Books are a wonderful way to continue our town-wide conversation about caring, respect, and accountability. Below is a list of books that can help us all think in new and exciting ways about how we can individually and collectively make positive differences in our community and at home. You’ll find Inspirational Reads for Adults and Teens, Picks for Children, and Parenting Advice. All of the books are available for checkout at Darien Library.
Click here for a list of career resource presented at the March 11th Career Management Seminar with John Bassler, retired General Manager of Korn/Ferry International.
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
In this World War II-era novel, Liesl Meminger has already witnessed the death of her baby brother and been separated from her parents by the time she is nine years old. She goes to live with foster parents in a working-class Munich suburb, where she finds excitement in books that she steals over the years. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and begins to share the stories with others that she befriends along the way. In doing so, she manages to find glimmers of hope in even the direst of circumstances. It’s an extraordinary tale of the power of compassion, friendship, and courage that easily transcends the pages on which it is written.
Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving
By Stephen Post, Ph.D., & Jill Neimark
Post and Neimark present the scientifically-proven effects of living a generous life, including delayed mortality, reduced depression, and even increased good fortune. In addition, each chapter provides guidelines on how to live a more generous life, such as volunteering, being loyal, offering forgiveness, and celebrating your beliefs. Lastly, read about inspirational stories by people whose lives have been transformed by the simple act of giving.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson
In this inspirational, true story, Mortenson attempts to reach the K2 summit to honor the death of his late sister. He soon becomes gravely ill and lost, and he stumbles upon a poverty-stricken Pakistan village, which nurses him to back to health. To show his immense gratitude, Mortenson sets out on a one-man mission to build the town’s first school and provide a means of education for young girls in Pakistan.
Freedom Writers Diary
by Erin Gruelle
Gruelle, a first-time high school teacher who is put in charge of teaching 150 “unteachable, at risk” teens, is dismayed when she finds that her students do not have any knowledge of the Holocaust. In a life-changing exercise teaching tolerance, Gruelle and her students use books like Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Slata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo to recognize the similarities in all of their lives, and then record their perceptions in diaries.
To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A white woman accuses a black man of rape. Though he is obviously innocent, the outcome of his trial is such a foregone conclusion that no lawyer will step forward to defend him--except the town's most distinguished citizen. His compassionate defense costs him many friendships but earns him the respect and admiration of his two motherless children.
Pay It Forward
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Twelve-year-old Trevor McKinney sets out to change the world for the better when he accepts a challenging school assignment from his teacher in an attempt to earn extra credit. Trevor does a good deed for three different people, who want to return the favor. Instead, Trevor asks them each to find three other people for whom they can do a good deed – and begin a human chain of kindness that keeps going and going. The idea is simple, but powerful. Will it work?
It’s How You Play the Game
by Brian Kilmeade
Journalist Brian Kilmeade asks athletes, CEOs, actors, politicians, and historical figures to talk about the defining sports moments in their lives. They explain how the hard work, discipline, structure, and sportsmanship they learned through sports helped them to succeed in life.
by Mary Hoffman
Although schoolmates tell Grace that she can't be Peter Pan in the upcoming play because she is a girl and black, her mother and grandmother lovingly reaffirm all possibilities. Thus convinced, Grace wins the part, acting out a magical Peter Pan to universal acclaim. Ages 4-8.
Be Good to Eddie Lee
by Virginia Fleming
A boy with Down's syndrome eventually wins the respect of two reluctant children by leading them to special places in the woods near their homes. The gentle, carefully wrought tale both directly and allegorically conveys appreciation of differences. Ages 4-8.
Coat of Many Colors
by Dolly Parton
Winter is coming to Tennessee and there's no money to buy a new coat, so a little girl's mama sews one for her out of rags. The little girl wears it to school proudly, and when the other children laugh, she gives them a quick lesson about what it means to be rich. Judith Sutton's beautiful paintings bring one of Dolly Parton's best-loved songs to life. Ages 4-8.
Muskrat Will Be Swimming
by Cheryl Savageau
A young girl learns from a Seneca creation story told to her by her grandfather -- a lesson of knowing who you are and staying strong in the face of hurtful criticism. This book is a treasure for all who have dealt with the fear of being different. Ages 4-8.
by Rukhsana Khan
This collection of short stories, poems, and prose examines the world through the eyes of Muslim children. Written especially for North American children, both Muslim and non-Muslim, each story represents a tenet of Islam in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. Non-fiction sidebars help explain and amplify the Islamic references. Some stories are humorous, others are touching, but all are compelling stories of children learning and growing within their culture. Ages 9-12.
Oliver Button Is a Sissy
by Tomie dePaola
Oliver Button would rather read, dance, and draw pictures than play football like the other boys. His classmates' taunts don't stop him from doing what he likes best, and his practice and persistence pay off in the end -- when Oliver Button is a star. Ages 4-8.
The Other Side
by Jacqueline Woodson
Clover, the young African American narrator, lives beside a fence that segregates her town. Her mother instructs her never to climb over to the other side because it isn't safe. But one summer morning, Clover notices a girl on the other side. Both children are curious, and as the summer stretches on, Clover and Annie work up the nerve to introduce themselves. Ages 4-8.
The Star Fisher
by Laurence Yep
It is 1927, and Joan Lee and her family have just moved to West Virginia to open a laundry and start new lives. But the Lees are the first Chinese Americans that Clarksburg has ever seen, and not everyone in town is ready to welcome them. Young adult.
by Peter Golenbock
This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a major-league baseball team and how, on a fateful day in Cincinnati, PeeWee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. Ages 4-8.
Who Belongs Here?
by Margy Burns Knight
Nary, a Cambodian refugee in the United States, learns a new language and delights in the bountiful food supply but encounters confusing prejudices at school. Ages 9-12.
by Charlotte Zolotow
More than anything, William wants a doll. "Don't be a creep," says his brother. "Sissy, sissy," chants the boy next door. Then one day, someone really understands William's wish and makes it easy for others to understand, too. Pre-K.
For additional book recommendations, visit the Jane Addams Peace Association website. The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award is given to books that promote peace and tolerance.
10 Conversations You Need to Have With Your Children
by Shmuley Boteach
Boteach discusses the importance of parents and children communicating with each other through conversations that help to encourage an environment for respect, accountability, inspiration and change.
The Trouble With Perfect
by Elizabeth Guthrie and Kathy Matthews
This book examines that ways that competitive parenting fosters negative behavior in youngsters, including depression, lack of motivation, entitlement, self-consciousness, and anxiety. Guthrie and Matthews present ways in which parents can avoid pressuring their children and teens to overachieve while still raising a happy and successful family.
Parenting Teens with Love & Logic
by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Cline and Fay provide practical advice and wisdom for parents in guiding their teenagers to lead autonomous lives. The book tackles broader parenting issues, such as entitlement and lack of respect, as well as more specific scenarios regarding appearance, finances, partying, driving, grades, and use of the Internet.
Queen Bee Moms & King Pin Dads
by Rosalind Wiseman
It’s no secret that children emulate the behaviors of their parents. Wiseman’s book explores how fierce social competition among parents can affect a child's life and offers helpful advice on how to become a wiser, more relaxed parent that will set great examples for your children.
Just Let The Kids Play
by Bob Bigelow, Tom Moroney, and Linda Hall
This book provides practical guidance for parents and coaches on how to make organized youth sports a positive experience for your children. Learn to create an non-pressurized environment that encourages teamwork and sportsmanship from the parents, coaches, and players.