April Family Focus: Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

April Family Focus: Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

If you missed our April booklist, we decided to continue on with our family’s focus on 12 character traits throughout 2020, recognizing that though life has changed quite drastically over the last month, we’ve been given an incredible gift of uninterrupted family time. To that end, we’re spending the month of April focusing as a family on authentic apologies and genuine forgiveness.

Though our apology and forgiveness books have been on our front-facing bookshelf since April 1, we finally had our official kick-off night on Saturday, April 4. Read on to see what book we chose to read together for this kick-off, the chart we made, and discussion ideas we have for the rest of the month. Continue reading “April Family Focus: Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness”

Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

As you all know, my husband and I decided to make 2020 be the year that we intentionally teach, model, and practice with our girls one character trait per month. We have chosen these traits thoughtfully, spending time discussing what traits are important to us and what kind of adults we hope to help our children grow up to be. While the first three months of this work in 2020 seemed important and impactful, we’ve all recently been given the gift of time with the people in our houses, the opportunity to focus on what’s really important. In our house, we’re embracing this as a chance to truly focus on what kind of people our children grow up to be.

Our plan for April had been to work with the girls on authentic apologies and heartfelt forgiveness. While I thought about changing our focus or abandoning altogether for a month while we get our “everyone at home all day every day” feet under us, we’re going to power through on that focus… After all, so much time together in a small space inevitably leads to situations were genuine, heartfelt apologies and forgiveness are needed!

Today, I’ve got a booklist full of wonderful children’s stories in which the characters model not only authentic forgiveness, but also exemplify what a genuine apology might sound and look like (we talk a lot in our house about Responsive Classroom’s “apology of action” if you want more to help your children go beyond simple “I’m sorries”). Continue reading “Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness”

The Power to Choose Series by Ganit and Adir Levy

The Power to Choose Series by Ganit and Adir Levy

I often say that books give children the opportunity to practice who they want to be in the world, and today’s recommended series gives them not only numerous opportunities to practice, but also a chance to “live” the effects of their choices! These books are picture book versions of those Choose Your Own Adventure books (which I LOVED as a child), and are also perfect for fostering positive character traits in your children. I’m talking about “The Power to Choose” series by Ganit and Adir Levy, illustrated by Doro Kaiser! And while these do loosely relate to teamwork and cooperation, each book in the series also loosely relates to just about any character trait that you might want to develop in your children.  Continue reading “The Power to Choose Series by Ganit and Adir Levy”

Teamwork and Cooperation Activity: Collaborative Sewing

Teamwork and Cooperation Activity: Collaborative Sewing

Last week, I posted a photo in Instagram stories about our collaborative sewing project as a part of our March Family Focus on teamwork and cooperation. Today, I’ve got details about how we approached this project, and well as photos of the final product! Continue reading “Teamwork and Cooperation Activity: Collaborative Sewing”

Unselfish Kids by Paul D. Parkinson and Sammie Parkinson

Unselfish Kids by Paul D. Parkinson and Sammie Parkinson

Have you heard of the “Unselfish” series by Paul Parkinson and Pamela Parkinson? I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of the first book in the series, Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie until the authors reached out to ask if I’d like to receive a copy of the newest in the series, Unselfish Kids. And while my answer was my standard answer (“I’d love to receive your book, but I can’t promise to feature it until we’ve received it and read it a few times, as I’m committed to only featuring books we truly love.”), I was very excited about this book! And it did not disappoint upon arrival. Read on to see what makes this book uniquely inspiring!
Continue reading “Unselfish Kids by Paul D. Parkinson and Sammie Parkinson”

That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz

That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz

If Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey is my favorite book on our teamwork and cooperation booklist, then That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz comes in a very close second! Brightly illustrated and interspersed with lovely humor, That Fruit Is Mine! gives children very concrete examples of what results from groups that work with teamwork and cooperation for the benefit of the group, and groups that work, well, with their own individual ideas and interests in mind. And, does it get much better than silly illustrations of an elephant trying to fly in a homemade flying machine, or his friend trying to climb a tree? I think not! Continue reading “That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz”

The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio

The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio

Do you know Kelly DiPucchio’s Grace for President and Grace Goes to Washington (both illustrated by LeUyen Pham)? If not, then stick with me to hear all the reasons that you should, especially right now. Are you looking for books featuring strong female characters for Women’s History Month? Yes, Grace is fictional, but she breaks through a lot of barriers for women! How about books to read with your children during election madness between now and November? DiPucchio has you covered! Need a refresher on how the electoral college, the branches of government, and checks and balances work? Maybe read these more for yourself than for your children… A diverse main character and cast of supporting characters? Check! Wonderful messages of making good on promises and using teamwork and cooperation to find compromises that not only make everyone happy, but foster inclusivity? You betcha! Now that I’ve got you hooked, read on for a bit more about each of these wonderful titles. Continue reading “The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio”

Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker

Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker

Okay, all, I may have a new favorite book about cooperation and conflict resolution: Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker, illustrated by Freya Blackwood. This book, published in 2016 (first published in the United States in 2017), was a new-to-me book that I discovered when making our teamwork and cooperation booklist for our March Family Focus. While I generally try to check books out from the library or flip through them at our local bookstore in order to decide if I want to buy it for our home library, I broke my own rule with this one. It looked so good online and wasn’t available for me to see in person anywhere, so I bit the bullet and bought a copy… And I am so glad that we own this one! Read on to see what makes Molly and Mae such a delightful addition to our collection! Continue reading “Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker”

March Family Focus: Teamwork and Cooperation

March Family Focus: Teamwork and Cooperation

All right, we finally had a night when we were all home, awake, and in good enough spirits to officially kick off Teamwork and Cooperation Month! And everyone, listen up and read along, because this was one of the most fun family nights we’ve ever had, and that’s not an exaggeration. As we did in January and February, our official kickoff night included enjoying a read aloud (click here to see our amazing list of teamwork and cooperation books) and creating an anchor chart, but this time we took it one step further by including some amazing family teamwork and cooperation games. Read on to see the details of the night so that you can recreate a kickoff night like this for your families! Continue reading “March Family Focus: Teamwork and Cooperation”

Picture Books Featuring Characters with Neurodiversity and Autism

Picture Books Featuring Characters with Neurodiversity and Autism

When I posted my massive list of books to strengthen compassion and empathy in children, I also mentioned that one of the best ways to do so is to make sure your library features a diverse array of children and a wide range of experiences. As I’ve mentioned on here before, children’s books can be thought of as mirrors of children’s own experiences, as well as windows into the worlds of others. About 30 years ago, a leader in diversity and representation in children’s books, Rudine Sims Bishop, said:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” (Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990, quoted from the National Council of Teachers of English)

So, today, I have a list of terrific resources to serve as both windows and mirrors by highlighting neurodiversity, including characters with ADHD and dyslexia, characters who are on the autism spectrum, and more. These books will hopefully not only help children build a greater understanding of, and therefore empathy and compassion for, these diverse children around them, but also hopefully provide children with these diagnoses and differences with a greater sense of self and self-affirmation. Continue reading “Picture Books Featuring Characters with Neurodiversity and Autism”