Our Latest Empathy-Themed Picture Book Library Haul…

This month, the theme in our house is empathy. I am greatly inspired by my #currentread : Unselfie by Michele Borba, which is geared towards helping parents raise empathic children. I gathered some picture book recommendations from this book that are geared towards fostering empathy in younger kids and put them on hold at our library. I picked these up from the library a couple of days ago and already read a few of them to my boys. I have been asking questions and gently encouraging them to identify feelings, take the perspectives of various characters in these books, etc. It’s amazing to see how much they know already! .

Teaching empathy to younger children starts with teaching them self regulation skills first. There are a couple of books in this stack that are geared towards this as well. In fact, teaching self regulation is the biggest challenge that I face with my four year olds at the moment. So, I can never have enough books on this subject.

I am thankful that Michele Borba’s Unselfie came to me during the holiday season. It’s a perfect month to learn and practice empathy. Empathy cannot be taught by lecturing or nagging or labeling our kids as entitled for not showing empathy. I am saying this because I see this happening all around me. Empathy can be taught only by modeling it to our kids constantly (eg: showing empathy when our kids make mistakes as opposed to punishing them), by making it a core family value and reinforcing it at every opportunity. Books are a great way to accomplish this because my kids are always interested in a good story. I would think that most kids are wired in this way. I will try to post reviews of the books that we really liked from this stack as and when I am able to.

Selfcare Sunday…

Art is meditation. Meditation is self care. Self care is a basic necessity. Some day, I will make time to learn the proper techniques. For now, I try to enjoy the process of filling colors into a black and white picture and fill my own bucket in that process. This is a gift that I give to myself and the people in my life who depend on me.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate Dicamillo

“We all, at some point, have to decide who we want to be in this world. It is a decision we make for ourselves. You are being forced to make this decision at an early age, but that does not mean that you cannot do it well and wisely. I believe you can. I have great faith in you. You decide. You decide who you are, Louisiana.”

This weekend’s self care practice included reading this uplifting middle grade book. My daughter read it recently and loved it. I decided to read it too, just to be able to discuss the book with her. Kate Dicamillo is definitely a talented writer and story teller. I read a few of her other books with my daughter a couple of years ago and instantly became her fan. In this book, she tells the story of Louisiana and the extraordinary circumstances she finds herself in. The story is sad, funny, uplifting and also depressing in parts. I believe it’s important for middle grade kids to read stories that give them a different perspective towards life and evoke empathy as well as gratitude in them. This is definitely one such book. It’s hard not to fall in love with Louisiana. I also enjoyed the references to Pinocchio, the Walrus and the Blue Fairy through out the book. And I thought that the references to the family curse made things more interesting.