My Tiny Humans: Our bookshelf, and raising kind-hearted children

Books are playing an important role in helping the Tiny Humans learn about values and the importance of kindness, explains Natalie Moutafis. She shares some of the books making a difference in her home.

I’ve always looked to books to help convey our family values. We read every night before bed, and often many other times through the day.

While books about trucks and animals are still important to help develop literacy and imagination, by diversifying our bookshelf, we are ensuring that there is always an opportunity to encourage conversation around things such as what we can do to be kind in the world, and what we can do to help make change.

A recent purchase in the Tiny Humans household was Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer.  It’s perfectly suited to our 3.5-year-old, and even the one-year-old has been found sitting on her own looking at the colourful illustrations. It’s a lovely book with simple messages on things we can do that are considered kind, with inclusive illustrations for all.

Sophie’s latest book Change Starts with Us will also be purchased shortly as it’s about the small changes we can make to help save our planet. I’m keen to share some ideas with the toddler on this, and especially considering recent world events, the sentiment is timely.

Another addition was Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  Initially, I thought it was better suited to slightly older kids, but after reading it a few times the toddler regularly talks about filling and emptying buckets, and how our actions do this.  It’s all about teaching children that other people’s happiness should matter to them, and how it affects your family, friends and wider community.

Next on the list to purchase is Our Home Our Heartbeat by Adam ‘Senator’ Briggs. I’ve read some wonderful reviews about this book and am looking forward to building on what I’ve discovered our early learning centre has already implemented around Indigenous people and culture.

This also made me realise that we didn’t have many books either written by, or about, Indigenous Australians, so I’m exploring the book list of Indigenous Australian children’s books that Readings have curated and now have quite a few more on my list to buy.

These are just a few of the current books that I’m using to consciously raise socially aware children. The best way to do this is ‘walk-the-walk’ and model these values at home.  As the grown-ups, we need to ensure we are displaying inclusive attitudes and that no one person is better than the other.

By not just reading these books, but discussing them – talking about the illustrations and what they might mean (hello comprehension!) – it helps us understand what the Tiny Humans are thinking and allows us valuable insight into how we can talk about those important family values in age-appropriate ways. This is how we (I hope!) raise kind-hearted children.

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About Natalie Moutafis

Natalie Moutafis is the author of our Tiny Humans blog, providing her engaging and insightful take on life with two young children. Natalie is also a project manager at ISV.