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Us Versus Them

by Miss Heather | Jul 21, 2016
Our times are tough. It seems like the masses are polarized--republican vs. democrat, black vs. blue, rich vs. poor, young vs. old. Some of these divisions have been around for ages, others are newer and seemingly divide us further than we have been in decades. Do we want those divisions passed on to and through "our" children? How do we set examples to the contrary when all we want to do is to cheer on a particular viewpoint?

I just pulled together a booklist for a parent asking for books to help her discuss race and racism with her 2, 5, and 6 year olds. Wow. Where to begin? In my search I stumbled on a couple books I had not read. I've read them now and want to pass along the titles as they do a great job of talking about conflict and division in a story format perfect for the younger set.

1. Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles by Steve Antony

From the book jacket: "The green lizards wanted to defeat the red rectangles. The red rectangles wanted to defeat the green lizards. They were at war! Eventually they realized, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! They stopped fighting and by working together, the green lizards and the red rectangles found a way to live peacefully."     
It takes SO MUCH work to get along! This book doesn't sugar coat the process--it takes so many tries to get to co-existence.

2. My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald & Freya Blackwood
two blanketsFrom the book jacket: "Cartwheel moves to a new country with her auntie--and everything is strange: the animals, the plants--even the wind...
An old blanket gives Cartwheel comfort when she's sad--and a new blanket just might change her world."

This simple tale works for the topic of moving as well as acceptance of those who are different. Encourage your kiddos to be the friend to someone who hasn't anyone. And help your kiddo understand that it is okay to be sad about things for a while. It takes time to feel better and we often need to do that on our own.

The other books I recommended included Mem Fox's Whoever Your Are, Michael Tyler's Skin You Live In;  and Bell Hooks', Skin Again. Are there books you'd recommend to other parents on the topic of getting along, tolerance, conflict, and/or race and racism?

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  • Miss Heather is the children's librarian at the Shawnee Branch. She does not have any human children of her own, just one tiny, fuzzy canine. She love to take road trips with said canine with an audiobook on the car stereo.
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