Picture Book Teaches Kids Compassion
The Friendship Puzzle (about Autism) by Julie L. Coe. This is a great book to teach children how to relate to their classmates with special needs. In this picture book, MacKenzie Macabee meets Dylan, the new boy at school who seems a little different. When he has trouble fitting in, she puts the pieces of the puzzle together of why and learns about autism, but, even more importantly, she learns how to connect with him. Her friendship with Dylan helps to bring her classmates around and he becomes a sought-after soccer player.
This would be perfect for a child in elementary school. It’s especially great for anyone who has a spectrum disorder or special needs classmate. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we can teach our kids to reach out and become more tolerant and compassionate toward anyone who is “different?” In our classrooms today, special needs children are the new “diversity” challenge for those of us who are lucky to live in communities where mixed marriage parents, same-sex parents, or skin color doesn’t seem to be a divisive issue at the playground.
I wholeheartedly recommend that parents seek out this book at the library or book store to introduce this book to their kids. My mom friend who is a school psychologist and helped with my previous post on How To Teach Kids to be Tolerant of Their Special Needs Classroom described exactly what the book covered: everyone is good at some things and has other things they are working on. What are you good at? How about your classmate? What is he or she good at? What do you need to work on?
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.