As parents, we want our children to be kind and understanding to all people. This includes people who may look, speak, or walk differently than a child expects. It is vital to introduce kids to the fact that everyone is different and books are a great tool to open the door for discussion.
Books allow children to put themselves in the character’s shoes. Once they empathize with the character, they may feel more comfortable to ask questions. Asking questions about things that make us different ARE okay. It helps children understand! Often children just want an honest, to the point answer and it clears up any confusion. After-all, underneath our differences, we are all people who want to be accepted by others.
Recently, my boys’ have asked a lot of questions about cultures that differ from ours. We have also worked through the curiosities of someone in a wheelchair, someone who is deaf, or someone who walks with the aid of braces. I am blown away by how simple it is for my children to ask questions, reply with a term of acceptance, and ask the child to play.
Because of this, I have been seeking out books that feature characters who posses qualities that aren’t expected. I just stumbled upon this fantastic list of books from Brightly featuring individuals who have autism . The list is geared towards tweens, but I feel that I could read many of these to my 5 and 6 year olds and explain the plot on their level.
Teaching our kiddos that being different does not equal being less is what will make the world a better place.