Books Help Us to Slow Down

Parent and two children reading books in a blanket fort. Text over image reads "Take some time to slow down, connect, and read a book with a child in your life" #InternationalChildrensBookDay #BooksHelpUsToSlowDown

Today is International Children’s Book Day, and this year’s theme is “Books help us to slow down”. We encourage you to take some time today (or every day!) to slow down, connect, and read a book with a child in your life. Talk and reflect on the story and the pictures. Ask questions like:

How do you and your child relate to the book?

What does the book mean to you?


Choose a beloved children’s book from your childhood or try one of the following:

"A is for Activist" by Innosanta Nagara

This innovative board book introduces the letters of the alphabet with words for the future activist in your life. “A is for Activist. Advocate. Abolitionist. Ally.” The author/illustrator has also hidden a cat on each page for your child to find.

Appropriate for ages 0-3


"Swimmy" by Leo Lionni

Swimmy is a young fish who along with his school of fish friends lives in an ocean full of wonders but also dangers. Swimmy works together with his friends to overcome their troubles in this classic Caldecott Honor Book.

Appropriate for ages 3-5


"Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Pena

Matt de la Pena’s multi-award winning book quietly demonstrates how it is possible to find beauty and worth in the most ordinary of situations and the value of human relationships.

Appropriate for ages 3-10


"Red: A Crayon’s Story" by Michael Hall

Red is a crayon who has been labeled Red by others. Inside, Red knows he is Blue. Through daily life struggles, Red comes to terms with his identity as Blue and the rest of the crayons in his life also come to know him as Blue.

Star of the North Picture Book First Place Winner

Appropriate for ages 3-10


"Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music" by Margarita Engle

This book, based on the childhood of a Chinese-African-Cuban girl, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, tells the story of a girl who was told that she could not pursue her dream of being a drummer because she was a girl. Millo held onto her dreams and ultimately became a world famous musician.

Pura Belpee Award Winner

Appropriate for ages 3-10


"Same, Same but Different" by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Elliot and Kailash are pen pals in this Ezra jack Keats book award winner. Through the exchange of letters and pictures they learn that their lives in America and India, while they might initially look different are really quite similar.

Appropriate for ages 3-8


"Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey" by Margriet Ruurs Artwork by Nizar Ali Badr

Rama tells the story (in both English and Arabic) of her family’s life in Syria, the war, and her experiences as a refugee. The illustrations are beautiful pictures of stone artwork depicting the story.

Appropriate for ages 5-adult


"Wishtree" by Katherine Applegate

When a new family moves into the neighborhood, racist attitudes emerge.  Told from the perspective of an old oak tree, the story illustrates how kindness and empathy overcome hatred.

Appropriate for 8+


"Piecing Me Together" by Renee Watson

A high school student dreams of a better life, demonstrating bravery and strength as she contends with issues of race, class and gender. This Newbery Honor Book is an engaging and powerful read.

Appropriate for Young Adults/Adults


For more suggestions of books with social justice themes visit: