Have you ever heard of the term global citizenship? For some of you the answer will be no and that is okay, but it is important to understand because it is something children are taught in schools and helps them be more well rounded individuals. So what is it? The United Nations defines global citizenship (specifically in terms of education) as developing a “sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity.” It provides a platform to look into and recognize multiple levels of identity and collective identity that transcends individual cultural, religious, ethnic and other differences.
Developing global citizens through education is important. It allows for children to develop an understanding of what makes them and others different, and why that’s okay. It teaches children to be accepting of others and to acknowledge their own perspective and cultural differences. Accepting ones own identity can be hard, especially as a child who just wants to “fit in”. Global citizenship teaches students that fitting in can mean standing out. By embracing our individuality we can teach others about what makes us special and create a more accepting culture in child care, schools and our communities.
But how can we do this? How can we have hard conversations and discuss topics that may make us uncomfortable? There are a variety of ways but one of the most powerful can be the most simple; children’s literature. There are so many great resources that have been created that can send your child the message that it is okay to be different and that it is okay for others to be different too. Children’s literature is a passion of mine as I feel it is one of the most engaging and impactful ways to convey messages to children. It allows them to use their imagination and gives situational examples of various topics to make concepts more relatable.
I have done a lot of research on books with powerful messages that can help students be empathetic, kind and inclusive global citizens. Below you will find a variety of books that dive into topics like gender, race and aiding in the development of character traits that support inclusivity. I have also attached a link to read aloud of these books which are just as effective as having a physical copy.
- 1) Pink is for Boys
By Robb Pearlman
This book really allows students to be critical thinkers and challenge their own constructs of gender roles
2) This is How We Do It
By: Matt Lamothe
This book looks at the lives of 7 children from around the world and how their lives vary but are also still the same.
3) Let’s Talk About Race
By: Julius Lester
This book talks about race and encourages children to look past what people look like, because underneath our skin we are all the same.
4) When I Was Eight
By: Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
This book is written by an Indigenous woman who went to a residential school. It is written from her experience about what she went through .
5) The Day You Begin
By: Jacqueline Woodson
This book is written about a girl who looks different and feels like an outsider. It teaches students that being different is okay and coming together and being unique is better than being alone.
By: Matthew Cherry
Hair love is a book that dives into topics such as self esteem, identity, pride and culture.
7) A Family, Is a Family, Is a Family
By: Sara O’Leary
This book looks at diverse family units. It shows children that it doesn’t matter who your family is made up of. All that matters is love
8) Be You
By: Peter Reynolds
This book is brilliantly captures the idea of embracing individuality and being comfortable being your you-est you.
9) Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
By Carol McCloud
This book talks about spreading kindness and how it impacts others and our community.
If you feel this is too much for your child, that is okay too! Just know that if your child comes home with a new curiosity or take on the diverse cultures in Canada, books are a great tool to help gain perspective and help understand global issues.
OCT Student/Kindergarten Co-Teacher