As March comes to a close, my last read aloud to recommend for Read Aloud month is an Informational story–The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams, by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown.
I stumbled upon this book during our most recent trip to the library, and although I had heard of Jane Addams, I can’t say that I know a whole lot about her, so I decided to pick it up. As usual, I read the book to myself before I shared it with the kids (just in case it ends up a dud), and after finishing, I knew I had to read it to my babies.
After the election, I wrote a post about trying to raising kind children (read post here), and I was reminded of that after reading this book. Jane Addams started her work with the less fortunate because she knew she had the means to do so, something she realized as early as age 6. So I figured this would be a great read aloud to start the conversation with my children about how they can help make the world a better place.
As I read the book, I had their undivided attention the whole time, which I was honestly surprised about, and then after the last sentence, “With all that she did, both inside and outside the house that Jane built, her childhood wish to help fix the world came true”, I asked them what they would do to help fix the world. Silence. A long silence. So I followed up: “You know you guys are more fortunate than some other people, so what would you do to help those people?”
5 year old response: “If someone didn’t have a penny, or a nickel, or a dime, or a quarter, or a dollar (yeah he went through them all), then I could give them some of my money.”
Ok, I’ll take that.
8 year old response: “You know those things for people who don’t have enough food? I could send them $10 so then they can eat.”
Ok…so clearly our next conversation needs to be about ways to help others that isn’t monetary, but tonight was a start.
So, if you need to have that starter conversation about helping others with your own children, or if you’ve already done that and need more examples, or if you just need a good informational book to share with your children….this may be the one for you.