Raising kids (or grandkids) in today’s toxic environment of constant negative news is a challenge. There’s never been a more important time to teach children compassion, kindness, empathy and to value ALL forms of diversity. And, you can’t start too young! With the help of my sweet grandson Ace, I’m sharing a list of Progressive Books for Little Ones. These “woke books” are an ideal gift for new parents, or to read to/with the little ones in your life.
The lack of representation and inclusivity has long been an issue in children’s literature. A 2019 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that more children’s books featured animals as main characters than depicted Black, Asian, Latinx, or Indigenous characters. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to find children’s books that are widely representative than it should be. We know that it’s incredibly important for people of color to see themselves represented in media, but it’s also very important for white children to see characters unlike themselves, too.
This is my favorite progressive ABC board book for little ones. It’s written and illustrated for families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil and LGBTQ rights.
The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.
Ideal for ages 0-2, this playful and rhythmic book celebrates babies from around the world.
“I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. This sweet book teaches you and your child to say I love you in 10 different languages – from China, to France, to Russia, to Brazil, and beyond. Tapping into the emotions that parents feel for their children, the rhyming text is accompanied by sweet artwork that depicts different cultures around the world.
Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.
This book is suitable for older kids (in fact I might buy a copy for myself.) Sixteen award-winning children’s book artists illustrate the civil rights quotations that inspire them in this stirring and beautiful book. Featuring an introduction by Harry Belafonte, words from Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among others, this inspirational collection sets a powerful example for generations of young leaders to come. And, book proceeds benefit the ACLU.
You can see all of my previous book reviews HERE.
What are your favorite progressive books for little ones? Tell me in the comments below.