Thursday, July 26, 2007

Choose books for your kids with care-the messages stay with them forever.

If you are not convinced that the books you select for your kids-either for them to read or for you to read to them-are an important element in shaping their values and world view, then you must not remember Cinderella's story-you know the one-the one where she gets her prince and everything ends up happily ever after. Or you might not recall how many boys wanted to be just like Superman, Batman, Spiderman or any other hero. These characters were powerful role models for us and remain powerful role models for our kids.

The books you choose for your kids can reinforce or erase the values that you are trying to instill in them. If you want your daughter to aspire to be a princess with a prince to take care of her, then you are great with Cinderella stories. If you want her to get a more realistic picture of the world, you should consider adding other books to your library.

All mediums have power. For some reason if we see it in a book, in a newspaper or on TV we assume that it must be real and true and unfortunately this extends to the ads as well. So if you want your kids to learn to accept and respect others-and to realize that there are other kinds of people living in the world with them then you will want to expand their horizons.

Early exposure to diverse people and ideas doesmake a difference. Kids who are the beneficiaries of this exposure are statistically less likely to become bullies, be bullied or allow anyone else to be bullied. With this kind of skill set-the ability to judge people on their merits and not their look, language, smell etc. your kids will have a much higher chance of long term success.

And it can all start with books!

Each month, we will review a book that we think does the job. You can look at these books at

Today, we are reviewing, Shapesville

Five friends-Robbie (the red rectangle), Cindy (the yellow circle), Sam (the blue square), Daisy (the orange diamond) and Tracy (the green triangle) discuss their differences and celebrate what makes each of them unique. While we are partial to real world examples the message that it is not what you look like—shape, size, color etc. that truly matters. The rhyming text and simple illustrations using bold primary colors is a winner with children.

Do you have any favorites that help you instill and reinforce values in your kids-without hitting them over the head, of course.

Let me know.

With Respect,

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