It's that time of the year when our kids' brains are filled with thoughts of candy and parties, brightly-wrapped gifts, and winter break. The holiday-time commercials are running on repeat, and before we know it, wish list writing is in danger of eclipsing homework and chores!
But it doesn’t have to be all about indulgence. The holiday season is the perfect time to talk with your children about important subjects like kindness, generosity, and charitable giving.
As I've previously shared, as both a parent and as an educator, I love using books to invite kids to think and talk about big life topics. And we're all so fortunate that there are so many incredible titles available to help children learn from positive role models. By sharing stories that encompass empathetic qualities, you can help your children find opportunities to be generous in their everyday lives.
1. Thank You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt will help your younger reader learn the importance of showing appreciation of others and their unique gifts.
2. We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palaccio is a beautiful book for inviting discussion with children about the importance of being open to spreading kindness to everyone — however they look like, wherever they live, and no matter how they are different to you.
3. When CJ expresses disappointment with elements of their life in Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, his grandmother patiently helps him see the beauty all around them. There are many important messages woven throughout the story — not least of all, the importance of helping those less fortunate.
4. Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkett is a wonderful retelling of Aesop’s classic fable of kindness and friendship between a truly unlikely duo. It's a great resource for showing kids that even those who are small can help others around them.
5. Fantastic for sparking conversation with children, Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo is a thought-provoking story of compassion, as a small, empathetic girl shows great concern and thoughtfulness for those in her community who are in need.
6. The Rain Came Down by David Shannon is the story of an unexpected rainstorm that turns a cranky and selfish community into one filled with kindness and generosity. The tale cleverly teaches children how just one caring person can change an entire community.
7. In this retelling of the well-known folktale, Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth, three traveling monks teach a village about the importance of giving generously and sharing with others.
Spending time reading and reflecting together will ultimately help your child understand why this is the season of giving — not getting — and it might also inspire your own family to discover ways to give to others in your community this holiday season.