This has been a historic week. The United States swore in their first female Vice President just two days after the country recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day, whose powerful teachings about justice and equality are as important today as they were in his day. Here are a few books recommended by our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai about children and grown-ups striving for a better life and a better world.
A World of Kindness is a picture book written by the editors of Pajama Press and illustrated by nine celebrated artists. The book asks children to think about the ways in which they can show kindness and consideration for others; would it be by being kind to animals, using words like “please” and “thank you” and saying sorry when they’re wrong? The prompts in the book are a tool to make children think about how their acts of kindness can have a ripple effect and influence the world around them. Gentle, pastel illustrations accompany the text and convey the deceptively simple message of kindness in an approachable, child-friendly way. Grades Preschool-1
I Have the Right to Be a Child
Written by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty
In this beautiful picture book, with watercolour illustrations that look like tapestries, a young child tells us what it means to have rights: the right to food, water and shelter and the right to go to school, to be free from violence, to breathe clean air and more. The rights mentioned in the book come from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, and pertain to all children irrespective of their race or economic status. I Have the Right to Be a Child is the first book in a series that champions children’s rights and acknowledges their agency. The second book, I Have the Right to Save My Planet, which releases this spring, shows children being proactive and vocal about climate change and environmental awareness. Grades K-2
Written by Jen Sookfong Lee, illustrated by Drew Shannon
Leaving one’s home country and migrating to a new one where you don’t know anyone and your future is uncertain is never an easy decision. Yet, due to war, politics or other issues, people have moved across countries, continents and oceans since the dawn of time and the migration of humans from one place to another has shaped the world as we know it today. As a first-generation Chinese-Canadian, this is a subject close to author Jen Sookfong Lee’s heart. She draws on her personal experiences to talk about why people migrate and explores the topic from a historical perspective. We learn about the origins of human migration and current issues facing immigrants and refugees today. As the book reminds us, we are in the worst humanitarian crisis in history, with the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers since World War II. Sookfong Lee’s book, therefore, is timely and an important educational tool. Grades 3-7