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Sharing quality literature is a wonderful way to introduce new ideas and start conversation with children. The following books feature stories of kindness and empathy. Incorporate these books into story time all year round to reinforce the valuable lessons highlighted during the Season of Giving. With the help of our friends at Sprout, we have included some great learning opportunities to add in with each reading!
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
Learning opportunity: Ask your child about his favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Encourage him to draw a picture of it and to write how it became his favorite.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Learning opportunity: Ask questions! What did your child like and dislike about this story? How did he feel about the way the story ended? Invite him to act out the story, first as the tree and then as the boy.
A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
Learning opportunity: When you are reading this book, keep count of and discuss all the ways that people are generous to each other in this story.
Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine
Learning opportunity: Explore how it feels to get gifts — and to give them. Invite your child to help you list the different acts of kindness demonstrated throughout the story. Who showed “empathy?” How do you know?
My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willems
Learning opportunity: After reading this book, make a list of ways your child thinks he can help people who are sad.
Meet Aunt Panda by Nancy Baku
Learning opportunity: Promote generosity, creativity, respect for nature and the value of family. Play music and invite your child to paint with his fingers his favorite place to play outside. Encourage him to name his artwork and help him to write the title.
Giving by Shirley Hughes
Learning opportunity: Introduce the meaning of the word “give,” and the concept that everyone has something to give. Create a set of feelings flashcards by cutting out pictures of people from magazines that represent the emotions you want your child to learn. Glue the emotion pictures on the front of index cards and write the name of the emotion on the back. Have your child guess the emotion and try to replicate it.
For further language and literacy development try highlighting the new vocabulary words in each story. Talk about what “empathy” means (compassion, the ability to understand another’s emotions and situations) and use examples from the books to teach the children about it as you are reading. Discuss how one character helped another in the story. Ask questions about what other signs of kindness the children heard in each story you share.
Do have a book about kindness and giving you would recommend to other parents? Tell us your suggestion in a comment below.