Recommended Nesting Reads: Stories to Share

Story is the way that our human family makes sense of the world and how each individual finds their place in it. Children benefit from knowing the stories of their own family, as they seek belonging in their culture and society.

As the author of What Kids Learn From Hearing Family Stories writes, "Family stories can be told nearly anywhere. They cost us only our time, our memories, our creativity. They can inspire us, protect us, and bind us to others. So be generous with your stories, and be generous in your stories. Remember that your children may have them for a lifetime." 

Story gives us the opportunity to frame the ways we want to be together as we pursue our hopes and dreams. They help our children understand the roots of those hopes and dreams and ground their abilities to grow their own wings.

As 8-year-old Ruby said, "Being brave is going up, being pulled up. Then the freedom comes when you are flying like a bird."

Stories give us courage. They pull us up. This article from Greater Good offers adults some support in considering the stories we are telling with children about these times. Below are a selection of picture books we hope will inspire further conversations at home.

Try to be honest about the complexity that co-mingles with all that is going on around us. Children don't need the world to be more simple. They just need to know what stories we are telling to help us find our way through.

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence
by Gretchen Woelfle with illustratrations by Alix Delinois
Provides young readers a slavery-to-freedom narrative about Elizabeth Freeman's true story of resistance and liberation. For a review of the book and additional resources, click here.

Grandfather Gandhi
by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus & Evan Turk
A Picture Book for All Ages
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
by Kathleen Krull & Yuyi Morales
Grades 3–6
A biography of Cesar Chavez, from age ten when he and his family lived happily on their Arizona ranch, to age thirty-eight when he led a peaceful protest against California migrant workers' miserable working conditions.

Dreams of Freedom in Words & Pictures
Amnesty International UK 
Grades 2–6
Worldwide champions of human rights, from Harriet Tubman and Anne Frank to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, share their dreams of freedom in words illustrated by artists from across the globe.

Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights
by Sanders and Schorr
K–Grade 2
Every voice matters, no matter how small. It's time to make a difference.

That Is My Dream!
A Picture Book of Langston Hughes's "Dream Variation"
by Langston Hughes

"Dream Variation," one of Langston Hughes's most celebrated poems, about the dream of a world free of discrimination and racial prejudice is now a picture book.

Freedom Soup
by Tami Charles with illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup—Freedom Soup—just like she was taught when she was a little girl. 

I Have the Right to be a Child 
by Alain Serres
What it means to be a child with rights, emphasizing that these rights belong to every child on the planet, and makes evident that knowing and talking about these rights are the first steps toward making sure that they are respected.

Freedom in Congo Square
by Carole Boston Weatherford
Grades 1–5
Six days a week, slaves labor from sunup to sundown and beyond, but on Sunday afternoons, they gather with free blacks at Congo Square outside New Orleans, free from oppression.

Two Friends Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass
by Dean Robbins
K–Grade 3
This story imagines what it was like when Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass got together for a cup of tea and discussed their struggle for civil rights.

Almost to Freedom
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Grades 1–4
Tells the story of a young girl's dramatic escape from slavery via the Underground Railroad, from the perspective of her beloved rag doll.

The Streets Are Free
by Kurusa with illustrations by Monika Doppert
Based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San Jose de la Urbina in Caracas, Venezuela.

Milo's Museum
by Zetta Elliott
Milo gradually realizes that the people from her community are missing from the museum. When her aunt urges her to find a solution, Milo takes matters into her own hands and opens her own museum