Reading a book as a family can often serve as a conversation starter when it comes to tough or hard to address topics. The following children’s books can serve as family conversation starters!
• Moving: Boomer’s Big Day by Constance W. McGeorge
Moving to a new house can be a difficult transition for many children. Told through the eyes of a dog, Boomer of Boomer’s Big Day is not sure what to think when all his favorite toys are packed and the movers show up. However, when he arrives at his new house, he finds all his things are still there – as well as lots of new friends. Other books about moving include Berenstain Bears Moving Day by Stan Berenstain, Who Will Be My Friends? by Syd Hoff, I’m Not Moving Mama! by Nancy White Carlstrom, and A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow.
• First day of school: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The first day of school can be nerve-wracking for students of all ages – particularly young children in their first few years of school. In The Kissing Hand, Chester Racoon is nervous about starting school, so his mother teaches him the family story of the kissing hand to reassure and comfort him. There are plenty of books for dealing with the first day of school including I Am Absolutely Too Small For School by Lauren Child, A Pirate’s Guide To First Grade by James Preller, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, and The Teacher From The Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler.
• Bullying: The Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman
While most schools have become more proactive about identifying and intervening in bullying, the presence of a bully can put a damper on your child’s school year and learning experience. In The Bully Blockers Club, Lotty is excited to go back to school – until Grant Grizzly begins bullying her. When she notices other kids being bullied too, Lotty and her classmates form a group called the Bully Blockers Club. Other books that deal with bullying are Bye Bye Bully by J.S. Jackson, Bystander Power: Now with Anti-Bullying Action by Elizabeth Verdick and LMSW, Phyllis Kaufman Goodstein, Desmond And The Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams, and Bully 101 by Doretta Groenendyk.
• Differences and diversity: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.
When children so desperately want to fit in with their peers, accepting their differences can be difficult. In The Name Jar, an immigrant named Unhei learns to navigate her new school and accept her Korean name. Other books about accepting our differences are Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer, Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts, Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson, and Wonder by R. J. Palacio.
Looking for more ways to start conversations as a family? Try games like Table Topics, which provide fun and interesting questions to spark conversations around the dinner table!