Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
A well-deserved classic, this book shadows a kid who struggles at school both academically and socially. It teaches grit, introduces how some topics (in this case, reading and math) can be hard, but a good teacher and hard work wins the day. The dedicated teacher helps Trisha build on her artistic talent to eventually become a reader. It also introduces bullying, without resolving it or excusing it away. It’s realistic in that the bully and bullied didn’t magically become friends in the end (no Disney ending here). It’s true to life this way, and therefore relatable. I cried.
Highly recommend for children who struggle with reading.
The Lamb-a-Roo by Diana Kimpton, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Touching and wonderfully unexplicit yet clear about adoption. The story watches as an adoptive family meshes between a small and his new “maa.” He explores their physical differences and they, together, address and move past them in a humorous, loving, and definitive way.
Accepting who you are
How It Feels to Be a Boat by James Kwan
Figuratively tackling conflict in an original way, the story floats through the “smooth and stormy seas” of life. Readers dive into the hull to meet a crew of quirky characters and wonder how they will make it through. Will particularly speak to kids interested in boats. Introduces engaging words to discuss (eg, levers, writhe, sputtering).
Emotional Intelligence (naming feelings)
Reassurance through difficult times