some of them hadn't read the interview, nor did they notice the fine print on the FAQ page of the Blippi Live site that said Stevin John himself was not going to be on the stage.

"I won't be on the road, but I am obviously extremely involved with the whole process," John told Billboard. "Blippi is as a character and I'm the creative force behind it, but since YouTube is a monster and all of these platforms are really crazy I can't go on the road for many weeks or months at a time."

Some parents had even spent $40-$51 on the after-show meet-and-greet before they realized that their kids would be meeting an unfamiliar "performer" instead of John. Many reacted with outrage and immediately tried to get a refund, according to Buzzfeed News.

"I didn't find out until five seconds after I submitted my payment and Ticketmaster refused to refund me," Angelina Sakowski told Buzzfeed after she bought tickets to a New Jersey show.

Stephen Shaw, the producer and promoter of the Blippi Live show, told Buzzfeed that his company would be sending parents a letter informing them about the replacement performer and would offer refunds.

They have also since added this line to the Blippi Live site: "Stevin John is the creator of Blippi and acts as the writer and creative force behind the Blippi character. Now that Blippi has evolved as a character he is excited that a dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences across all of the tour markets."

It's hard to guess whether Blippi's actual target audience—i.e., not the upset parents—would care that stage Blippi was a slightly different person than the one they see on screens. After all, the Baby Sharks in the live show are 3D and therefore slightly different from the animated versions we all know and love/hate.

Stevin John issued a statement on the official Blippi Instagram account this week, which reads, in part: "We tried to make it clear that I would not be the character at the live show (via Billboard Exclusive Interview + FAQ on BlippiLive.com) but I'm sorry it seems that wasn't enough. We have adjusted and continue to make it even more apparent that it's not going to be me on stage. I will be the creative force behind the live show, as a producer, a writer, and also I am personally casting the live theater performer to play the character on stage."

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Today, October 11th, is the International Day of the Girl. To celebrate, we curated our favorite books showcasing incredible girls from around the globe. These picks challenge the girl-boy binary by breaking gender stereotypes and demonstrate how gender intersects with race, culture and class. These books celebrate the power of girls, and inspire us to create a world where kids are free to be regardless of their gender.

Each of these books have been featured in the Little Feminist book club, and our subscribers have read and loved them all!

1. Rosa Loves Cars

Ages 0-4

What's more empowering than doing what you love? Cars, dinosaurs, dolls, dresses—all kids can love all of these and so much more! We love Rosa's joy in all things wheeled from fire trucks to car races. Celebrate the freedom to play with this adorable board book series.

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2. We are Little Feminists series

Ages 0-5

Babies love photos of babies. All kids deserve diverse books. Put that together and what do you get? Our book series!! These three books (Hair, On-the-Go and Family) feature amazing community-sourced photographs of all sorts of people moving, laughing and loving in all sorts of ways. You and your kiddos will want to look at them again and again!

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3. Big Mooncake for Little Star

Ages 2-6

Breathtaking illustrations and sweetest insatiable sweet tooth make this book unforgettable. Little Star keeps craving the big mooncake, and her sneaky bedtime nibbles will make you want a bite too! This #OwnVoices story draws on the author's Taiwanese roots to highlight the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. We love how this story perfectly captures love, anticipation and celebration for little readers.

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4. Drum Dream Girl

Ages 3-7

Gender minorities (read everyone who's not a cisgendered male) have been historically excluded from countless activities and institutions: schools, sports, and even drumming. We love this unique story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga- one of Cuba's first womxn drummers! The musical rhymes and colorful Cuban plants that adorn each page will have you dancing as you read.

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5. Reading Beauty

Ages 3-7

This is a fairytale done right! The princess's prince is not who you think it will be, in fact there's no male savior in sight. Princess Lex, with her awesome blue afro, is an adventurous problem solver who seeks peace and inclusion instead of revenge. If you have any aspiring little royals at home, this fantastical kingdom is the place for them!

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6. My Papi has a Motorcycle

Ages 3-7

Take a motorcycle ride alongside this little girl and her papi and discover what makes community so special. We love how seamlessly the Latinx author and illustrator blend Spanish and English in this #OwnVoices story. Watch out, your little reader might ask you to get a motorcycle after they see the illustrations of this dynamic ride.

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7. Separate is Never Equal

Ages 6-10

We all have heard of Malala and Ruby Bridges, but so many girls have fought for equal access to education including Sylvia Mendez. We love how this story puts the Mendez family's activism front and center—shining light on the rich history of self-advocacy in the Mexican-American community. Yes, this is another #OwnVoices stories, and yes those are our favorite.

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8. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?

Ages 6-10

Do you know who Barbara Jordan is?! GO, do all the Googling now! But also, read this book! Minds will be blown- how did we not learn about this powerhouse of a woman in history class?! Glass ceilings will be shattered- Barbara served as a Texas Senator in 1967 along with 30 white men! This book goes to show that children's books are not just for kids.

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9. Josephine

Ages 7-13

We are illustrator Christian Robinson's #1 fans! In this book he takes you on a beautiful journey through artist and activist Josephine Baker's life. Josephine felt fearful and angry about all the injustices in society, sound like a familiar feeling? She took all that frustration and transformed into amazing art. We love this book because we believe art is powerful, art is necessary, art is healing. And books about strong black woman without any white saviors lurking on the next page are always a win.

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10. Book Uncle and Me

Ages 7-13

A book about a girl's community activism in her Indian city written by an Indian author?! We're here for all these great #OwnVoices stories! We love how this story of Yasmin campaigning for change empowers kids to be changemakers- and also reminds adults to see kids as capable. Yasmin's tenacity will inspire you to channel your inner leader no matter where you live.

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While these books feature and celebrate girls, we believe all kids of ALL genders should read these picks. Each child deserves a joyful, healthy, free childhood where they feel safe being who they are.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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