It’s never too early to begin instilling positive attitudes about acceptance and tolerance in your children. The important thing is to expose your child to those who might be different than him or her, and children will often sympathize with others that they’ve become familiar with. It’s also important, however, to simply encourage the idea that accepting differences is important and that hateful behavior is not beneficial for anyone. Here are some books that do both: expose children to differences in others that they might not even know exist and show that tolerance and kindness can benefit not only the one who needs it, but also the one who gives it.
How Willy Got His Wheels
Full of lovely, full-page watercolors, How Willy Got His Wheels by Deborah Turner is the funny and inspirational children’s book about a disabled Chihuahua and the woman who tries to help him walk. Based on a true story, the book is an easy but touching way to introduce children to the value of helping others and how fun helping others can actually be.
Little Blue and Little Yellow
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a highly imaginative, inventive work, full of stark, solid colored shapes that tell a surprisingly complex and appealing story. This simple picture book is a wonderful way to introduce very young children to the idea that people are different, that there’s value to our differences, and that when our strengths are combined, we can become something more than we were by ourselves, something special.
I Wish I Had Glasses Like Rosa
This bilingual book shows with cute, humorous watercolor illustrations the bond between two young friends that goes beyond skin color. As they try to emulate each other and play together through the simply written book, the reader can learn what is important about friendship, and what is not.
In her delightfully illustrated book, Leslie Helakoski and illustrator Lee Harper tell the story of Woolbur, a “black sheep” who runs into trouble when he wants to play with the dogs and refuses to cut his wool. A book that encourages being yourself and accepting the differences of others, Woolbur is a great book for any mother or father trying to teach their children tolerance, creativity, and kindness.
Whether you’d like to teach your child that disabilities do not mean a person can’t do things like everyone else, or that it’s okay (and good!) to be different, or the importance of friendship, there are many lovely children books that will help you with the task, of which these four are just a few of my personal favorites.
Thank you, Brian, for this insightful post! Readers, please check out these books on Brian’s site!