Reading and literacy are two of the dearest subjects to my heart. Maybe because since an early age, my mother instilled the love of reading in my sister and me. Besides being on top of homework and extra-curricular activities, she made sure to always have books handy during our trips to Grandma’s house and vacations.
I’m glad to be part of the fortunate group who had access to books from my early years because this is not the case for all. According to Unesco, there are still 775 million illiterate adults and 122 million youth around the world—mostly from sub-developed countries— even though strides have been made for the last 50 years.
Here in the US, data from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy shows that 32 million of people, or 14 % of the population, are part of this statistic.
Because there is a body of research that shows the correlation between reading habits in young children and development of language patterns (for instance, letter-sound recognition), and numeracy (counting to 20), it is no surprise that organizations such as the National Education Association(NEA) work hard to foster reading practice in the young.
This is what we are celebrating today. Every year on March 2nd, the NEA joins efforts to bring awareness of reading throughout the country. The day comes with a special meaning because is the birthday of the acclaimed children’s author, Dr. Seuss.
For me and this community, we don’t want to restrict reading in the US, but to spread the celebration of reading and literacy across the globe. And for that, I wanted to bring ten educational books that bring the joy of reading to the kiddos while teaching lessons in bullying, loss of a loved one, dealing with illness, empathy, friendship, kindness, entrepreneurship, and concepts in language arts, math, and science.
If I Were You And You Were Me! by Flo Barnett
This is the second book in the “Together In Peace and Harmony” series, for ages 3–6.
Grammy, who is Asian, and her sweet granddaughter of Asian-American descent magically switch places for a day. Grammy becomes a five-year-old, while the child is now in her seventies. Both have a great time living each other’s lives, one becoming young again while the other is experiencing old age, but are happy to return to their lives at the end of the day. What have they learned during this special time?
This book brings a strong message of tolerance and diversity. It couldn’t have come at a better time because it speaks to children in an easy-to-understand manner how to be empathetic and understanding of others, especially the ones from different cultural and ethical backgrounds. This is a must-read!
SAMI THE MAGIC BEAR: No to Bullying! by Murielle Bourdon
This is the book 2 of the SAMI’s collection, for ages 5–10.
SAMI is a special bear that comes to the aid of children who feel alone and who are facing troubling events in the course of their lives. In this case, SAMI intervenes in the life of Thomas—who faces ridicule and bullying—offering support and helping him to get through these difficult times.
Whether it is in person or online (cyberbullying), bullying can bring serious consequences to a child’s life. This book has a powerful message about bullying and offers a practical way for helping children and families to deal with it. It is also a must-read for teachers and caregivers in search for a fun, easy-to-read book for their kids.
My Little Pony, The Dragons on Dazzle Island by Mary Jane Begin
One of several picture books by award-winning illustrator Mary Jane Begin, this book is geared to children ages 5–8.
The Great Dragon Migration brought dragons to Dazzle Island. That created issues to Rarity’s rare island gemstones order, which was canceled. Trying to help Rarity, Fluttershy and Spike took the lead to convince the dragons to move away from the island. But they realized that the situation was not that simple.
This book is about finding a place in our heart to care about someone else’s babies— whether it is a pony or a dragon! The author sends a message to children and parents of “Hug with all your Heart!” In other words, she teaches children around the world the importance of having an open heart and mind—a theme that holds true, especially in the world we live in nowadays.
Reesie Reader Little Entrepreneur by Cherese T. Bracey
Reesie Reader has some new inventions. She’s a little entrepreneur who really loves to read. In this story, she shows children how to have fun storytimes while making books their companion.
The book is geared to Pre-K to grade three. It is the third of the series where the main characters are mascots for the Reading Reaps Rewards, Cherese Bracey’s early literacy enrichment program.
The main message is to promote entrepreneurship and reading while encouraging children to love books. The song featured in the story is also available for download.
The Adventures of Froblicious the Frog by Kelly Santana-Banks
This is the first book in the series Let’s Learn while Playing, geared towards ages 2–6.
Froblicious is one of a kind: he sings, dances, exercises, and has a good time with his friends. One day he was bored, and after waking up, he set foot on a colorful adventure. He tripped on a seesaw and sailed through the window of a little girl’s bathroom. But then, what happened to Froblicious?
This is a fun and sweet story, where children will enjoy the beginning of a friendship between a little girl and a silly frog.
The book brings a message of a friendship which surpasses barriers. It is recounted in the form of a rhyme, being a great tool for read-alouds. Children will love the illustrations and have a lot of fun with the bonus coloring pages.
When Grammy Goes Away by Flo Barnett
The 6th book in the series Grammy’s Gang, this story is geared towards ages 3–7.
Losing a loved one is very traumatic for young children. Since they don’t have the words to express the anxiety and fear they are experiencing, the significant adults in their lives must engage them in this extremely difficult discussion. Allowing youngsters to ask questions and then answering them with honesty and compassion will go a long way toward alleviating their unavoidable pain and suffering.
The book is an excellent tool in talking about the loss of a loved one. It is written in an age-appropriate manner, in a rhythmic and poetic style, and is sensitive to a child’s limited ability to process life’s most mysterious of realities.
SAMI THE MAGIC BEAR: A Trip to the Hospital! by Murielle Bourdon
The 3rd book in the SAMI’s series is focused on children 5–11 years old.
SAMI, the magical teddy, comes to the aid of Laurie. Laurie is facing a serious illness and while dealing with her problems, she started feeling depressed. That is when SAMI comes to her life and offers his support.
This book brings a message of friendship and encouragement to help children get through difficult times. When we try to find the right words to talk to children about a particular subject, including a trip to the hospital, and don’t know exactly what to say, this book comes to the rescue. It is a great tool for parents to start a conversation with their little ones. And children will love the illustrations.
Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember by Kelly Santana-Banks
The second book in the series Let’s Learn while Playing, this is a sweet story for children 3–7 year old.
In this story, Miss Gina’s class is getting ready to explore dinosaurs. They set on a quest in the dinosaur museum and while navigating the exhibition, the group gets lost. After quickly finding their way, the children dive into an exciting adventure, which brings them delightful memories.
This book comes out with a strong educational content. And for fans of dinosaurs, it teaches children through play concepts of science, language arts, and math.
My Little Pony, Under the Sparkling Sea by Mary Jane Begin
Twilight Sparkle is invited by King Leo to visit the underwater city of Aquastria. He wanted Twilight Sparkle to come for the annual race between seaponies and the mermares, which hold a long-time rivalry between them. Twilight Sparkle brings along her pony friends and Spike for the event. Together, they are immersed in a rewarding adventure.
With beautiful, whimsical illustrations, this book talks about the importance of valuing kindness over competition, and the thrill of accomplishing things together. It is a great tool for parents and teachers to have a simple but thoughtful conversation with children about this theme. Perfect for children ages 5–8.
The great news about those books is that they all can be yours. Here in the community, we are running a giveaway and will award two lucky winners with autographed copies of the books and a $50 Amazon gift card (for the first-place winner) and signed copies to the second place.
Giveaway is open worldwide and it is super easy to enter. Just click on this link and have fun!
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