8 Books Empowering 6 Year Old Kids

8 mins read
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Books are a wonderful and positive way to teach children all sorts of life lessons. Inspiring characters can bring concepts like self-belief, persistence and compassion to life, not to mention feminism, equality and friendship. They can also shape the person you become and your aspirations, morals and ambitions – and there has been a whole host of books published of late that will empower both girls – and boys. Topics such as feminism and equality are not just a female issue.

How can I tell if a book is appropriate for my child?

Luckily, some of these books are beautifully illustrated and some have a child-friendly story line too, so the dialogue is clear and not too stressful to read out loud. Some of them are picture books and can be enjoyed by younger children, but there are plenty of books across all ages.

How do I make my child feel empowered?

1. Parents are role models.

What children see and experience in their home is important. If they expect boys to ‘be tough’ and ‘don’t cry’, they need to see us being kind and caring, and comforting each other when we are sad. Usually your child will just mimic what’s around them, but if you shout a lot they may just shout too. So try to be calm and not ‘nag’ or provoke anger, or always be telling them off and saying “No”. Send them to their bedroom if you need a moment to yourself, or role play alternative scenarios where you could say yes.

2. Supportive relationships are healthy.

It’s also important to see that you support your partner, and they support you. Tell them when you need help and send them positive , supportive texts. Unfortunately there is gender bias still lingering, so even if you’re not aware, some of your behaviour may have an impact on your children’s views in this sphere.

3. Find ways to show your support for women.

There are some great ways to do this.If they’re old enough, you can talk about equality and how both genders should have the same opportunities. Support drag queens if you can, and encourage your child to buy books written by female authors, and see films directed by women.

4. Become active in politics.

We need to see more women in politics, and encourage the women in your life to pursue this too – whether they are your friends or women at your yoga class. Change in the world begins with you, not waiting for politics to change but actively creating awareness and encouraging people to vote more women into positions of power.

5. Teach them to listen and to empathise.

If you talk about issues with your children, you can set a great example to diffuse conflict by identifying and understanding the feelings of other people. An empathetic person tends to be aware of their feelings and how they impact on other people. Try to find compromises in everyday situations, instead of always ‘giving in’. And how about showing your children that just because someone cries, it doesn’t mean they’re weak. Conversely, show them how anger can build, and how they can avoid this by walking away and not being aggressive.

6. Show them that men’s emotions are valid too.

Side note, if a book is specifically for a male audience, eg. Wild Things, then they may feel uncomfortable reading it, if it appears to be ‘feminine’. Some books are written in a way that is unisex, such as Yoko’s story, THE EMPRESS.

When a man is feeling sadness, it can be a difficult emotion to acknowledge, if he does not see a value in it, or want to appear vulnerable. But it is important to show them that emotions are normal, and no one ever has to hide them. It is a process to gain insight, and to be happy with who we are – it is okay to feel the sadness and be glad for it’s passing. If boys can be open about their emotions when they’re feeling sad then they will not feel alone in their feelings, in the same way that if girls can be open about their emotions, they will not feel alone either.

7. Help them convey their feelings.

Boys and girls alike don’t realize that their facial expressions might be misread by others. If the child is sad, it can make others uncomfortable, so they slip their expression into a neutral one, but still carry a heavy feeling inside. Encourage your children to show how they are feeling with their voice, and tell you what they’re thinking. Find a healthy way to express their emotions and develop the ability to listen and to empathize.

8. Support them in their gender identity.

Boys need to be helped to feel they are as worthy as girls. Teach them not to put people in boxes, and try to challenge their notions of what is considered acceptable. If a young boy is messing about and being a football ‘fanatic’, he should be encouraged to act in other ways, just as a girl who is a ‘dance fanatic’ should be encouraged to do other things too. It’s more important to get them to do something they really enjoy, instead of saying “boys don’t do that”.

9. Encourage them to read.

Reading is very special, and helps shape our personalities. More than just words on a piece of paper, when you read you gain insights into other people, scenarios and situations, and you can learn to be empathetic.

10. Teach them the important principles of writing.

Create a story together in the kitchen, or ask them to write their own stories. Sign your name at the bottom to show that they are the author, and encourage them to promote their book. They will feel proud of themselves when they have created a story on their own, in the same way that they will feel proud of themselves when they draw a picture.

11. Give books as gifts.

When you have finished with a book, instead of throwing it out, let your child have it as a gift. And buy books as gifts too, telling them that you think they might like to read it. A book they find themselves encourages them to read, and encourages them to like reading.

Snowballs For Severance by Richie Frieman

This product was recommended by Richie Frieman from RichieFrieman

A law in Severance, Colorado contains wording that makes it illegal to throw snowballs. Can you imagine not being able to throw snowballs? Let alone in Colorado, where is snows five months out of the year? That was the case until 9 year old Dane Best decided to make a change. Needless to say, overturning an almost 100 year old snowball ban was no easy task. Where do you even begin? Who would listen to a nine year old? Despite all odds, Dane Best was able to make history. This book is the real life true story of what can happen when someone decides to stand up for what they believe in.

Ollie’s Backpack by Riya Aarini

This product was recommended by Riya Aarini from Riya Presents

In Ollie’s Backpack, Ollie learns to transform his cares into useful things! Ollie’s responses to woes, like his wilted sunflower and his broken toy, show young readers that letting go of worries is a rewarding experience! Empowering children by letting them know they have the ability to choose their responses is why I am recommending Ollie’s Backpack, Book One in the Carefree Ollie series.

Maybe by Kobi Yamada

This product was recommended by Erica Tatum-Sheade from Integrated Mental Health Associates

Maybe A Story About The Endless Potential in All of us by Kobi Yamada I love the how simple but powerful this story is. It starts what the simple question ‘why are you here?’ and explores the possibilities each of us holds inside of us, exploring meaning and purpose in simple language paired with beautiful pictures.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

This product was recommended by Erin Prather Stafford from Girls That Create

This wonderful story focuses on Grace and her desire to play Peter Pan in the school play. When classmates object to her trying out for the role (because Peter was not a girl, nor was he black), Grace’s Nana reminds the girl she can do anything she imagines. Perseverance and flying above limitations imposed by others are key themes.

This Is It by Daria Peoples-Riley

This product was recommended by Erin Prather Stafford from Girls That Create

This Is It is a celebration of individuality, self-expression, and dance. A young dancer, worried about an upcoming audition, gets help from her shadow. Together the two embark on a dance throughout the city, leading to the young girl becoming more confident in her talents.

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

This product was recommended by Erin Prather Stafford from Girls That Create

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family. There’s just one problem, her dress has no jingles. The story follows Jenna as she turns to both family and community to find enough jingles so her dress will sing at the powwow. It’s a beautiful multigenerational story and shows a girl’s determination to make those dearest to her proud.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

This product was recommended by Barbara Nevers from NeoLittle

This book is about a girl named Rosie Revere who is quiet during the day but is a great inventor at night and wants to be an engineer in the future. This book has different rhyming verses that are combined with colorful illustrations. This teaches young kids to pursue their dreams and be open to failures while doing the process.

Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel

This product was recommended by Veronique Ehamo from United Nations Association Emerging Leaders

As a principal slogan in many Black Lives Matter rallies, “hands up don’t shoot” has become a chant that symbolizes activism. Breanna McDaniel depicts her understanding of how “hands up” gesticulates advocacy, and how it reoccurs through a young Black girl’s daily life. This picture book is recommended for children ages 4 to 7.

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