Sunday, March 19th will celebrate International Read to Me! Day. It is an international campaign encouraging children to remind adults to read to them often. It was created as an essential tool in literacy advocacy. It empowers and encourages children to participate in the conversation about their own literacy by reminding the adults around them about the importance of being read to, regularly.
On this International Read to Me Day, Connections challenges our viewership not only to read to the children in our lives but to read books with messaging of inclusion. Teaching our children to be more inclusive will create a future where inclusivity is the norm. Here are just some books with lessons of acceptance, friendship, kindness, inclusion, and diversity:
1. Best Friends – Sheri Safran
A boy in a wheel-chair and his best friend take great adventures together throughout the book pretending they’re pirates on a ship, mountain climbers, and astronauts, throughout the land of make-believe. Even when not playing pretend, swimming and playing basketball, they remain the best of friends. Best Friends is a beautiful pop-up book for children that teaches them that a disability doesn’t change who a person is.
2. Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher, mother and friends try to help him be red by showing him how to draw red, think red, feel red. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a new friend offers a brand-new perspective. Often read with an eye toward LGBTQ inclusion it can also be viewed through a lense of understanding and realizing learning or mental disabilities.
3. My Brother Charlie – Holly and Ryan Peete
Written by Holly Robinson in partnership with her 10-year old daughter Ryan Elizabeth about her son who has autism from the perspective of the sister. Ryan says her goal in writing this book about her twin brother was because she feels it is “up to those of us who don’t have autism to change ourselves so that we can better understand people who have it.”
4. One, Two, Three… Jump! – Carol Thompson
Encourages children of all ages and all abilities to move and play regardless of life’s challenges.
5. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red – Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
Emma is 6 years old anxiously anticipating the arrival of her new baby brother. Imaging all of the wonderful activities and fun she and he will have together. When the baby is born her father tells her brother Isaac has Down Syndrome. She begins to wonder when his limitations will be. What can’t he do with her? Her father quickly tells her that as long as they are patient with him, there likely won’t be anything Isaac cannot do. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red is a heart-warming family account of love and patience, answering questions children may have about Down Syndrome.
6. Mockingbird – Kathryn Erskine
Caitlin has Asperger’s. When things got confusing, Caitlin went to her older brother, Devon, for help. But Devon was killed in a school shooting, and Caitlin’s dad is so distraught that he is just not helpful. Caitlin wants everything to go back to the way things were, but she doesn’t know how to do that. Then she comes across the word closure–and she realizes this is what she needs.
To learn more about International Read to Me! Day please visit https://www.readtomeday.com/