inspire kindness

10 Books to Celebrate and Learn from Black History

February is Black History month, and in my mind there is no better way to learn about and from history than through the power of story. From slavery to the civil rights movement, African Americans in our country have walked a road marked with hate and injustice. That said, I am reminded of a quote by Fred Rogers:  When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

It's true. In the midst of tough and scary things, there are always helpers; and in the darkest times of African American history in our country, there were bold and brave, multi-colored helpers. 

Obviously, racial issues are still a struggle today. Reading stories of others who stood up to hate or were the target of it builds compassion in our kids. It opens the door to conversations that need to happen in our homes and in the larger world abroad. I hope this list of books is one that will help all of us seek to understand, help us to remember the past, and inspire us to continue to work towards healing and compassion in the future.  

My favorite Christmas Picture Books

Every year around Thanksgiving, I pull a basket filled with books out of my closet. The books are our collection of Christmas stories and picture books that are only made available to read once a year. Most of the books are classics; their titles wouldn’t surprise you, but each one is special and hints at its own kind of Christmas magic. It brings me joy to see my kids sit next to this box throughout the Christmas season reading one of it’s treasures. 

Out of our current Christmas picture book collection, below is a list of my five favorites (most classic, one new) along with the kind of magic they inspire. 

A Wonder-like Book List (AKA Books that Inspire Kindness and Looking Beyond the Outward Appearance)

Have you read Wonder? In my world, the book is showing up everywhere. My book club read it over the summer. Teachers have been reading it to my kids in school. I often see it displayed prominently in book stores and libraries. And while the extra attention might have something to do with the movie (starring Julie Roberts and Owen Wilson) that is set to release into theaters on November 17th, this book is making an impact for a much better reason:  It's a well told story that inspires kindness in it's readers. If you or your kids haven’t read it, grab yourselves a copy and dig in!