We’ve taken it upon ourselves to hand-craft a home library for our twins that will positively influence their choices and values, as well as entertaining them.
We’re tired of books that only represent mainstream parenting methods such as punishment & rewards, that only feature passive, silent or stereotyped women, or perpetuate childism.
‘Looking at almost 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000, the study, led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, found that males are central characters in 57% of children’s books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters. Male animals are central characters in 23% of books per year, the study found, while female animals star in only 7.5%.’
– Alison Flood
Books that encourage a fixed mindset are rejected (for example: labelling a child as a naughty boy, or saying they are mean. Behaviour can be mean, but your child’s behaviour is not your child’s self.)
There are a whole range of criteria for what we’d consider to be an inspiring kids book. Obviously not every book will cover every base, but we aim that the collection as a whole reflects these values.
As this blog series progresses, I’ll include links to our recommended books here:
Peck Peck Peck
I Can Do It Myself
I Like Myself
I Like Myself!
by Karen Beaumont
What’s the plot?
A little girl and her pet dog explore self esteem and body positivity. The story is raucous, unabashed, ecstatic.
An exuberant ode to self-esteem that celebrates the joy of liking who you are.
The illustrations by David Catrow are quirky and surreal. Right now my 14mo twins are enjoying the bright colours and the rhyming verse. Older kids will enjoy the comedy and silliness of the caricatured pictures.
The text rhymes throughout. The rhythm is a bit addictive, really engaging with a good pace.
What about Body Positivity?
This little girl addresses the many different facets of body positivity. It’s clear that her life choices are made for her own benefit and no-one else’s. This is an age-appropriate foundation to lay for later discussions – for example if you want to wear makeup, do it for you, not to impress or please others!
She also addresses the issue of ‘what if my body looked like this?’. Now in the book it’s ludicrous things like ‘knobbly knees or hippo hips, or purple, polka-dotted lips’, but arguably this sets a good precedent for loving all the changes your body might go through. Ageing, pregnancy, illness or disability – all of these pose a problem if you only accept your current image!
- Shows appreciation for her whole body
- Rejects societal beauty norms
- Rejects the idea of equating physical appearance & worth
What about Gender?
The protagonist is a really spunky young girl, sassy and ebullient. She is shown to have created wacky inventions – this demonstrates the conviction that women can thrive in STEM subjects. She is wearing a dress but it’s practical and not revealing or stereotypical.
What about Healthy Living?
She is shown to be exercising almost constantly! Football, roller skating, dancing, jumping…
What about Diversity?
The main character is NOT a white male, so that’s a good start! The supporting cast include people of all ages and professions. There are three characters with glasses, although no more overt disabilities.
What about Positive Parenting/Childism?
The little girl is pictured throughout as independent and there aren’t any parental figures. There’s one particular scene where she is happily pursuing her interests in the face of an adult’s disapproval/incredulity. Now I’m not out to raise law-breakers, but I’d hate for my kids to conform just to avoid adult judgement!
She doesn’t just accept her physical appearance, but her different moods and behaviours. This fits in very well with the unconditional acceptance we aim for as positive parents. She also has supreme confidence in the worth of her thoughts & opinions – this implies a child who has been raised respectfully.
What about Home Ed/Unschooling?
It’s strikingly clear that she goes her own way, directing her own interests. She models intrinsic motivation as a way of life – everything she does is because of internal motivation, not external pressures. The inventions and zoo trip seem to suggest a lifestyle full of learning opportunities.
What about Moral Fibre?
The little girl displays contentment with her lot: ‘There’s no one else I’d rather be’. She places little importance on other people’s opinions of her, and ignores any name-calling and bullying she receives. She relishes her eccentricity!
Once upon a time we were Amazon affiliates but I have cancelled my account until I have more time to use it properly. So this is NOT an affiliate link 🙂
What are some of your favourite books? Any you’d like us to review? Let us know below…