It’s in our nature to surround ourselves with those to whom we can relate the most; that’s no different for children. Here’s a list we’ve pulled together of some of our favorite books on inclusion, which you can include in your reading rotation.
Books are important visual tools for children and are some of the first items they interact with as they develop mentally, physically, and emotionally. Books are an exciting way to watch children connect the dots between what they read and experience.
Children should have access to books that they can relate to and see themselves as the main character in the book. Not only is this empowering for children, but it can help foster the feeling of inclusion.
The Importance of Inclusion in Children’s Books
By definition, inclusion is the simply the act of being included; however, sometimes parents may have some trouble finding fun and exciting children’s books that not only include their own children, but include children of different races, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and family structures. Promoting empathy and respect for all types of diversity is essential to healthy relationships through childhood and adulthood.
It’s human nature to surround ourselves with those we can relate to most, and it’s no different for children. The more books in your home library with diverse characters and situations, the more your child will learn to embrace diversity and inclusivity.
If you are looking for books that include your children and the world around them, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorite inclusive books from our 2020 Wishlist that you can put in your reading rotation.
14 Books for Children About Inclusion
Who Was Jackie Robinson?
By: Gail Herman
Illustrated by John O’Brien
As a kid, he loved sports. In 1947 Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long time color barrier. Some of the fans didn’t like it. Some of his teammates didn’t like it. His story is as inspiring as he was. 112pgs
Beautiful / Bellas
By: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Every girl is special. Every girl is talented. Every girl is beautiful! 32pgs
By: Peter H. Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Can you draw? Vashti thinks she can’t. But oh, what a surprise! 32pgs
Don’t Throw it to Mo!
By: David A. Adler
Illustrated by Sam Ricks
Mo loves to play football! But, he’s not very good at it. He’s small, and has trouble catching the ball. Can he help his team win? 32pgs
Brave / Valiente
By: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Being brave isn’t just for superheroes. We can all be brave! 32pgs
I Love Our Earth / Amo nuestra Tierra
By: Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson
Illustrated by Dan Lipow
Our Earth is one of a kind. Let’s celebrate her colors, climates, and seasons! 32pgs
I Want to Be a Doctor
By: Laura Driscoll
Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
When Jack hurts his foot, his family takes him to the hospital. There he meets all sorts of doctors: bone doctors, eye doctors, baby doctors. How many different kinds of doctors are there? 32pgs
By: Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
A little girl lives in a scary neighborhood. Instead of seeing the scary things, she decides to look for the beautiful things. What are the beautiful things in your world?
Dancing in the Wings
By: Debbie Allen
Illustrated by Kador Nelson
In dance, sometimes it’s important to blend in with everyone else. Sometimes it’s important to stand out. Has Sassy made the right choices? 32pgs
Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, and other Tourist Attractions
By: Lenore Look
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Alvin is afraid of everything. But in this book, he’s taking his fears to a whole new level. Or should we say, continent? 176pgs
MTH #18: Buffalo Before Breakfast
By: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Sal Murdocca
Annie and Jack travel to the American plains, and visit a tribe named Lakota. When they meet up with a herd of bison, will they be safe? 96pgs
Bud, Not Buddy
By: Christopher Paul Curtis
In 1936 Flint, Michigan, life is hard for motherless Bud Caldwell. His mother never told him who his father was, but she left a few clues. Once Bud begins his search for his father, nothing can stop him. 288pgs
Who Was Harriet Tubman?
By: Yona Zeldis McDonough
Illustrated by Nancy Harrison
Harriet was born a slave, but grew into a brave and daring young woman. She was brave enough to escape from slavery and daring enough to help others escape, too. 112pgs
Who Was Sacagawea?
By: Judith Bloom Fradin, Dennis Brindell Fradin
Illustrated by Val Paul Taylor
Sacagawea is best known for helping the Lewis and Clark expedition map the Louisiana Territory and find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. But she was so much more! Read all about her amazing trip!
