Nine More Books on Hope in Troubled Times: Titles for Children

SUBMITTED BY JENÉ WATSON

In October, the Peachtree Corners Branch hosted a Sunday afternoon craft where children were invited to learn the basics of origami. Each participant made two paper cranes: one to take and one to put on display in the branch. The activity was inspired by Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, a story about the aftereffects of that the atomic bomb had on a child of Hiroshima and how she used traditional Japanese paper folding as therapy. Below is an assortment of titles on civil rights as well as ones that parents and caregivers can use to explore children’s creativity and its potential to heal and transform feelings confusion and loss.

Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum

Published by National Geographic and illustrated with vintage photos and maps, this  nonfiction book is useful for introducing children to the idea of the Beloved Community and the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, which Lewis describes in the introduction as “a ride meant to stir the local and indigenous people to gather their courage to stand up and speak out for equality in America.”

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh

Voted one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015, Funny Bones profiles the life and art of Jose Guadalupe Posada, creator of the skeleton cartoons used to celebrate Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.  

More-igami by Dori Kleber

Written by a native of Atlanta, More-igami is the lighthearted tale of an African American child who becomes fascinated by the art of paper folding and will not stop until he becomes a master of the art form.

The Origami Master by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer

Shima is an old man who lives alone on top of a hill with only his origami to keep him company.  One day, a warbler decides visits Shima and leaves him with beautiful gifts.  Instead of feeling gratitude, Shima decides to capture the bird to learn its secrets. In the end, the man and the bird use origami to create keys to freedom and friendship.  

The Remembering Day/El dia de los muertos by Pat Mora

“Long ago in what would come to be called Mexico, as Mama Alma and her granddaughter, Bella, recall happy times while walking in the garden they have tended together since Bella was a baby, Mama Alma asks that after she is gone her family remember her on one special day each year.” An excellent companion to the adult title Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive by Allison Gilbert

What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

“This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada

“This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult.”

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders by J. Patrick Lewis

When Thunder Comes is a collection of narrative poems profiling courageous civic and religious leaders, explorers, athletes and everyday heroes from the Asia, Latin America and the United States.

Why Do We Fight? By Niki Walker

Arranged in an conversational Q&A format, this book is a critical thinking guide aimed at helping teens develop informed opinions about world affairs.   An excellent companion to Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do With a Problem? and What Do You Do With an Idea?

Click here to read a School Library Journal feature article on this topic.