Is there a better way to nurture empathy and compassion than through books? That’s the question we address in this episode with special guest, Courtney Westlake.
Courtney’s daughter, Brenna, was born with a skin condition that makes her appear “different” to many people.
On today’s show, Courtney shares not just her family’s experience, but also how we can teach our kids kindness and understanding when it comes to differences.
What you’ll hear:
- how to help kids grow in empathy
- how books help us walk in another person’s shoes
- our favorite books for teaching about differences and disabilities
We’ve got a list of RAR-recommended books that feature differently-abled characters below, and you can also find Courtney’s excellent book recommendations in her guide, Celebrating Our Stories.
Want the transcript?
Download the transcript from this episode
of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast
Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:
|1:20||Good questions to ask our kids about books|
|4:26||Creative narration ideas|
|6:45||Meet Courtney Westlake|
|9:12||‘Stories – the way we make sense of life’|
|12:26||‘A Different Kind of Beautiful’|
|15:09||‘Celebrating Our Stories’|
|17:47||Books that feature differently abled kids|
|21:37||Middle-grade and chapter books|
|24:16||Picture book biographies|
|26:33||Differences, quirks and uniqueness|
|32:57||Let the kids speak|
Links from this episode:
- Beautiful Feet Books Around the World with Picture Books
- Simply Charlotte Mason narration ideas
- Courtney’s site
- Celebrating Our Stories: Teaching children about differences and kindness through books
Quotes to remember:
“Recent research shows that kids who read a lot of stories (or who are read to a lot as children) end up growing up and being more kind, empathetic adults. And in fact adults who continue to read fiction tend to be more kind, empathetic humans than those who don’t.” – Sarah Mackenzie
“There is no normal, there’s no perfect. There is no ‘ideal.’ My daughter is certainly not the different ones simply because her appearance is noticeably unusual. What an incredible world it might be if we could show our children how to recognize that others are truly people first despite any differences.” – Courtney Westlake
“Stories, the way we make sense of life …” – Katherine Paterson
Books mentioned in this episode:
RAR favorites featuring differently abled characters:
Get the printable list:
BOOKS FEATURING DIFFERENTLY ABLED CHARACTERS
You’ll also enjoy:
- Creating a Book Club Culture at Home
- Kate DiCamillo on Reading Aloud for Connection
- Take Your Kids Around the World Through Picture Books