op Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.). I want my friends kids to read these books too – hence my title change to the kids in my life. All the kids!
Books = A Way for Kids to See the World from Different Perspectives
Books are great ways for kids to explore ideas, to see the world from other perspectives, and to build empathy toward people who are different from them.
I think kids should read any book that interests them, even if the adults around them think it is “too advanced” for them or has “unsuitable content”. These books are opportunities to open up conversations with the kids in our lives, conversations about difficult concepts or issues. If the kids in our lives know we’re always open and willing to talk with them about the things they are reading about, then they will know they can come talk to us about the questions or concerns they might have. Better yet, read the the difficult or controversial books with the kids or at the same time as them so you can ask them questions like “what did you think of this part?” at points where you think a conversation is necessary.
Ten Books I Want the Kids in My Life to Read
For the littles
Toot by Leslie Patricelli
To be perfectly honest, this book doesn’t really fit with the whole building empathy thing. It’s just one of my absolutely favourite board books. I’ve gifted copies of it to my nephews and to a bunch of friends too. It’s adorable and hilarious. And, it’s a book that moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and everybody else can’t help but laugh at. Plus, it’s a good one to pull out after someone lets an embarrassingly loud toot out.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm
This is one of my favourite illustrated books. It is so beautiful. Both the story, and the gorgeous illustrations. There is something magical about this book. It’s all about the power of books to bring joy, to teach, to explore. I know this will be a staple book in my house and may just be a book that becomes another of my go-to gifts.
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for being a girl who championed education for girls. She was only 15 years old. She survived and has become an international advocate for girls’ education. This book tells her story, of growing up in Pakistan and realizing the value of education and helping others, in a way that is perfect for little ones to understand. This book will definitely be making an appearance in my Beautiful Books tag soon.
For the middle-graders
The Fearless Traveller’s Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler
This is the perfect read-aloud book. It explores things like nightmares, missing parents, friendships, trust, family, what bravery really means, and how to embrace change and evaluate risk. It was one of my favourite reads of 2016. Also, the main character is a girl who saves her little brothers and their mom. I love that.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
A Canadian classic. This was the first “thick” book I read to myself. It was my Grade 6 Language Arts book report book. I was so proud to have read it all the way through all by myself. And I loved Anne. She is quirky and weird and totally owns it. She is proud of who she is, even though she knows she isn’t perfect. She loves completely and authentically. Joining her in her journey to fit in and belong in a new community is such a great thing for kids to read. And, it’s also a great way to learn about how people used to live and be grateful for the many conveniences we have now.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This is another classic novel that I think would be a great family read-along. It shows very clearly how siblings can both tussle with each other and also get along and work together. It has great lessons on forgiveness, trust, teamwork, and faith. And, it’s also really, really, really fun.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I read HP really late. I was 23 when I first picked up this book. And I fell in love. The other books in the series are great and all have wonderful aspects, but for me this first one is the best of them all. I love how innocent Harry is. I love how he struggles with his life, his dreams, his identity, with abuse and bullying and finding friends and fitting in and meeting expectations. There is a lot to talk about in this book. I covers a lot of serious topics while also being really fun and funny and heartwarming.
For the teens
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
A lot of YA books tackle some serious issues. This is one of them. The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t about devaluing other lives, but about recognizing that black people in the US are disproportionately incarcerated and killed. This book is an exploration of what that can look like. Starr is a 15 year old black girl who watches her friend Khalil, also black, get shot by pulled over and shot by a white police officer for no clear reason. The book then explores her experience through the investigation and the upheaval of a lack of justice for Khalil. This book will open conversations about race, crime, justice, protests, politics and more. And it is so, so, so important.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon is a sweet, sweet teen boy. He also happens to be gay. And he doesn’t know how to tell his family or his friends. He only tells Blue, his email pen pal, who doesn’t know his true identity. This book feels so real. It’s an honest, present-day view of what high school can be like for so many kids. Identity, friendship, bullying, drama. It’s all there. And it’s an important conversation to have with teens. Other kids and other families may be different from ours but that makes them no less valuable. People change. And that’s okay. Friendships change. And that’s okay.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This book is such an important read. Girls and boys need to read it. Girls, so they can feel empowered to stand up for themselves and for each other. Boys, so they can understand how different the lived experience of girls and women often is from what they as males experience. Vivian starts a revolution in her school, she inspires the other girls to stand up to sexist dress codes and the archaic rules that allow boys (especially football players) to do and say whatever they want while the girls get groped, ignored, and treated as second class citizens.
There are many more books that I would like the kids in my life to read. But these are the first ten to come to mind.
What books do you think are important reads for the kids in your life to read?