Sunday, July 12, 2015

Must Read Monday: Books about Compassion

Yay, time for another Must Read Monday with Suzanne from Kindergarten Planet and Alex from Kindergarten Connection! I love talking about books! 

This week it is all about COMPASSION. I really love this topic, and it is SO important to teach to little learners. Children are naturally all about themselves, and some have not had to ever deal with other kids before coming to school. They are living in a world with many people unlike themselves, and having compassion is a must. Here are some of my favorite books to teach compassion. 

Those Shoes is a great book for showing that material possessions aren't always the most important thing. Jeremy is pining after "those shoes" that everyone seems to have, but his family can't afford. When he gets teased for having dorky shoes, there is one kid who doesn't make fun of them. When Jeremy finally gets "those shoes," he sees that they aren't all they are cracked up to be. He does a great deed for his friend at the end, and sees how thinking of other people feels pretty darn good. 

Another one I love is Each Kindness. This one is emotionally heavy, and I always have some very silent, very introspective kids as we finish this one. Maya is the new girl at school, and she is poor. Everyone in the class is mean to her because of how she looks and dresses, even though she is always kind to them. One day she transfers and no one sees her again. When the class is talking about the acts of kindness they have done, Chloe can't think of any- but she keeps thinking of how she was always mean to Maya.

This story always catches my students off-guard because it doesn't wrap up in a nice little package. Maya never comes back, Chloe never has the chance to apologize. It really gets the point across that those mean words can stick with people, and that if you are always mean to people, you are going to be facing some major guilt one day.

I love Leo the Late Bloomer! Leo is just that- a late bloomer. He's not yet doing all the things his friends can do, and his dad is worried. In his own time, he blooms! I use this one when we talk about our "just right learning." I always have the "smart kid" who came in ahead of everyone, and has been told by their family how *smart* they are. I always see a few kids glancing between  their A book and their friend reading a K...or looking at their writing and comparing it to the kid who had 2 years of Head Start. I want my kids to know it's okay for us to be at different stages, and that we will all bloom in our own time.

I'll admit, I originally judged Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by it's cover...and I'm glad I did! Not only does it have great illustrations, it is a short read with a great message. Tyrannosaurus doesn't really know how to play with others- he pretty much wrecks everything around him, hurting his friends' feelings. Around the middle you start to see that Tyrannosaurus isn't merely a bully, but he really just struggles to work with other people and express himself. Instead of holding it against him and staying mad, his friends help him be successful.

I LOVED this one because as I read it the first time, I thought of a buddy I had a few years back. This student had many problems interacting with the others, and did things very impulsively. They weren't trying to be a bully, but if the other kids did the same things back to them, it would be bullying. It is hard to 5 year olds to really understand that their classmate's needs were different than their own, but this story was a start!

What are some of your favorite books for teaching compassion? I'd love to hear about them!