One amazing benefit of reading aloud to your your child/students is the opportunity to share other cultures and perspectives with them. And Norma Simon’s book All Kinds of Children is a terrific resource to help young children understand that people around the world (and in our own communities) have differences… but also similarities that tie us together.
All Kinds of Children has straightforward and engaging text that explains that all children have similar needs – such as eating and sleeping – and how those needs are fulfilled in many ways from family to family or from country to country. There are also phrases such as “all children” and “just like you” that helps young readers grasp that despite those cultural and regional differences, children everywhere have many similarities. The illustrations are colorful and clear, featuring children and people of many nationalities and races.
My daughters and I have read this book over and over again. We have fun comparing foods, clothes, activities and more to what we see in the book and our own lives. This has initiated conversations surrounding diversity and respect for differences while being able to uphold our family’s faith values (although the book itself is not faith-based). With a background in education, I also appreciated that the section on families included step-parents and foster parents because many children have these adult family members.
If you have other recommended books to help young children gain understanding and respect of other people, please share in the comments. 🙂
Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade
- As you read through All Kinds of Children, ask your child to point at the foods, houses, beds, means of transportation that your family uses. Which ones in the illustrations would your child be interested in trying?
- Have your child fill in an “All About Me” printable using this free one or creating your own. For children who cannot independently write, ask them the questions and then fill in the paper. Allow your child to color or draw a picture when you’re done.
- Prior to reading the book aloud, brainstorm with your students what types of things they think children all over the world do every day. Write the ideas on an easel pad or the whiteboard.
- After reading the book together, review the ideas your class had about what “all kinds of children” do around the world. Which ones were seen in the book? Were there any that your class thought of that were not included?
- Make copies of a printable “All About Me” – such as this free one or this one for purchase for $1 on Teachers Pay Teachers – and then display on a bulletin board or around the room. Or simply have students write about themselves in their daily notebooks and draw an accompanying picture.