Let children create their own personal reading nook to foster a life-long love of reading
There is nothing better than seeing children’s imaginations come to life while they are reading!
The benefits of reading at a young age are endless. For example, reading enhances vocabulary, reduces stress, empowers empathy, and develops creativity and imagination.
By letting your children create their own special reading nook, you are empowering them to foster a love of reading. With a reading nook, you and your children can create a spot specifically for reading, where their imaginations can flow, and they can enjoy their own space and quiet time.
The reading nook can be as simple or intricate as they choose, but there are a few essential qualities to consider when creating the perfect space.
Quiet and Well-Lit
- Reading time should be quiet and distraction-free. Choose a space in your home away from high-traffic areas but with great natural light or light that is easy on the eyes.
- A corner in a playroom, bedroom, den, or office is an excellent location for a reading nook. Small lamps, nightlights, or twinkle lights can help with lighting in closed spaces.
- A special reading nook can also be outside! A hammock, a special chair on the porch, or underneath a tree are perfect places to let your child’s reading imagination run wild.
- Make this spot technology-free, too. Avoid having electronic tablets or chargers nearby for irresistible temptations.
- This reading nook should be well-stocked with books and learning tools for your child!
- Have a plentiful selection of different types of book to spark further curiosity.
- Encourage comprehension by keeping a dictionary handy for easy access. This will encourage your child to look up words they do not understand and learn more about what they are reading.
A Reflection of Them
- Since we want children to enjoy this space, the reading nook should include a few of their favorite things.
- Make the area cozy with pillows and blankets. They can even practice reading aloud to stuffed animals, pets, siblings, and family members. Plush bean bags are a great way to add seating to the area and add an element of coziness.
- Allow them to decorate their area with posters or different accessories to personalize their space, so they feel as if they own this area.
By creating a cozy little spot that is all their own, you have given your kids the perfect opportunity to fall in love with books. They will be lost in their imaginations and reading cover to cover in no time!
A vacation and a good book – name a more iconic duo! Books can go anywhere you go and can take you to more places than you could imagine!
Reading is essential to us here at Kids Read Now. Reading awakens children’s minds, sparks creativity, and provides an escape to another world, full of imagination!
As you begin packing for your next vacation, encourage your kids to pick out a few books to take with them. Empower them by giving them the option of choosing which books to take along. Choice goes a long way to creating an independent and encouraged reader!
In fact, many studies show when children self-select titles, they are more likely to read, comprehend, and enjoy the book.
Tips for reading on vacation with your child
Books can go anywhere you go: road trips, camping adventures, beach lazy days, mountain getaways, or even a staycation in your backyard. They never need batteries or a charger, and they are a great way to reduce stress, relax, and keep your mind active.
During our summer program, every book includes a Discovery Sheet on the inside of the front cover that encourages children to relate the book to other books, to themselves, and to the world around them. Families can easily replicate the same process on their own and join in on the fun with their books.
Here are a few tips for encouraging reading on vacation:
- Read the same book. Especially if your child is reading chapter books, grab an extra copy for yourself! Talk about character differences and the plot of the story to get a glimpse into their imagination.
- Ask questions about the book they are reading. Questions don’t have to feel like pop quizzes! Have conversations with your children about the book they are reading. Ask them what the book is about, favorite characters, and what is happening in the current chapter. Be curious, and your child will be open to sharing.
- Give guidelines around book selection. Ask your child to choose different kinds of books to take on vacation. Examples include educational, imaginative, or a more challenging title.
- Make reading a choice. While it’s important to encourage reading as a daily habit, don’t force the reading mandate. If children are required to read a specific title within a particular timeframe, it may become more of a battle for the parents and a chore for the child. As children are encouraged to make independent choices, they will be able to discern what they enjoy learning more about and choose books based on their preferences. Remember those studies about choice we mentioned above?
