Progressive Pupil’s 5 Favorite Children’s Books

Coverart of "Anansi the Spider a tale from the Ashanti"

Cover art of “Anansi the Spider a tale from the Ashanti”

It’s the time of the year to give to friends and family during the holidays. These beautifully illustrated classics are empowering for children from all walks of life. Here are some books that inspire children to read and imagine.

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 and illustrated 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.

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 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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1 Comment

  1. Thank you! Bought all of these books for my 3 year old. Note to editors – would love a post (or series of posts!) about age appropriate socially conscious books for children. In addition to growing up reading books that speak of diverse experiences (and that represent people from all backgrounds), I want him to grow up learning about justice and injustice without totally scarring him irreparably…

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