I was recently invited to a baby shower and was presented with the daunting task of hunting down the perfect gift. Children's books are always my go to.
Many books from my childhood are now torn and tattered after several moves but the most important ones, like my hardcover set of Little House on the Prairie, Mary Poppins, and Winnie the Pooh have been carefully packaged and kept in safe care. They're books that took me on odysseys through seemingly endless woods and cobblestone streets of London, all the while teaching me skills that have made me a more thoughtful adult.
I think it is valuable to keep in mind your influence and valuable to define your role in a child's life. Not in a cultish conversion way, or the self centered way, but in the hip and cool progressive baby way. I want to be a strong feminine force, that promotes inclusion and equal opportunity. I wanted this baby to know that they could be whoever the heck they wanted to be. I want to introduce powerful women, of various shapes and colors, to children at a young age so that they can either see themselves, or see their female friends as more than capable in a world where many people would say otherwise. Heavy thoughts from the isle of your local Target.
When cautiously and meticulously picking out my baby shower book, I found that there are so many options for spreading the inclusion and equal opportunity gospel. Children's books of my generation put practices of politeness, adventure, and of course the ABC's into play while cautiously dipping it's toes in the pool of this new world. Now, I find that authors are taking advantage of their influence more than ever to teach kids that anybody can be anybody and that representation is vital.
Here are some of my favorite books that make perfect and thoughtful gifts to help guide our future Frida's and Hermione Granger's:
Written by Vashti Harrison, this book introduces children to radical, powerful leaders that are still often overlooked when talking about representation. This book contains the biographies of 40 women that would not take no for an answer throughout black history. I'm obsessed with the illustrations, as well.
This book will spark a rebellious spirit in any child, in the best of ways. Feminist Baby does her own thing, screw your gender roles. And she will throw up on you if you clap back.
This read follows curious Ada who's questions are endless. Her observations lead to questions and her questions to experiments and her experiments to a big mess. This book is definitely a win for women, especially women of color, in STEM.
This book gives typical fairy tales a run for their money. Instead needing a hero, these women are the heroes in their own story. An added plus is that these stories were collected from various locations around the world, exposing children to the cultures of China, Poland, Greece, Indonesia and more.
This is the book that I settled on gifting to my new-to-the-world niece. Malala Yousafzai is a fighter for education, showing the value that can be found in a free education for women within the US. This book ultimately teaches little people that their voices are powerful and cannot be silenced, a beautiful message illustrated through a tragic but triumphant, true tale of a child, a girl, who stood up to the Taliban.
I missed any of your favorites for little feminists, drop a comment below so I can add them to my reading list. Good luck on your adventures in baby showers, kid parties, and Christmases! Each book title included in this list is an Amazon link if you're interested in bringing these books home for a kid you know, or maybe even for yourself, because I know we're all kids at heart. Happy reading!