Blog

Children wearing handprint t-shirts and raising their arms high

14 Children’s Picture Books Exploring Race and Racism

by Marsha Rakestraw Studies show that children can learn racially-biased behaviors as young as three and learn to categorize people by race (non-verbally) at as young as six months. Yet we’re often reluctant to talk about race, or we pretend that being “color blind” is the least harmful choice. It’s vital that we as parents…

Read more »
people and animals

16 Children’s Picture Books About People Helping Animals

by Marsha Rakestraw Modeling a message of compassion for others is a vital part of creating a better world for all. Children’s picture books are a valuable means of sharing with younger children examples of people helping those in need, and of inspiring them to think critically about what it means to be a good…

Read more »

13 Children’s Picture Books Whose Characters Have Special Needs

Occasionally the media focuses on those with particular challenges, such as animals with special needs and people whose likenesses – in the form of unique mannequins – shed light on the meaning of “perfect.” But the truth is, positive depictions in the public sphere of people and nonhuman animals who have special needs are not…

Read more »
books

The Joy of Generosity: 19 Children’s Picture Books

by Marsha Rakestraw Every holiday season there’s a bizarre conflicting focus on acquiring and sharing, getting and giving. Help bring the joy of generosity into clearer focus for younger kids with the help of these 19 children’s picture books. 1. Shoebox Sam by Mary Brigid Barrett 2011. Grades PreK-2. Delia and Jessie spend Saturdays with…

Read more »
homelessness

14 Children’s Picture Books About Homelessness

by Marsha Rakestraw People and animals without homes surround us year-round, but their presence seems more palpable in the winter months. As rates of poverty and homelessness grow, so do children’s questions about those who don’t have a home. Teacher Mary Cowhey, author of Black Ants and Buddhists, said, “One might argue that the realities…

Read more »
Two children sitting at a table reading picture books and surrounded by bins and shelves of children's books

19 Lists of Children’s Picture Books for Your Humane Education Classroom

by Marsha Rakestraw Children’s books are a terrific tool for sharing positive values, teaching students (in age-appropriate ways) about global ethical issues, and inspiring them to take positive action. They are a powerful part of any classroom and curriculum. Here’s a round-up of 19 of our lists of suggested children’s picture books on a variety…

Read more »
plastic pollution

I Taught Kindergarteners About Plastic Pollution, and They Are Eager to Be Part of the Solution

by Elizabeth O. Crawford, Ph.D. During Earth Week 2018, I was a guest presenter to kindergarteners attending Island Montessori School (IMS) located in the beautiful, coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina. As teacher educators often remark, classroom visits rejuvenate and inspire our work preparing the next generation of educators. When we spend time with children…

Read more »
kids

9 Resources for Finding Children’s Books with Humane Themes

by Marsha Rakestraw Children’s literature is often a reflection of society (and sometimes an influencer). As we humans continue to make progress in doing more good and less harm and in striving to create a better world, we’re seeing more books for children that explore and celebrate those themes. Although we can search online for…

Read more »

7 Groups to Help Empower Young Solutionaries

Young people are hungry to create a better world for people, animals, and the earth, but we’re not born knowing how to do that. Fortunately there are numerous organizations whose mission is to help educate, inspire, and support youth in their efforts to become effective solutionaries. Here are 7 just we wanted to highlight: Do…

Read more »
girl with blocks

12 Children’s Picture Books That Challenge Traditional Gender Roles

by Marsha Rakestraw Each May and June in the U.S. we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Moms usually receive pretty, smelly, “girly” stuff, and dad’s get yet another manly tie, cologne, or something to BBQ. Just one of the countless ways we perpetuate the stereotypes and biases about what women and men are supposed…

Read more »