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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…

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privilege

13 Resources for Teaching About White Privilege

by Marsha Rakestraw “…the single greatest advantage of white privilege is that a white person may be completely unaware of its existence.” ~ Michael Spangenberger, educator Many of us can go into a store and browse without worry that we’ll be monitored or accosted. We see people who look like us in the media. We…

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Palm oil pods and seeds

Exploring the True Price of Palm Oil

by Marsha Rakestraw Last updated 1/31/19 Look in your shopping cart, and you probably see soap and other beauty products, baked goods and other processed foods, perhaps some cleaning products. What you don’t see is that about half those products contain palm oil, which means they are contributing to the destruction of forests and communities,…

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children & nature

Why We Need Humane Education: Study Shows Children Don’t Get Outside Playtime

Research has repeatedly shown that we need regular exposure to the natural world. We’re happier and healthier when we’re connected to the natural world. Studies also show improved cognitive function and stress management and lower obesity levels in children who get time outside. But according to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics…

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bully free

We Need Pro-Hero Schools Instead of Anti-Bully Schools

by Matt Langdon It is very easy to find the term anti-bully these days. Look in any school and there’s a good chance you’ll see it on the walls. Look in the news and you’ll see governments (state, local, school) using it. It’s a term that has started making me cringe. For four quite different…

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books

14 Must-Read Books for Activists

by Marsha Rakestraw We become activists when we learn about an issue or challenge and are inspired to take positive action. Teenager Natalie Warne learned about child soldiers when she watched a documentary in class. She was inspired to become an intern for Invisible Children and help get an important law passed. Economist Muhammad Yunus…

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thanksgiving

9 Turkey-Friendly Children’s Books for Thanksgiving

by Marsha Rakestraw Traditionally, stories involving Thanksgiving end up with a turkey on the table, but as more families are celebrating Thanksgiving by seeking more mindful and compassionate choices, they’re also looking for children’s stories where the turkey has a happy ending. Here are 9 turkey-friendly picture books. Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale by…

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dog in costume

9 Tips for Horrorific & Humane Halloween Costumes

by Marsha Rakestraw Dressing up on Halloween isn’t just for kids. According to the 2011 National Retail Federation survey, almost half of adults plan to don costumes for Halloween this year, and more than 1 in 10 pet guardians will adorn their furry friends. Americans are expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes this…

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ants

Cultivating Compassionate Kids: 10 Children’s Picture Books

by Marsha Rakestraw One of the deepest wishes of many parents is that their children will grow up as thoughtful citizens, showing compassion for people, animals and the earth throughout their lives. Reading and discussing children’s picture books is a great tool for helping children embrace compassion for others. Here are 10 suggested titles: 1….

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quilt maker's gift

The Joy of Generosity: 9 Titles for Younger Children

  by Marsha Rakestraw Every holiday season there’s an almost frenzied 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 nine children’s picture books. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. 2000. (48 pgs) Gr. 1-5. A seamstress makes…

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