20161216_075849Our little ones are unique. They know that and they embrace it without even being fully aware of it. But as the school-age years approaches, they become more socially involved and begin to see or are aware of people’s thoughts and wants. They start to feel a sense of belonging.

This need and want to be part of a group can be quite tricky. We want to be liked by the people around us and we want to fit into the puzzle. That’s fine. But at the same time it might do good if we as parents can assure them and help them learn to embrace differences and celebrate individuality.These books provide great starting points to get that message across.

1. Crysanthemum

This story has a sweet message of loving yourself and cherishing what makes you different. Chrysanthemum has an unusually long name but believes her parents chose the perfect name for her. She loves her name and is proud of it until she starts school and everyone makes fun of her. Her parents reassure her but she has a hard time believing them when she is teased at school. Then one day, she meets her music teacher who also has a flower name… and things begin to change.

This is a great book for first graders especially as they start school and make new friends. We learn that unkind words and bullying behaviour can hurt our friends’ feelings.

2. Spoon

Spoon is a self-conscious spoon. He thinks he is boring, dull and no fun. He looks at his friends – knife, fork and chopsticks- with envy, thinking they are so cool and exciting. Little does he know his friends think the same of him! “Spoon is so lucky” they’d say… Spoon soon realizes his strength and starts to discover his unique potential! This is such a feel-good hilarious and fun book. We are huge AKR fans!

3. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.’ – From the Book Jacket.
Have the courage to be different… and enjoy it! – that is the message of this charming book. Read to find out how Lucy accepts herself as being different.

4. Stellaluna

This is a really sweet story about acceptance, differences and friendship. Stellaluna is a bat but she falls and loses her mother one night… landing in a bird’s nest. The mother bird takes her in and raises her like a bird, along with her three other step-siblings.
We learn about inclusion and how fun it is to have a friend who is different, a friend who has different strengths and a friend who can show you new ways. This book is a keeper. I am not a big fan of bats… but I love Stellaluna!

5. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon

Meet Molly Lou Melon! She is short, she is clumsy and no, she is not pretty. But I can’t help but find her really cute and charming! It’s her attitude (Thanks to her grandmother) that I absolutely adore!
Molly has an ugly buck teeth and a voice that sounds like a “bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor”. It’s ok. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart.
The time comes when Molly starts school and she is picked on by a bully from the very first day. It’s ok.. because Molly knows exactly what to do!

6. Red : A Crayon’s Story

Sometimes people hurt your feelings by defining you… because that labelling is not doing you good and limiting your true potential. Believe in yourself and find the courage to embrace your difference so that others can discover the real you is what the books is about. A blue crayon is going through a frustrating identity crisis as everyone believes he is red. There is no way he can produce red… and he starts to question himself until a friend comes along and presents a new perspective. Thank God for wise friends!

7. The Curvy Tree

I usually note the author first before the book title… but this book is one we’ve enjoyed reading and only realized months later it was written by Chris Colfer! (author of The Land of Stories!) I found the illustration interesting and that was what got my attention initially. We read the story and we really appreciated how clearly and beautifully it was written.
A young girls runs into the forest in tears after being teased by her friends. She cries under a curvy tree who is watching her. A very unusual tree he is… they start having a conversation. The curvy tree goes on to share his story of his differences that touches the little girl’s heart and she learns being different can be a blessing!

8. Tibby the Tiger Bunny

Tibby is not feeling confident because he knows he looks different. Is he a tiger or is he a bunny? Why does he have tiger stripes and long floppy ears? Poor Tibby! He wants to fit in but he can’t. Will he ever makes friends? His friends are afraid because he seems different!
A sweet and charming book that teaches you to embrace your difference and see the beauty of your difference. We are all unique and if we were to just open our eyes and minds, we will be able to discover the beauty in everyone’s differences.

9. Exclamation Mark

From the book jacket:
He stood out here.
He stood out there.
He tried everything to be more like them.

It’s not easy being seen. Especially when you’re NOT like everyone else. Especially when what sets you apart is YOU. Sometimes we squish ourselves to fit in. We shrink. Twist. Bend. Until — ! — a friend shows the way to endless possibilities.
We had a hard time holding back our tears of laughter while reading this book. Oh, did we mention we are AKR fans? A firm favourite of Sprinter’s. 🙂