In this day and age, a lot of stories told through children’s books don’t stand the test of time in terms of appropriateness (see the bloodiness of the original Grimm’s fairy tales and problematic race stereotypes in Curious George). Luckily, there are a number of modern books that teach children about equality and fairness, and portray minorities as heroes. Here are our top picks for forward-thinking books for kids.
A book about consciousness and death written by Jim Carrey. Amazon
This 2012 winner of a Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award tells the story of a wave named Roland who’s afraid of his fate once he hits the beach. As he ponders the end of his existence, he realizes he’s not just a wave, but also the whole ocean. It’s a compelling and beautiful metaphor for how interconnected we all are.
It’s never too early to start teaching mindfulness. Amazon
For kids who break out into tantrums or get easily upset, Breathe Like a Bear is an illustrated collection of mindfulness exercises. It includes 30 simple and short breathing exercises to teach kids body awareness and emotional management. They can be done at school, in car rides, and even on stressful homework nights.
Real stories about real people who weren’t waiting for princes. Amazon
Before Greta Thunberg there was Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, Cleopatra, and many others. Even though gendered toys and stereotypes are still prominent in society, there’s no shortage of stories of bold and fearless women who are unafraid to challenge the status quo. This book, which tells the stories of 30 of them, is the perfect gift to inspire any tween.
An adorable story of LGBTQ love that gives back to a charity. Amazon
A very special male bunny, Marlon Bundo (the same name as the real-life pet rabbit of vice president of the US, Mike Pence), falls in love with another male bunny. It’s written by John Oliver and spreads a message of love, tolerance, and acceptance for same-sex marriage and democracy. Naturally, it’s funny as well.