5 Favorite Books to Empower Kids

January 6, 2016

Reading to my little girls, or having my oldest daughter read a book to me is a big part of our daily routine--it's a sweet time to spend with my loves and something that we all look forward to each day. My daughters definitely have their favorites like Madeline and Fancy Nancy, which we recite several times a week (and no less!), but it's the books that have valuable life lessons for them that I treasure the most. These five books are favorites because they not only empower my children to express, love, and be proud of themselves, they also open the doors to discuss the crucial issues that all children will face at some point.

1. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
Encouraging our kids to have independent thoughts and celebrate their ideas is incredibly important, but also very difficult once they start school. This book describes how one child goes from not quite knowing what to do with his idea, to letting it grow and blossom into something so magnificent he can't even contain it (despite some initial fears that people might laugh at it). 

2. One by Kathryn Otoshi
This is one of my all-time favorites, and my six year old and I used to discuss it in great length before she even started school. It's a book about standing up to bullies--an all too important message these days--and how it only takes one brave person to do it. The imagery is clean and simple, and it beautifully depicts how that one courageous soul can change everything.  

3. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
One of my greatest concerns about raising girls is that they will inevitably be subjected to images of other women that reflect societal beauty norms which are impossible to attain (hello, Photoshop!); it breaks my heart to think that they might ever feel inferior or inadequate. The tiny heroine of this rhyming book loves herself no matter what she looks like (even with a hypothetical snout that snorts or purple polka-dotted lips), and she won't let anyone, ever, make her feel that her physical appearance is all she has to offer.

4. I Think, I Am! by Louise Hay and Kristina Tracy
A book that teaches kids about positive affirmations can also teach grown-ups a thing or two. This book becomes interactive when you let your children read the affirmations on each page aloud. It's also a great way to open up conversation about some of the thoughts your little ones may be having, from learning to have patience when they have to wait for something they want, to much bigger issues like feeling unloved or lonely. 

5. It's Okay To Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
I love this book because it reassures and reminds my girls, particularly my oldest, that everyone makes mistakes, and that it's okay. It teaches us that every mistake we make, no matter how big or embarrassing, is an opportunity to learn something, and knowing that makes it easier for my first grader to accept when she gets an answer wrong or has difficulty reading a particularly long word. And moms and dads, it's a good reminder for us as well!

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