“And this made me realize that as much as kids need books to be mirrors, kids also need book to be windows. Kids who always see themselves in books need to be able to see things from other viewpoints. How can we expect kids to get along with others in this world, to empathize and to share? If they never see outside themselves. Because if they did, don’t you think that the girl who stood next to me in 5th grade might have answered a little differently” said Grace Lin. When we read as children, they impact our lives more than others think. Two ways a book can affect us is giving a glimpse of something new that we have not experienced or books that reflect our own life. Here are a few the act like windows and mirrors to me: The Little Engine That Could, The Giving Tree, The Snowy Day, Through My Window, The Hello Goodbye Window, and The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Day with Chimps. Each of these has helped me through life and childhood. Reading books that have windows and mirrors in them help with a child’s development.
Windows offers a different point of view for a child to see. They start to develop a broad perspective of what the world looks like and the people in it. Through My Window by Tony Bradman and Eileen Brown talks about a little girl who has a cold and cannot go outside. Her mother promises her a surprise when she gets back home while her father stays with her at the house. As the day goes on, the little girl looks out the window for her mother but in the meantime, she sees her friends from the neighborhood. This book depicts mixed races and gender roles. For example, the father stays home, and the mother goes to work. In our society today, usually mothers stay home, and fathers go to work. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster tells a story of a child’s experiences at her grandparents’ house. It is told through the child’s point of view and it is written to sound like she is telling the story. She talks about a window on her grandparent’s house, which they call the hello goodbye window. The different characters also have different appearances from one another. The grandparents and parents could be from different races due to the difference of their skin tone, which expands on a child’s ideal of what a family is. This book can also show how everyone’s family is different. It also teaches lessons for children through the text. The family illustrates to children what a dependable and good role model is. Also, the importance of family is emphasized. Just reading these can teach children so many life lessons.
Mirrors are books that you can relate to. One’s that describes your life. Also, get a sense of belonging and value in the world. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats talks about a small boy who experiences the joys of a snowy day. The vividly expressed text points out his new awareness of the sight and texture of snow (the crunch, crunch of his feet making tracks), the sound (the plop of snow smacked off a tree with a stick), and the fun of playing with snow. Then his thoughts about the outdoor adventures later in warm bathtub and bed, while more snowflakes fall. Perfect for a snowy day’s preschool story hour. I remember growing up we use to have snow days all the time. Majority of the time I would be outside building a snowman, snowmobiling, sledding, or a snowball fight. Another book that reminds me of my childhood is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. This book talks about a train that breaks down and the toys it is carrying will not get over the mountain to the boys or girls by the morning. Every train engine, big and small, passes it by until the littlest engine agrees to help. “I think I can, I think I can,” says the Little Blue Engine as it starts up the mountain, a seemingly impossible task. Despite the trains worry if not making it he still put the effort to get up the hill. He did not give up. When I get things thrown at me in life, I do not give up. I try every way I can before thinking of stopping. These books can give children courage but also enjoy having fun.
Kids need books that have windows and mirrors in them because it can teach them to look at everyone equally but also widen their horizon when it comes to visualizing the world. Mirrors are books that give you a sense of belonging in the world. Windows offer a chance to explore different cultures or see something from a different point of view. Having these two in your book collection can help with development in childhood. Teach them valuable lessons.
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