Tuesday, January 09, 2007

***Books of Compassion***

Seeing as how I am a Children's Librarian, it's only fitting that every once in a while I post something about books. So I'll shut up about music for a bit and tell you about some great reads for yer little ones.

Rebecca Schosha, a fellow Kids' Librarian here at the Donnell Central Children's Room, passed along an article called "How to Raise a Compassionate Child", written by Jane Meredith Adams, and originally published on Parenting.com. In it, Adams describes several ways we grownups can promote sweetness, helping, and friendship in our little ones.

Going with that vibe, I picked out a few books that fall under that general thought. And the ones I picked were not from the group of books that say "make sure to do good things so that good things will happen to you". These merely show thoughtful, empathetic, compassionate actions, without the characters thinking about what might be in it for them. Check 'em out:

Thank You Nicky!, by Harriet Zeifert, ill. Richard Brown
This lift-the-flap board book is a perfect example of the importance of letting your actions, not just your words, guide your little ones' concept of life. Nicky the cat is asked by the first two people he meets to lend them a hand with their tasks. After that, on his own, he helps a little boy who dropped his groceries, a little girl who almost lost her newspaper, and so on.

All That You Are, by Woodleigh Marx Hubbard
Simple statements let the reader know why he or she is special, including "When others need help, you take responsibility", "You are generous", and "You live with compassion". My favorite is an illustration of a crying elephant, who, having stepped on and crushed a boy's bike, is being comforted by the little boy, accompanied by the sentence "You forgive".

Pages of Music, by Tony Johnston, ill. Tomie de Paola
A book which, I'm ashamed to say, I've never heard of before today! Long ago, a boy and his mother visited Sardinia. The poor shepherds of Sardinia gave the boy and his mother fogli di musica, pages of music, or, thin, hard bread. The shepherds would take no payment, but instead happily played music on their pipes. The boy was so taken with the music and the shepherds' kindness, he returned to Sardinia years later a famous composer and arranged a full orchestral concert of the shepherds' simple pipe song.

Here Comes Darrell, by Leda Schubert, ill. Mary Azarian
Based on the kind actions of real-life Darrell K. Farnham, the woodcuts and words of this book tell the story of a good neighbor who looks after everyone else, almost to the detriment of his own home! So when a stiff Autumn wind blows through northern Vermont and tears the roof off Darrell's barn, his neighbors immediately begin rebuilding without even having to be asked.

Cold Paws, Warm Heart, by Madeleine Floyd
A cold, lonely polar bear is warmed from the inside out when a little girl hears his flute music and brings him her scarf and a mug of hot chocolate, spends time with him, and promises to visit every day.


kelli ann said...

thanks for this post, warren: i've got this crazy idea to start a story/craft hour at one of the town's libraries (long story, but we have 2...) and it's s-l-o-w-l-y taking shape, with reflections like this one...

Warren Truitt said...

Thanks for reading, k.a.! Please let me know how your program progresses...


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