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Top 10 Books to Help Children Understand the Events of 2020

Updated: Nov 6, 2020


When you're a kid, you tend to love books you can relate to. Whether the protagonist likes the same sport as you, has the same color hair, or has the same interest in dinosaurs, characters in books draw you in and take you on adventures—You're the superhero! As you grow up, you start to identify with more minute perspectives. Though you may still envision yourself as the hero, you may also see the advantages of taking things slow, being reflective, or learning to be comfortable being different than others.

The Top 10 Books to Help Children Understand the Events of 2020 consist of books ranging from POP! BOOM! BANG! to thoughtful and reflective. This selection contains books that address the times we are living in, as well as historical events, for it is important to remember where we came from, where we're at, where we want to go, and who we want to be. Whether you choose to read about a superhero-in-training or a zen pig, these books will provide the reader opportunities to study social responsibility, understand emotions and feelings, learn positive self-talk, practice personal empowerment, strengthen your empathy, and practice self-love.


Bear's Book of Emotions by Tyler Beckstrand.

From Lawley Publishing, this book educates children on identifying feelings. This book is a fantastic tool for both parents and teachers, in validating emotion and promoting the ability to understand and share the feelings of others; consequently, promoting healthy relationships. The author's purpose in promoting emotional intelligence is apparent throughout each page of this adorable book.


I Can Handle It! by Laurie Wright. Illustrated by Ana Santos.

Tough situations are all around us more than ever. Preparing our youth to handle tough situations is key to managing current and future anxiety. I Can Handle It! will soon become a self-talk mantra, supporting both children and adults when faced with worry, difficulty, and challenging times. This book supports the all-important role of parenting. Check out this book along with the resources.


Zen Pig—Feelings Are Clouds by Mark Brown. Illustrated by Anastasia Khmelevska.

Like clouds, our negative emotions pass. Zen Pig—Feelings Are Clouds has five adorable books that proceed it that inform in a gentle and direct way. This book teaches young kids about emotions; that though it's normal to feel mad, sad, and lost, those feelings are transitory, that we are meant to feel positive emotions like happiness.


Fiona Flamingo by Rachael Urrutia Chu. Illustrated by Kate Jeffery.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable about who you are? Through Fiona Flamingo's color-changing feathers, children gain a better understanding of their feeling and that sometimes we don't always understand the feelings and emotions we are experiencing. With a coloring book version, learn from Fiona how to manage feelings and accept being a different color from the rest of your flamingo flock.


First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. Illustrated by Judy Love.

Getting nervous before a new experience is normal. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school because she doesn't know anybody. Mr. Hartwell helps Sarah Jane get ready and head to school, where she is greeted whole-heartedly by Mrs. Burton. You will catch yourself giggling with the surprise ending, as you discover that everyone feels nervous about change. Check out YouTube for videos of this delightful book.


The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld.

This book has a special place in my heart. A dear friend gave me The Rabbit Listened to read to my three-and-a-half-year-old son after my husband died. We read it every night for over two years, and my son continues to read it when having a difficult day. The Rabbit Listened is a touching book about empathy and kindness. It will touch your heart and ease your pain. Children and adults that read this book will not only relate but will learn how others cope with change. Taking time to unselfishly listen to others will help bring comfort and healing to others.


The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles. Illustrated by George Ford.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Coles and the winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, George Ford, tells the true story of six-year-old Ruby Bridges. In 1960, this extraordinary young African-American girl shaped history when she entered a whites-only school in New Orleans. Ruby courageously walked through an angry crowd of protestors to enter school. This story beautifully describes Ruby's strength, loving family, and America's uproar of the 1960s.


What Should Danny Do? School Day by Ganit and Adir Levy. Illustrated by Mat Sadler.

How will Danny's school day end? Well, that depends on the choices you make. You will have a BLAST making all the choices for this Superhero-in-Training. You have the POWER to control the outcome of this book. Have fun trying to reach all eight endings to this action-packed adventure story.


Masked Ninja by Mary Nhin and Grow Grit Press. Illustrated by Jelena Stupar.

Coronavirus (COVID-19), social distancing, quarantine, masks, and protests. Life is kinda hard to understand right now! Masked Ninja explains what's going on in our current pandemic and informs us about how we can help prevent the spread of viruses, as well as racism. Find out what happens in this comedic book about pandemics, viruses, and kindness. Ninja Life Hacks, a new children's book series, was developed to help children learn important life skills. These comedic books are full of characters that both children and adults will enjoy.


The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.

Think about your name. Is it hard to pronounce? My last name gets messed up all the time! Well, Unhei just moved from Korea and is hoping that American kids will like her. Being a new kid at school is so hard. It's even harder when nobody can pronounce your name correctly. Instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, Unhei tells her class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are intrigued by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. The Name Jar is a tender story of discovering how special one's name is, the story behind names, and openness to learning about other cultures. Unhei discovers how special her name is and helps others pronounce it -Yoon-Hey.


-Shawna Della Cerra

Lawley Publishing Educational Consultant


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