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Big Ideas for Little Minds: Books to Share


Hannah Bollig from Submittable’s Technical Support team shares her thoughts on reading to children, plus a few special book recommendations. 

As Jean Briggs notes from her work on child-rearing within the Inuit community, “Oral storytelling is what’s known as a human universal. For tens of thousands of years, it has been a key way that parents teach children about values and how to behave.” Now that oral storytelling is less common and more screens have entered our daily lives, as a parent, I’ve turned towards reading out loud with my children in hopes to pass on valuable information and, of course, spend quality time with them.

Not only do we introduce morals through reading, but we also have the opportunity to open up a whole new world of ideas to young minds and introduce them to a variety of cultures. Below are three books which have been my particular favorites as of late, which I hope you enjoy with your families as well.

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Noodlephant, written by Jacob Kramer, and illustrated by K-Fai Steele, is an amazingly approachable introduction to social justice for children, focused on what an individual or group of friends can accomplish. The book addresses an important subject with incredible imagination and fun through the creation of the “phantastic noodler” and wonderful rhymes around the kangaroos being “kang-rude” for trying to make rules about other people’s food. Even though it’s silly and fun, Noodlephant is a “phantastic” approach to a bigger topic.

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Crow in the Waterhole, created by Ambelin Kwaymullina, features jewel-toned illustrations based on indigenous paintings that I truly admire. The book itself is an approach to traditional indigenous Australian storytelling and offers a look into another culture. The crow leaves her own waterhole after seeing another crow (her reflection) that she wishes to be like, because she finds this crow to be more kind and courageous than herself. Through helping others and meeting new animals on her journey, Crow realizes what she is capable of.

book cover

Love You Forever, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw, is a classic read for my family. What I really get from this book is that in every stage of your child’s life there might be some challenges, but you should always appreciate them at the end of the day and lend that extra tenderness (much like the mother in this book). What I hope this book illustrates to children is that appreciation is full circle—one day your child will realize all the ways you’ve been there as well.

I hope you find these suggestions to be fun and uplifting, while still offering your child something to “noodle” on later. Even if you only read to your child 10 minutes a day, over the course of a year that results in almost 61 hours of reading! Make it 15 minutes a day, and you’ll reach over 91 hours a year—outstanding! And not only is that time spent reading—it’s time spent together.

If you’re reading to children, are you also blogging about your children? Here’s one author on why he decided to stop his parenting blog

headshot, Hannah Bollig
Hannah Bollig

Hannah Bollig is a mom of two who works as a Technical Support Specialist for Submittable. She is a lover of bread-baking, gardening, art, and adding far too much to her plate at one time.