Hi Guys and a happy Monday to you! It’s a gorgeous day in California. The temperatures are low, but the sun is shining brightly, which makes this girl want to go out and play. However, I am choosing to stay inside and instead write this post, which covers my most favorite topic-books!
Today, I am so happy with everyone on social media putting up their favorite quotes of MLK on their social accounts. It truly is inspirational to see that people from the last century, such as MLK, are heroes even for today’s generations. It really makes me think that his words uttered some 60 years ago still resonate today for people on a personal level.
We learn about heroes such as MLK in school. And school is a place for other incredible lessons and life experiences as well. The lessons we learn as children in school or in college about relationships-racial, social, economical, professional, personal, etc., still resonate for the rest of our lives. However, these lessons can work only on the basis of mutual respect and understanding that we are human beings with certain unalienable rights and we must treat others as such. It is imperative that these lessons taught in school are reinforced in home life as well. That’s why today, I wanted to share a list of my personal favorite children’s books that I read in my youth, which served as a foundation for my character. Please note these books were carefully selected by me based on age-appropriateness and the topics they cover. Living in America today, these books serve a wonderful opportunity to give kids the language to understand and express things like feelings in relationships, which is so complicated, not even adults are considered experts. Use these recommended reading titles as references for personal and greater issues during dinner-table discussions with your kids.
School-Aged Kids (Grades 1-5)
This is the time when children all get along and are not divided based on what they look like or speak like or where they are from. Any conflicts among them are based on not “following rules”. This is the best time to get creative, and teach them lessons about faith, jurisprudence, and character through imaginative plots and characters.
Some of the books and authors great for discussions are Enid Blyton (see HERE), Roald Dahl (see HERE), and the older versions of all the Baby Sitter’s Club series and Sweet Valley series (available on Amazon, but you have to search for them a bit). These books may seem outdated and inapplicable for today’s youth, but they truly taught me responsibility in relationships. Skills like being empathetic, how to give and take, how to speak up, how to deal with embarrassment, etc. were taught better by the characters in these books because they served as role models for me. Also, cartoons do a great job teaching kids some incredible life lessons, but, they do not give time to those kids to process and think about the lessons being taught. When kids read books, they ask questions, get clarifications and make connections to their own lives.
Middle-School & High School
The books I read in school were some of the most touching books that highlighted the unfairness I was experiencing and observing in the world. They discussed topics that were uncomfortable at a time, but because of the nature of reading books, I felt safe to imagine worlds different from the one I lived in and that made a world of a difference. I, however, did NOT feel safe to ask questions on my mind. Our tasks as adults today is to make it safe for youth to express their views and ask questions.
One of the biggest issues I’ve dealt with is conflicts based on biases. I had my share of confrontations with girls who were biased because of my background and social status, and while I was strong enough to fight them off, I never understood why they thought that in the first place. When I used to ask my mom, she would just blame it on their upbringing, and that would satisfy me enough to go to school the next day. However, when I read these books as a middle-school and a high-schooler, I learned how deeply rooted these biases of physical and status differences are, and while I still ask questions, I know that it is just the way some people work and to instead concentrate on myself and those who want my help.
Please tell your older children to read books like “Cry, the Beloved Country” (See HERE), Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (see HERE), To Kill a Mockingbird (See HERE), The Martian Chronicles (see HERE), and The Lord of the Flies (see HERE). These books will teach them about more about society than any sociology class ever will.
Some of the other books I read that were kinda cool were “The Great Illustrated Classics” (see HERE) because of their accessibility to literary classics. The Harry Potter series (See HERE) is great too, and should be encouraged to be reread since the nuances and social layers get apparent as they get older and have more life experiences to make personal connections to the plot. See my other post about Children Literature as well (see HERE). Happy Reading!!!