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Book recs to spark discussion about empathy/compassion/how lucky we are...


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      Planning for next year.  I'd like to take a break from our regular school stuff in Dec and read lots of books about caring for others and appreciating all that we have, etc.  I really want to remove the focus on toys toys toys and me me me this Christmas as much as possible.  Anyone have suggestions for good read alouds--chapter and picture books?  My kids will be almost 9, 6, 3 and a half (and infant).  Thanks! 

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Thanks so much!  I've never heard of any of these!  Will check them out!

 

Anyone else?  Not just Christmas books, anything that will get us talking about thinking of others would be great!

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Well, this ins't strictly about helping others and appreciating what you have (or books), but I think it might have the same end goal. I got a set of Family Virtues Cards. Each one has a virtue (there's 52, many do apply - compassion, humility, helpfulness, generosity, gratitude, service, etc), a Bible verse (they have a set without), an explanation of what it means and a list of "signs of success" (for example, generosity lists "I am thoughtful about the needs of others", "I give freely without hope of reward", etc). I got them from virtuesproject.com. 

 

I plan to use them during "Morning Time" (few threads around here on that). So far my plan is to have everyone in the family choose one at the beginning of the week and spend the week thinking/practicing/discussing/praying about it. I'm hoping giving everyone the opportunity to choose their own will encourage them to choose something that speaks to them and that they personally need to work on.  

 

The set was $20, very pricey, but it saved me a ton of work over making my own. If you don't want a deck of 52, you could always make up a handful that are specific to helping others and appreciating what you have. Unfortunately, my family could use some practice with ALL of them :p I think I'm going to take your idea and all these great book suggestions too!

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I use the following books as part of my kids' Kindy year.

 

For picture books:

Running Shoes by Frederick Lipp

Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams

Basket of Bangles by Ginger Howard

Four Feet Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

The Butter Man by Elizabeth Letts,

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier,

Mia's Story by Michael Foreman

Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber

Nasreen's Secret School by Jeanette Winter

 

 

For Christmas picture books:

An Orange for Fankie by Patricia Polacco

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry (this one is more about how our excess can bless others)

 

Hth

 

Liz

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I plan to use them during "Morning Time" (few threads around here on that). So far my plan is to have everyone in the family choose one at the beginning of the week and spend the week thinking/practicing/discussing/praying about it. I'm hoping giving everyone the opportunity to choose their own will encourage them to choose something that speaks to them and that they personally need to work on.  

 

Oh, I really like this!  Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the other book suggestion as well, everyone!

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Great ideas! I remember one year -a while ago- we did a reading challenge for Heifer International (Maybe?) with our book club after reading Beatrice's Goat.  My ds thought it was about the "old days".

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  • Heidi, the original, unadapted version. Probably my top recommendation for the very discussion you are talking about.  Excellent book about difficult situations, loss, friendship, blooming where you are planted, being other-oriented, redemption

Other books might also work:

  • Freckles or some of the others by Gene Stratton Porter
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney (a very poor family, but full of joy and giving to others)
  • Christy, Catherine Marshall
  • Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates

Also, books with an overt Christian message:

  • Mary Jones and Her Bible
  • Treasures of the Snow, Patricia St. John

Lisa

 

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Thanks so much for the suggestions!  Many of these I hadn't heard of before.  All of them look promising, though I'll probably go with the ones written for younger kids because of my age spread this year  :)

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