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bullying

13 Children’s Picture Books about Bullying

by Marsha Rakestraw As information about bullying becomes more pervasive, schools and others who serve children are striving to create anti-bully/pro-hero environments. Since bullying and exclusion can begin as early as preschool, it’s important that we who are helping children become their best selves begin cultivating humane values in our young children. October is Bullying…

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4 apps

4 Apps for a Better World

by Marsha Rakestraw As digital technology continues to expand, so do apps designed to help us in making choices that do more good and less harm and in creating a better world for all. Here are four apps we’ve recently learned about that can help you in your goals as a conscientious citizen and engaged…

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books

9 Resources for Finding Multicultural Books for Children

by Marsha Rakestraw According to the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, “black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation’s public school students,” yet the number of children’s books that feature characters of color are shamefully sparse. Studies show that having multicultural literature…

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sharing

12 Children’s Picture Books About Sharing

One of the first lessons we’re taught as young children is about the importance of sharing. Yet examine our actions as adults—the ways we treat each other, nonhuman animals, and the earth—and it may seem like we’ve forgotten how vital sharing is. An important part of raising compassionate, conscientious citizens is introducing humane values such…

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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…

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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…

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kids

8 Videos Exploring Empathy

by Marsha Rakestraw Empathy is a key component of humane education, and something our society is increasingly recognizing as essential to our well-being and that of the world. Studies show that we’re innately wired to be empathetic. When we’re able to put ourselves in the place of another, and to imagine the kind of world…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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