Category Archives: peace and harmony

Teach love with books

reading-together

by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

If there is one thing that the world needs most, especially right now, it is love. Love for our family, friends, and those we cross paths with in our daily lives. Love for the plants and animals of the earth, and for the earth itself. Love for the opportunities we have and the struggles we overcome. And love for ourselves so that we may embrace this life and radiate our love to make this world a better place.

There are many children’s books that explore and celebrate the topic of love. Sharing these stories with children helps them understand and embody the act and feeling of love so that they, too, can share it with the world. These books lend themselves to wonderful discussions about love, kindness, and what it means to care for others.

A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother work together to save and save until they can afford to buy one big, comfortable chair that all three of them can enjoy.

Pinduli by Janell Cannon
Pinduli’s mama has always told her that she’s the most beautiful hyena ever. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra don’t think so. Why else would they make her feel so rotten about her big ears, her fuzzy mane, and her wiggly stripes? Poor Pinduli just wants to disappear–and she tries everything she can think of to make that happen. Yet nothing goes her way. Nothing, that is, until a case of mistaken identity lets her show the creatures of the African savanna how a few tiny words–bad or good–can create something enormous.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Can one child’s good deed change the world?
It can when she’s Ordinary Mary- an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house- who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others, one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage, one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people, including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries, and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually, Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, bedtime, benefits of reading together, board books, book activites, book routines, books for babies, children's books, classics, Creating a Book Home, creativity, decision-making, exploration, family, family reading, family time, fathers, library, love, magic of words in picture books, manners, non-fiction, opportunities for conversation, peace and harmony, Read to me, read-aloud for teens, reading to babies, same and different, traditions, transitions, unique words, words

My Favorite Book Tradition

books

by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

 

As the leaves start to fall and the nights set in ever earlier, with signs of Jack Frost’s midnight escapades when we wake, thoughts in my home start wandering toward ‘the books’. Even my anticipation rises as I look forward to the joy of a few quiet hours, so precious in themselves as a parent, spent pouring over the books, reliving heart-warming memories as I wrap the books with newspaper or the remnants of last year’s holiday paper. When the time comes, these books will be unwrapped, more carefully than any gift, in reverence of what they mean to our family- togetherness and love during the holiday season.

These books are a collection of both old and some new holiday and winter-themed tales, collected overtime from many places- my childhood, from loved ones, from Bright Red Bookshelves in the community, yard sales, thrift stores, school book fairs, and local booksellers- all selected to be part of this elite group of books because they are meaningful to our family in some way. Lovingly wrapped and cradled in their own festive crate, these books have a designated place of honor amidst our holiday décor.

Each night, starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending on our big winter holiday, our family chooses two wrapped books from the crate. Before the books are unwrapped, the children love to try to guess which book is under the paper, in hopes of getting their favorites but never disappointed if it isn’t because they are all so special to us. Then, we pile onto the couch, with our cat, inevitably, budging his way on to someone’s lap, not willing to miss this family holiday book tradition, and we snuggle under the quilt meticulously hand-stitched so long ago by my beloved great-grandmother to lose ourselves in the spirit-lifting winter wonderlands of these stories.

This nightly ritual gathers us together and gives us pause during the bustling holiday season. We crave these quiet moments of reading and reminiscing together, all heading to bed with sweet words and memories to keep us cozy during the long winter nights. These books, gifts in themselves to be sure, become a focal point of our holiday celebrations, with reading together the most treasured piece of this seasonal ritual.

After the holidays, when all the books have been read and re-read countless times, the crate of holiday joy is quietly tucked away in the back of a dark closet. There they will await their time of glory next holiday season.

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, At Home With Books, bedtime, benefits of reading together, board books, book activites, books for babies, books for toddlers, can do, children's books, classics, Creating a Book Home, creativity, easy readers, exploration, family, family book traditions, family reading, family time, fathers, Feelings, friendship, grandparents, holidays, library, love, magic of words in picture books, opportunities for conversation, peace and harmony, Read to me, read-aloud for big kids, read-aloud for teens, Read-aloud resolutions, reading to babies, rhyming, siblings, traditions, unique words, winter, words

Books: A Holiday Tradition

by Melissa Perry, Program Coordinator, Family Reading Partnership

images-1       images

No matter which holidays you celebrate this time of year; we all experience the same sense of anticipation and excitement, the same yearning for familiar traditions. An act that, if missed, makes the special day seem not quite complete.

