We are all part of the human family

Human rights and respect for others are values we want to instill in our children. As we grew up in the fifties, my parents taught us The Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” listen when others are speaking, respect your elders, and to smile often because it warms your heart. The people in my family had self concepts that soared because our days were filled with acceptance, compassion, and love. In this modern age where too many people aren’t communicating well with others and need better self control of their emotions, it would behoove us to come back to emphasizing core human values.

Exposing elementary school children to the following books would set a foundation for confidence, success and a positive role model for adulthood so their dreams can come true. Some are biographical stories, and others are based on courageous people that made an impact in life. They all brought about change.

Red Bicycle Drum Dream Girl Remarkable story of Geo. Moses Horton PoetHouse that Jane Built

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella, ill. Simone Shin. 2015. 9781771380232. Gr. 4-6.
Due to the fact my own daughter raised $5000 for World Bicycle relief when she did her first Ironman, this book was emotional for me. The hardship of earning money to pay for a new bike is a vital part of growing up for many children. When Leo got too big for his bike, he made the decision to recycle his bike and send it to Africa. The evolution of the experiences of his bike reveal the immense value of the Big Red Bike as it was given from one person to the next and so on. What a heartwarming episode!

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, ill. Rafael Lopez. 2015. 9780544102293. Gr. K-3.
Inspired by a real life Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s taboo against female drummers, this talented girl had a dream of equality. Courageously, she didn’t let her dream be stifled, and she eventually became the drummer she knew she could be! “Her hands seemed to fly as they rippled rapped and pounded all the rhythms of her drum dreams.”

Poet : The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate. 2015. 9781561458257. Gr. 2-4.
Being a child of a slave in North Carolina, George knew he didn’t have the right to learn how to read, but that didn’t stop him. Cleverly, he listened to the school children while they were learning and then he taught himself to read. He read anything he could get his hands on: the Bible, newspapers, advertisements, but loved poetry the most! After a hard day of working on his master’s farm, he worked on his poetry. George was sold to a new master who sent him to the village of Chapel Hill to sell the produce grown in the fields. George charmed the students in the nearby college, impressing them with his self-composed poetry. They were so enamored that they began paying him to write poems for them.

The House That Jane Built : A Story About Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone, ill. Kathryn Brown. 2015. 9780805090499. Gr. 1-4.

The remarkable life of Jane Addams was filled with kindness toward others less fortunate than she was. Her background strengths are supporting the women’s suffrage movement, promoting peace, and founding the internationally acclaimed Hull House in Chicago to transform the lives of those not able to manage on their own. She creatively came up with positive approaches to solving problems and dedicated herself to getting others involved.

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans. 2015. 9780385390286. Gr. 1-4.
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton. Ill. Don Tate. 2015. 9780802853790. Gr. 2-5.
Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport. Ill. Matt Faulkner. 2015. 9780786851423. Gr. 1-3.
In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton. Ill. Brian Deines. 2015. 9781927485620. K-2.
Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport. Ill. London Ladd. 2015. 9781423114383. Gr. 1-3.

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