I read this blog post from Parnassus Books https://parnassusmusing.net/2018/01/17/14-picture-books-kind-citizens/#more-28438 If you aren’t currently signed up to receive the “musings” from Parnassus Books, I highly suggest you do.
This particlular post was about books to read with children showing them to be kind to one another. I got to the book Love by Matt de la Pena. I haven’t read the book yet, but I did link to the article in Time Magazine http://time.com/5093669/why-we-shouldnt-shield-children-from-darkness/. This article is so beautiful, and so important. Books can transport readers. If one book, one illustration, can help a child to “feel” than it was worth it. Often times, children do not have words to express how they are feeling. Books can help them find those words. By reading them with your children, you can also have discussions about the characters feelings, and usually get a glimpse into what your child is feeling.
Five years ago was the Sandy Hook shooting. My son was in 1st grade at the time – the same age and grade as all those beautiful angels. At first, my husband and I chose not to say anything to our children. But, of course, our son, was up with the sun the next morning and watching the news. Fortunately, he talked to us about it. We explained what had happened. We could not reassure either of our children that it would not happen to them, but we were able to talk about our fears, which was the best thing we could do at the time. By being able to express our feelings with our children we were able to give their feelings a voice, too. Many children do not have that opportunity. For this, we have books.
Kate DiCamillo writes a beautiful response to Matt de la Pena. (http://time.com/5099463/kate-dicamillo-kids-books-sad/) She talks about recognition. A recognition of her feelings. If children can feel that their emotions are recognized and validated in a book, it makes it that much easier for them to express themselves. These articles are so important, not just because they are validating what these authors are doing, but because they are helping children to express themselves.
Reading aloud to children on a regular basis can give them so much. One of the reasons it is so important to me is I feel it is a stepping stone to discussions with my children, sometimes about difficult subjects, and sometimes we just laugh about things that happened in the book. No matter the reason, if it helps your child to connect with his or her own feelings, then keep reading!