One of the challenges any parent faces is finding books that encourage a love of reading in their children. There are many books out there to choose from, but some are more substantial than others. Rain Coast Books offers some really great options for young readers that feature fantastic stories with relatable characters. These stories will make reading together fun and will encourage healthy discussion about diverse topics. With two children in elementary school, reading together is a big part of my family’s routine. What really makes a book stand out to me is when my children can learn something while we read, and these books offer lots of teaching moments. Here are four excellent books that Rain Coast Books offers just in time for the back to school season.
This Is How We Do It – By Matt Lamothe
This unique book takes a look at several children from different parts of the world. What makes this book special is that the characters in the story are real children. Having a singular point of view is not only something that adults struggle with. When we don’t have exposure to other cultures, it makes kids and adults alike less sensitive to what is going on in the world. Obviously, we can’t hop on a plane and visit every culture to observe the differences and similarities between us. This book is in excellent tool to help your kids learn about other cultures right in the comfort of their own home. The stories give faces and names to concepts that could otherwise seem abstract to children. Instead of just telling your kids that not everyone lives like them, it is more effective to show them. This Is How We Do It takes a look at children from Italy, Japan Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia. It follows them around a typical day in their lives and offers simple but meaningful examples of the differences and similarities between cultures. It helps children to understand that while we might look different or live in a different setting, we are really all more alike than we are different.
Real Friends – By Shannon Hale
This is a fantastic book that explores the difficult issue of relationships. We all deal with these issues from childhood into adulthood, and this book offers healthy perspective on what it means to discover who your actual friends are. The protagonist, Shannon, is a wonderfully normal girl who faces tough decisions about who she should be cultivating relationships with. Like all of us, Shannon has to decide between the tempting allure of cool friends versus friends who are actually positive influences in her life. Think Mean Girls for kids. Real Friends is an excellent tool to help your child to see what’s important in relationships. If you have a child who is in school – even if they are just entering kindergarten – you have probably picked up on how bullying and cliques starts at a young age. One of the greatest things we can do as parents is to steer our children in the right direction so that they don’t waste time on friendships that can be harmful to them. The sooner they learn that lesson the better. Even if your child hasn’t struggled with these things yet, it’s good to plant the seed so that they will know fake friends when they see them.
This book explores the way our imaginations can get the best of us when we are in a foreign situation. We follow Kyle through his escapades in a school cafeteria. The anticipation of disaster in this uncharted territory causes unfounded anxieties that haunt him until he finally realizes that it’s really not that bad. This is a relevant story that will remind your children that worrying about things doesn’t do any good, but just causes unnecessary stress. This book shines a spotlight on the tendency that we as human beings have to expect the worst in a situation. It also encourages kids to keep pressing on even when they are expecting a negative outcome. Kyle’s journey promotes adaptation, an especially beneficial quality for young kids who are encountering endless new endeavors.
School’s First Day of School – By Adam Rex
We all just went through the first day of school, and while some of our children were excited and ready to conquer the world, many of us saw tears and nerves abound. This is an awesome book that explores this very common case of the jitters, but the absolutely adorable thing is that the school itself is the anxious protagonist. The school worries about the kids and what they will think about him. This puts a completely different twist on the plentiful “first day of school” books, and gives a face, voice, and a personality to something that can seem cold and imposing to children. The illustrations are fantastic and the book is funny and enjoyable for everyone in the family. It demonstrates that, although it might seem that everyone is excited about the start of school, sometimes things aren’t exactly as they appear, and no one is immune to nervousness…not even the school itself.