Progressive Pupil’s 5 Favorite Children’s Books

Image courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

Image courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

It’s the time of the year to give to friends and family during the holidays. These empowering books with beautiful illustrations are empowering for children from all walks of life. Here are some books that inspire children to read and imagine about life through eyes of characters.

Anansi the Spider a tale from the Ashanti adapted by Gerald McDermott – Anansi runs into trouble, yet again, and seeks the help of his six spider sons. Each son has a special ability and they work together to save their father. Who can’t relate to this family of spiders who rally together to face a troubling issue?

One of Three by Angela Johnson pictures by David Soman – Three sisters who are all different ages spend time with each other day after day until the the youngest is told that she can’t accompany her sisters to the park, store or for even a walk. This book will leave you thinking about times that you may have been left alone and how you were able to move along.

Jamaica’s Find by Juanita Havill Illustrations by Anne Sibley O’Brien – One day, at her favorite park, Jamaica finds a plush dog with a hat by the slide. She returns the hat to the lost and found, but decides to keep the plush dog. Her family criticizes her for keeping the dirty toy and Jamaica must choose between keeping her new friend or finding the rightful owner.


Illustration courtesy of Gerald McDermott

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams – Imagine one day your home is up in flames. All your belongings are gone and you have nothing left. One little girl retraces the day when she came home to realize this was her reality.  Her mother works as a waitress at the Blue Tile Diner. She comes home every night and empties her tips into a jar. This little girl’s wish is to fill the jar so she can buy a chair for her mom and grandma, so they sit and relax after a long day of work. Through the eyes of this family you realize achieving your goals takes time and with the support of family and friends your goals can come true. You can always rebuild your life.

 The Patchwork Quilt by Valeria Flourney pictures by Jerry Pinkney  – Tanya works with her grandmother to make her new masterpiece a patchwork quilt. Tanya’s mother is upset that her mother is wasting time making it the quilt. When the holidays come around Tanya’s grandma gets ill. Her mother works with her to finish up the quilt. Weeks pass until her grandma gets better and finishes up the quilt. In the end they create a beautiful masterpiece that the whole family comes together and admires.

by Carina Nieves, Non-Profit Management degree candidate at the New School of Public Engagement

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