Dear Future Teachers...
Growing up, my favorite past time was, you guessed it, reading! I loved reading both in and outside of the classroom. I know that not everyone enjoyed books as much as I did, but literacy is an important skill to instill in kiddos! Through a Children's Literature class I took, I learned many different ways to engage students in reading, as well as what books are beneficial in the classroom. For one project, I read over 30 children's books, and created a theme out of a select few that I believe should be in every elementary classroom, and today I'm going to share it with you!
Books are one way to teach specific lessons to students. Acceptance and inclusivity are perfect topics for children to learn in the classroom. There are many beautiful identities within every classroom, and each child deserves to be celebrated for being who they are. Books promoting #kindness and #inclusivity of all people can help eliminate bullying in the classroom. Students are never too young to understand the importance of being kind to everyone in the classroom, regardless of their backgrounds and identities. Now, without further ado, here are the 9 books I selected to fit the theme of Kindness and Inclusivity!
Lovely by Jess Hong
Lovely is a short book that highlights the beauty in all people, no matter their size, color, clothes, or who they are. The illustrations are inclusive of all people with positive text promoting self-love and inclusivity.
2. Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Hair Love provides representation of different hair types. The book is positive and fun, with colorful illustrations that are perfect for young audiences.
3. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
All Are Welcome recognizes the different personalities and identities within a classroom. It validates any worries a child might have, by reinsuring the fact that all kids are welcome in the classroom. It enforces the idea that all children belong in the classroom space.
4. Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julián Is A Mermaid features a Latinx family, specifically a young boy who wants to dress up as a mermaid. This book normalizes boys being able to dress up how they feel comfortable, and highlights the acceptance of his grandmother to indicate that he is still loved for who he is.
5. No Mirrors in my Nana's House by Ysaye Maria Barnwell
No Mirrors in My Nana's House uses affirming language to define beauty in a different way. This book highlights the fact that beauty isn't so much about looks as it is love for people and for yourself.
6. This Is Our House by Michael Rosen
This Is Our House follows a group of kids playing together on the playground. One boy resists including other kids in his playhouse because they are different than he is. Throughout the book, the young boy learns that everyone should play with him, no matter who they are. He accepts all the other students as his friend.
7. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
The Day You Begin acknowledges that it can be intimidating starting school where there are people who look different than you do. Throughout the book, any fears or worries a child might have are addressed, and children are reassured that their stories are just as important as anyone else's.
8. My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison
My Friend Maggie has a cast of animal characters who go to school together. There is a bully in the book who singles out other kids for being too "different." In the end, our main character realizes who her real friends are, and that leaving others out is not acceptable.
9. Milo's Museum by Zetta Elliot
Milo's Museum touches on the fact that some cultures and races lack representation in museums. To remedy this, Milo, an African American child, creates her own museums, where she can include and tell the stories of her culture. She expands her museum to include everyone in the neighborhood, sending the message that everyone's histories are important.
Whether you've read these books or not, I highly encourage you explore the stories they tell and consider including them in your own classrooms! Representation matters, and these books do an excellent job at portraying different students who may be sitting in your classrooms. By including books such as the ones in this list, you are helping to create an environment that promotes #positivity and love.
If you have any suggestions to add to this list, drop them in the comments below! You may inspire other teachers to add to their classroom libraries! #literacyisliberation