Children’s Books That Are Inclusive

Children love books they can relate to. They need to see themselves represented in the pages. Books that present differences help students feel less alone, more connected. I have been carefully scrutinizing children’s books that lift children out of a sense of isolation. The following are books I highly recommend. I am not selling or being reimbursed in any way for my endorsements. Check them out to help students learn about the importance of inclusion.

“When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” Rudine Sims Bishop

Grow Grit Press  (Author), Jelena Stupar  (Illustrator)

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True. Make your moments good ones.

I have had lots of time to reflect. The urge to get away to faraway lands is stronger than ever. I remember being asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always answered, “an airline stewardess.” I wanted to see the world. My life took another direction and I became a teacher. The traveling I have done has largely been a result of my daughter living in the UK. My son-in-law has arranged trips to France, Italy, Spain and Netherlands. The memories of those places are sealed in my heart.

When I got to see the opera Carmen in Verona, I was awestruck by the sheer majesty of the arena. We were huddled together in the rain as the performers sought shelter, then came out just as the rain stopped. It was a memory I will treasure forever.

Venice was magical and also a bit sad. The ocean is rising and many of the first floor buildings are under water now. Our gondola host shared his experiences having to duck to get under the overhangs. He pointed out apartments that are now submerged.

A trip to France to see the shrine at Lourdes was at the top of my bucket list. I waited with other believers to get into the baths. The water from the natural spring is said to heal. The real healing for me was within, not visible. I noticed that there were people with far greater needs than myself. As dramatic as it sounds, when I got out of the bath, I was immediately dry. I will always be grateful for the emotional transformation that took place in that holy place.

In Spain I walked around Barcelona admiring the Gaudi House, and the beauty of the city. The best way to learn about an area is to walk around and talk to people. We decided to go into a grocery store, buy food for lunch and sit out by a dock to enjoy a meal together.

I visited North Wales recently to see my family. It remains one of my favorite places. I have seen Snowdonia and now want to return to see how many more waterfalls I can find.

I am making a list of places I want to see. Life is just too short, but I plan to make sure I find a way to see some of them.


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New Vocabulary Words for Children

Did you know:

•Students must learn 3,000 words per year by 3rd grade. 

•Only 400 words a year are directly taught by teachers. 

•Students do not learn vocabulary words based on their age or their grade. 

•They learn words based on their experiences , (Beck, et al, 2002) 

•Academic demands are high

•Everyday speech consists of only 5,000- 7,000 words. 

Parents and teachers have a role to play in expanding a child’s vocabulary. The more children read and hear books read aloud, as well as listen and engage in conversations, the more they are exposed to new words. When a child asks, “What does that mean?” they should be told an accurate and appropriate definition based on their age and cognitive ability to make meaning of the word.

Children learn new words through experiences, therefore science experiments, videos, art, movement,  fieldtrips, guest speaker are important. Engaging in conversations allows a child to hear and practice new words. Visuals are particularly valuable to expand vocabulary, as most children are visual learners. Using multi-sensory activities helps place new learning into longterm memory. It’s important for new words to be presented in kid-friendly terms.

Here are examples of Common Core State Standards for vocabulary acquisition for Grade 2 (this is only a sampling, check out the full list online :

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).

Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., addition, additional).

This is a great way to show “shades of meaning.” Teach synonyms in a visual manner. Paint strips can be found at Walmart and hardware stores.

Great Resource

Remember that children acquire vocabulary primarily from experiences. MAKE IT FUN.

In order to teach vocabulary, you must be aware of the three different types or tiers. Tier 1 vocabulary can be classified as everyday vocabulary that we use in life around us. This type of vocabulary is often learned orally at a young age, reading, and daily experiences. 

Tier 2 vocabulary is high utility words found in cross curricular texts. 

• They are academic words that are general enough to be used across all domains, yet are not part of students’ everyday social language. 

Example:  students know “happy,” but may not know, “contented.” 

Tier 2 words need to be taught because they are not used daily and it increases a student’s vocabulary to know synonyms. 

Tier 3 vocabulary is domain or content specific. For example, if teaching about circles, the word circumference or radius would need to be taught. Or if you are doing an ancient civilizations unit on Egypt, the word hieroglyphics would need to be explained. Students’ academic success comes when specific instruction of both Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary is taught.

Have students create their own Vocabulary Journal.

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Shout Out

I thought this needed to be said loud and clear. If you can put one foot in front of the other, and smile while doing it, you are a champion in my opinion. These last two-plus years have been horrendous. It is not only the pandemic, but the atrocities occurring daily in Ukraine. There have been heavy blows to the economy, unemployment, suicides, the list goes on. At times it seems like there is no hope. I try hard to seek out the light, whatever glimmer of good there is in the world.

There are still good people in this world. It is those people I celebrate. The people who generously open their home to refugees, the school teachers who scramble to put their lessons online so their students get instruction, the nurses and health care providers who work covid units and still manage to smile and provide care to those in need, the grocery workers who stock the shelves, as well as the people who deliver food to those who can’t get to the store. There are so many good people who have empathy for others less fortunate. I hope they are all blessed immeasurably for their goodness. A shout out to you all.

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Childrens books for science lovers

These are great books for budding scientists.

Children are fascinated by animals and nature. Nurture and celebrate their curiosity through books that give them information and new vocabulary. The following are great for inquisitive minds.

One of the most interesting books I have seen to inspire budding scientists.

Another outstanding book to pique the interest of students in elementary classrooms.

The best visual encyclopedia for curious minds.

For the Little Ones, this is perfect.

This one is great for backyard fun.

Absolutely fabulous pictures and facts about the planets.

This one is edited by that wacky “scientist” from Back to the Future. Very well written and FUN

Important facts presented in a fun and easy to comprehend manner.

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Children’s Books for Visualization

The ability to visualize helps comprehension.

When a child is able to form an image in their mind, it helps them understand what they are reading. It provides a context based on the child’s prior knowledge. Teachers can lead students to visualize by reading aloud and having students either draw what they “see,” write about it, or discuss with a partner.

Here are some books to assist with Visualization:

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