The best traditions are those that bring families together. Sharing the same special story each year on the same special day is a simple tradition that evokes heart-warming images of snuggling up together in a cozy spot and reading a favorite story. Perhaps it is one you enjoyed as a child and are now able to share with your own little ones. Or maybe it is a book you and your children are discovering together for the first time. Regardless of which book you are reading, it is the act of reading together that is most important.

So, how do you choose just the right book for the occasion? Really, any book that is significant to the event will do. A book given as a gift to celebrate a child’s birth or adoption can be read each year on the child’s special day. A book about winter can be read after the first visit from Jack Frost, and books treasured by parents in their youth can be shared with their children when they reach that same particular age. The possibilities are endless.

To make your chosen books even more beloved, present them as gifts to your children. A book’s value and meaning increases tenfold when it is given as a beautifully wrapped gift. A fun way to surprise family members is to place wrapped books at the foot of the recipients’ beds. When they open their eyes the next morning, they will be delighted to discover a lovely gift awaiting them – ones that can be opened again and again. This tradition has come to be known as “A Book On Every Bed.”

Thousands of families across country have embraced this tradition of leaving wrapped books for loved ones to discover on a day that is meaningful to them, beginning the special day with a special gift. We invite you and your family to join the fun! For those of you with little ones, try giving gifts of books for them to find on their beds for them to open right away; not only will they see books as an important gift, but, it may also just keep them in bed a little longer that morning!

For more information about “A Book On Every Bed” please visit www.familyreading.org.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A Book On Every Bed, bedtime, book activites, children's books, classics, family, family book traditions, family reading, fathers, grandparents, holidays, love, peace and harmony, traditions, transitions, winter

A Peaceful Household Can Start with Read-Aloud

Imagine a day in your family’s life without blaming and arguing. No pouting, whimpering, or throwing a tantrum! How about a day free from grabbing, name-calling, or teasing? It’s possible!

Growing up carries a certain amount of selfishness. Children have a difficult time understanding how someone else feels, and so “I want it MY way!” is often the ONLY way! Home can seem like a battle zone when disagreements heat up tempers!

Creating harmony in your family can be challenging, but is always worthwhile. Start with yourself and build your household serenity by modeling how to stay calm.

Sometimes it’s difficult, but take some deep breaths and listen more than you talk. Show your child that you respect his or her thoughts and feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. Explain to your child that other people may think and feel differently. The more you talk together as a family about situations and how to resolve conflicts, the better equipped your child will be when away from you.

A good day to start some new family habits is on September 21, International Peace Day. This is a world-wide day for recognizing peace, beginning with children. Find ideas on how to celebrate the day at http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org. Fold an origami peace dove, make a peace pinwheel, or plant a peace rock. (Directions are on the website.) And make sure to read books together that give your child ideas on how to live a peaceful life!

• For young children, Suzanne Bloom’s bear and goose characters overcome their differences and find ways to be friends in her books “A Splendid Friend, Indeed” and “What About Bear?” The richly colored illustrations have just a few words per page, but the story of a peaceful friendship is strong.

• For older children, the classroom provides many opportunities to practice getting along with others. In “Peace Week in Miss Fox’s Class” by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Anne Kennedy, the students in one classroom at school all agree to spend one week being nice. No fighting or saying mean things allowed! Time after time the students forget and say rude things to each other, but in each case, they eventually remember to not jump to conclusions and to compromise.

• “The Recess Queen” by Alexis O’Neill, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, is a book you’ll want to read to yourself first, to see if it is one you want to share with your child. The main character, Mean Jean, is a real bully at school. She always gets her way, wins at every game, and dominates the playground. (To me, she’s a little scary!) But, the story has a great heroine, the new kid, Katie Sue. Although she is small, Katie Sue stands up to Mean Jean and even finds a way that they can be friends.

1 Comment

Filed under children's books, family reading, peace and harmony