So often children feel pressured to fit in, especially once they start school. This collection of books about being yourself encourages children to be proud of who they are, so matter how different that may be!
I received a complimentary copy of The Thunder Egg from Wisdom Tales Press to facilitate my review; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.
We adore Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. It is so visual that it’s profound lesson is easy for even young children to understand. Red is a young crayon who can’t seem to do anything right. He can’t draw red strawberries or fire engines like his teacher, and when he gets together with yellow crayon, the results turn out to be green instead of orange. Nothing seems to be going right, until one day a new friend asks him to help draw a blue ocean – and suddenly Red realizes his true talent was there all along.
Karma Wilson is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her prose begs to be read aloud, and Hilda Must Be Dancing is no exception. Hilda the Hippo just loves to dance, but her earth-shaking moves disturb all the other animals. One by one, they try to convince her to take up other hobbies, but Hilda just wants to dance. Can she find a way to keep dancing and keep her friends happy too?
When we studied Japan last month, I was delighted to come across Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki. It is a charming book about a girl who doesn’t let the sour opinions of others keep her from doing what she wants. Suki loves the kimono her obachan (grandmother) gave her on her last visit from Japan. It reminds her of the fun they had together dancing at the street festival. So even when her sisters turn up their noses and her classmates tease her, Suki doesn’t let this diminish the joy she feels in wearing her kimono on the first day of school. In the end, her lively description of the festival wins her classmates over, proving that it’s always better to follow your heart.
As the mother to two (soon to be three!) biracial/bicultural children, of course I love Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match: Marisol McDonald no combina. This celebrated book tells the tale of a lively Peruvian-Scottish girl who just doesn’t seem to fit in – not that she minds! She’ll keep her peanut butter and jelly burritos and her polka dots and stripes, thank you very much, and if others don’t like her mixed-up ways, well, that’s really their problem, isn’t it?
It’s only fitting to include a robot book here, as both of my boys love robots. Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit is a real favorite in our house. Randy Riley is a genius, but he feels like a failure because he can’t play baseball as well as the rest of the kids. Then one night, looking through his telescope before bed, he discovers that an asteroid is headed straight for his town! When his parents don’t take him seriously, Randy Riley knows that it’s up to him to save the day with one really big hit. This is such a fun book to read for kids and parents. The rhyming text is skillfully done, and the artwork is wonderfully fun.
Stellaluna is a classic book that we read together recently. The illustrations are just gorgeous, and the story itself is both lovely and often quite funny. Stellaluna is a young bat that is taken in by a family of birds after being separated from her mother. As Stellaluna struggles to adapt to her new family’s way of life – sleeping at night, eating insects, and not hanging upside-down by her feet – the young fruit bat can’t help but feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with her, since she is so different. It is only when she encounters a group of bats – including her mother! – that she realizes that she is just as she is supposed to be.
For early readers, I really recommend The Thunder Egg by Tim J. Myers. This beautifully written book follows a young Cheyenne girl, aptly named Stands-By-Herself, who is teased by other children for being different. One day she finds a remarkable rock, and though she does not fully understand what it is, she senses its importance and cares for it as a child, despite even greater teasing from the others. But the true test of Stands-By-Herself’s spirit will come when she has to let go of her special egg in order to save her people. Can she make the sacrifice, and will the others finally realize her unique gifts?