Did you know that it's Children's Book Week? In honor of the occasion, I asked around the office to find out what everyone's favorite children's books are. I've compiled a few of our favorites. Whether we read them as kids or read them to our kids now, these books definitely get our stamp of approval!
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert, Illustrated by Rex Ray
Andi's a fan of 10,000 Dresses, a story about a trans girl named Bailey who wants nothing more than to be accepted for who she is: a girl who wants to wear dresses! Despite the dreams she has about wearing elaborate dresses, her parents tell her she can't wear them because she's a boy. But then she finds acceptance in a dress-loving friend...
Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson, Illustrated by Elizabeth Catlett
Illustrated with amazing wood block cuts by artist and activist Elizabeth Catlett, this transforms the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," to a beautiful book for all ages, literally drawing out the lyrics of this powerful song with scenes from African-American history.
Two Girls Can by Keiko Narahashi
This book has a really empowering message for young girls: you are capable and fun, and you can be both of these things with other girls. In addition to writing about how girls can climb trees and share jokes together, Narahashi acknowledges that two girls can "get really, really mad" and then make up and be brave together. On top of the important messages that this book presents, the watercolor illustrations are simply stunning.
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward, Illustrated by Marjorie Flack
Cottontail, a little country bunny, proves all of the big white bunnies and Jack Rabbits wrong when she grows up to become a mother and gets the job of her dreams: becoming one of the Easter bunnies. Julie says that she loves the way The Country Bunny touches on feminist and class issues.
The Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash, Illustrated by James Marshall
"The Adventures of Isabel" is a poem by Ogden Nash that has been adapted into a children's story a few times over the years. Deb read the one illustrated by James Marshall as a kid. She says, "The stories this poem tells, of bears, witches, and sadistic doctors (among others!) should be terrifying, but Isabel is capable in every disaster. As a fellow little girl, she made me feel as if I could do anything."
The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum
Emily was a big fan of these books as a child: "I loved the Wizard of Oz series because many of the main characters were young girls—like me! They were interesting, curious and confident. In one of the books, Dorothy meets a snobby princess who steals people's heads, and Dorothy just tells her off and decides to leave...and then, of course, adventure ensues."
Ashley's Second Pick:
Tar Beach Faith Ringgold
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. Set in 1939 Harlem, this book follows a girl named Cassie as she imagines herself taking flight from Tar Beach, the rooftop of her family's apartment building. She flies over important landmarks in the city: the George Washington Bridge that her father helped to build, the union building her father isn't allowed to be a part of because he isn't white, and the ice cream factory that she imagines her family being able to eat ice cream from every night. While flying over the city, she imagines erasing social injustices and ensuring that her family has access to the things that have been kept from them. This book provides an opportunity to discuss racial discrimination and talk about what you would change if given the chance. It's also downright beautiful—each page of acrylic nighttime NYC is framed in pictures of Ringgold's own 1988 fabric story quilt.
What children's books are you a fan of? Let us know in the comments!
Do you have a collection of feminist children's books that are no longer in use? Consider donating then to our library, which is always in need of more children's books! For a list of children's books that we're currently in need of, go here.