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Saranya Raghavan (@toddlers.who.read) shares her top diverse and inclusive reads for World Kindness Day. We also share a special interview with author Lucy Christopher about her book Shadow, an uplifting and inclusive story about the power of love and kindness.
On World Kindness Day, we celebrate the importance of being kind to yourself, to others, and to the world. These are some of our favorite books on this subject.
Bling Blaine: Throw Glitter, Not Shade by Rob Sanders and Letizia Rizzo (Sterling Children's Books)
A heartwarming book about loving yourself and standing up for others. Blaine loves all things glitter. He loves to sparkle! He bedazzled his school uniform, backpack, and his baseball cap. But some people don’t understand Blaine’s love for bling. When the bullying starts, Blaine begins to lose his shine. We love that Blaine’s friends become his allies! They explain how loving bling is no different from loving the color orange or high-tops. When all of his friends come to school wearing bling, the kids learn to throw glitter, not shade.
This is one of our absolute favorite books that celebrates diversity and inclusion! It features a school where all people have a place and have a space. We see students, teachers, and parents from different backgrounds. They welcome each other and their traditions with open arms.
Under The Great Plum Tree by Sufiya Ahmed and Reza Dalvand (Tiny Owl)
We love this story about an unlikely friendship between a kind-hearted monkey (Miss Bandari) and an old crocodile (Mr. Magarmach). The two meet when Miss Bandari offers Mr. Magarmach a plum from her tree. Their friendship is tested when King Crocodile tricks Mr. Magarmach into inviting Miss Bandari for lunch. After being alerted by her elephant friend (Dame Hati), Miss Bandari escapes being eaten by King Crocodile but she doesn’t know if she can trust Mr. Magarmach anymore. Mr. Magarmach confronts King Crocodile about his cunning plans and eventually regains Miss Bandari’s trust. The Indo-Persian illustrations are absolutely gorgeous!
Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora
“Thank You, Omu!” is a wonderful story about sharing and community. The main character is a Nigerian lady named Omu (pronounced AH-moo, the Igbo term for “queen”). The story starts with Omu making a delicious stew for herself for dinner. The scrumptious scent of the stew wafts through the neighborhood, and soon, scores of people are lining up at her door to try Omu’s stew. Quite generously, Omu offers a portion of her stew from a big fat pot to each person who knocks. But when she finally sits down to eat herself, the pot is empty. She’s disappointed. But then there are more knocks ... everyone who she had fed that day was at her door, not to take this time, but to GIVE! They each brought a food item for Omu to thank her for her generosity.
Alba and the Ocean Cleanup by Lara Hawthorne (Big Picture Press)
It’s also important to be kind to our environment. Our hands-down favorite book on this topic is “Alba and the Ocean Cleanup.” The illustrations are absolutely stunning and you will instantly fall in love with this story. Every year on her birthday, Alba the fish looks for one precious item to add to her home. Her collection ranges from beautiful shells to colorful corals. But as time passes by, Alba notices that there are fewer beautiful objects in the ocean to collect and fewer friends to celebrate her birthday with. Instead, there is trash everywhere! On her birthday, she sees a shiny pearl to add to her collection, but get stuck inside a bottle. A young girl named Kaia finds Alba and encourages the town people to clean up the ocean. When Kaia returns Alba to the ocean, we see a poster-like image of a lively reef filled with sea creatures.
Thank you for this brilliant list, Saranya! Follow Saranya on Instagram @toddlers.who.read to keep up to date on her great reviews and activities. Buy the books on this list from our affiliate page at Bookshop.org and help support indie bookshops!
As for us at Lantana, we've chosen Shadow by Lucy Christopher as our inclusive World Kindness Day read. Check out this special episode of the Lantana Book Club below where the wonderful and talented Lucy shares with our host Melissa her thoughts on the ways her uplifting story celebrates the power and magic of kindness, empathy and love to shine a light when our minds are shrouded in darkness.
Click HERE to look inside SHADOW!