My granddaughter was trembling and scared when she told me that her mom had been crying after the last presidential election, because "a very bad man is in charge of us." She was only four at the time.
Three years later, she's still stressed about our political climate.
How can we help our kids and grandkids get through this portion of the American adventure with hope and maybe even a sense of empowerment? I went to my KidLit411 Facebook group for suggestions - I got a lot of great ones, and my granddaughter and I checked out all of the books we could get our hands on. Here are the ones she liked best:
We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands (Scholastic Press, 2018) is Rafael Lopez' reassuring adaptation of the familiar song, featuring his signature stunning illustrations. (See my interview with Rafael on OEN here.) The joyful images and soothing refrains offer a sense of comfort in distressing times.
Sulwe (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019) by Lupita Nyong'o with captivatingly beautiful illustrations by Vashti Harrison tells a story of a little girl's concern about the color of her skin, and her path to finding the light within--the source of her real power.
Finding Kindness (Henry Holt and Co., 2019) by Deborah Underwood with lovely illustrations by Irene Chan is a simple, poetic reminder to look for kindness everywhere, and offers easily doable kindness activities that any age can put into action.
Myla's #1 choice was Grace for President (Disney-Hyperion, 2012) by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham - Myla wanted me to read it to her over and over, and when I got tired of that, she just read it to herself. When Grace's teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first.
Myla's runner-up was a how-to craft book, Potholder Loom Designs: 140 Colorful Patterns by Harrisville (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2019.) It offers an assortment of patterns that can be woven on Harrisville's vintage-style potholder looms.
Myla has a thriving potholder business; at 7, she makes almost minimum wage (after paying for the supplies) and she can hardly keep up with the orders from her devoted customer base. And the process of creativity is a balm for the soul.
"Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress (and) increase happiness."
The holiday season is a perfect time to offer our youngsters comfort and hope through specifically selected gifts.
See Myla's book choices for 2018 here.