Vacations are a temporary escape from reality; a time to relax and let your mind wander – just like books. They should be enjoyed and revisited whenever possible. As you prepare for your next adventure, remember to add a few good books to your list, too.
Dear Educators, Parents and Partners,
Racial injustice has plagued our country for centuries, and despite progress in many sectors, people of color are still overwhelmingly likely to be subject to tragic police brutality and fatal incidents. The sad incidents of the past few weeks, exacerbated by those who fan the fires of hatred and racial inequities will leave another layer of scars on all our children.
Black and Brown people in our nation are far more likely to be infected and die from the novel Corona Pandemic. The massive layoffs drag down a high percentage of Black and Brown families already struggling behind white neighbors.
The extended school shutdowns will leave children of color even further behind their peers, and more likely to be home without adequate supervision; much less access to high speed internet and full screen devices essential to leaning during this unprecedented crisis. These same children live in the scrublands of book deserts during the best of times. With summer schools and community programs cancelled or curtailed; the inequities grow starker every day.
The indisputable fact is that bias and systemic oppression of marginalized communities are deeply intertwined with many aspects of our culture and society. This is just one more form of intolerable racism that we all must work to recognize and overcome
We at Kids Read Now believe it is critical for the future of our country that we collectively and proactively engage in the difficult conversations to define equity and take action to create a more equitable system.
When I was younger, belligerent neighbors vandalized our home and a week later I was screaming in terror in the Audubon ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated. A few years later, I was tear gassed in Washington at a peaceful demonstration that turned ugly with aggressive police presence. Sadly, this year feels like the 1960’s all over again.
We can, we will, we MUST do better.
Speaking up for the oppressed, working for justice, helping the disadvantaged is what we all need to do. Today more than ever.
Mailing 350,000 books to families over this extended summer is one way we strive for equitable home-learning, and assuring we deliver books to boost literacy, delivered to homes, overcoming the Covid quarantine measures.
We appreciate that our community of partners, educators and parents are committed to making a real difference.
My hope is that, together, we can help, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “bend the arc of history toward justice.”
Claire Kliss believes that getting students excited about reading requires a commitment to building (and feeding) a community. In Language Magazine’s April 2020 article, Building a Community of Year-Round Readers, she discusses how she’s making a difference in her district.
Read the article here
by: Aliah Williamson, WDTN NEWS
Link to the original post
TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Every summer since 2012, the Kids Read Now organization sends books to 130 different school districts to combat “summer slide” or learning loss.
This year, as the coronavirus shut down could potentially keep kids out of school for at least 5 months, there are tens of thousands of students facing new challenges.
Leib Lurie, the founder of Kids Read Now based in Troy, says economically disadvantaged students are more vulnerable when it comes to learning loss especially during the shutdown.
“Just over half of poor households have no highspeed internet connection and only 30 [to] 40 percent only have a phone,” said Lurie. “We have a lot of parents struggling just to keep their kids fed…”
In response, the nonprofit is ramping up its program early for “Spring Fling.” Schools can enroll in the program and help their students pick a wishlist of books for the summer.
The books each come with Discovery Sheets to help students with reading comprehension. When a student is finished with a book, they text a code to a number and the next book in the queue is sent.
Lurie says more than 10,000 students are already signed up.
“We’re going to ship probably close to 600,000 books in the next eight or ten-weeks. Typically nine books reduce the summer reading slide by 27 days or 2 1/2 months of school days. Six hundred thousand books are going to get a lot of kids doing a whole lot of reading,” said Lurie.
Sending books on such a large scale does come at a cost, but it’s a price that Lurie is prepared to pay to see students succeed.
“Our mission is to improve literacy outcomes for children. So if we have to put another $1 million of cost into this to keep it going we’re going to do that,” said Lurie.
Kids Read Now is looking for volunteers as well as donations to keep their program afloat.
For more information on how you could help out click here.