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by Michael Strickland

With the ever increasing older population, it is important for children to learn to appreciate contributions to our society by older people, writes Karen Debord in Selecting Children's Books with Positive Intergenerational Messages.

Storybooks can be one vehicle to breaking stereotypes about aging. Using books to portray ideas is an excellent exercise in literacy but also helps children construct their knowledge of how they fit into the larger world. The difficulty for teachers is in keeping up with current titles that portray accurate and positive images of today's society

Nana's Gift is a heartwarming, touching, and beautifully written picture book by Agy Wilson. Darlee Sims is left at Nana's for the weekend and at first is not happy with it. But having fun with Nana, Pasha and Honey, Darlee learns about her family, and best of all herself. With wonderful illustrations that have a hand-drawn look, Nana's Gift offers a timeless message about intergenerational family relationships.

In her article, Debord suggests we pay attention to the following considerations when selecting good books to use with children:
realistic and believable portrayal of characters
    a story that chronologically unfolds
    a resolution of tension or conflict
    simple plot to allow the child to become involved in the action, discovering the problem and understanding the resolution
    a theme that relates to children's understanding, needs and interests.
    style that involves rhythm, repetition and a careful choice of words
    portrayal of a diversity of culture, community and lacks stereotypes
    characters are engaged in a variety of activities
Bridge the generation gap with titles like this one that portray positive relationships between the old and young -- sure to spark discussion.

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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