kids books that matter.

January 6, 2010

I just added a new tag line to my website, “Kids books that matter.”  I have been trying to find something short, simple and to the point for a while now. I had recently read an article about Guy Kawasaki, the author of  The Art of the Start, where he said a business owner should “come up with a simple mantra, preferably three words or less.” I really liked that idea, so I have been tossing around words for weeks now. Words like:Reading. Children. Foundations. Moral. Values. Compass. Bridges. Books. Fundamentals. Building. Minds. Literature. Jewish. Reaching. Teaching. Searching. Finding. Making. Difference.

Putting words together in every permutation:  Children Reading Books. Making Children Moral. Reaching Children’s Minds. Building Values Literature. Moral Compass Reading. Building Reading Foundations.


Simple. Keep it simple. “Think about what you do,” I kept telling myself. Finally, I had my “ah ha” moment.

Kids books that matter.

That’s what I spend my time with – books. I focus on books.  They should be for kids. They do have to matter. They do not have to be Jewish. This is near perfect. I am going for it. Simple.

However, just in case that is too simple, here is an overview of the kind of information you might find at kids books that matter. I blog about Jewish and secular children’s literature. I am always in search of the latest and best Jewish children’s literature published each year. In addition to those books, however, I search everywhere for secular books with Jewish values content.  I do this because the consensus among educators is that no matter what values we want to teach or at what age level, one of the best methods for teaching values in a real, dramatic and sustainable way is with stories.

William Kirkpatrick writes that while “explanations are important, they fail to touch children where it really matters – the level of the imagination.” 1 He claims, and rightfully, that stories imprint an image on our brains that connects us back to a values lesson that can ultimately guide us during a moral dilemma. Think about the names Anne Frank, David and Goliath or Sandy Koufax and you will understand the references Mr. Kirkpatrick is making.

Parents generally want to find appropriate stories and a way to connect their children to them. Their goal, although not often articulated, is to create an internal moral compass from which the child can retrieve information that will help that child deal with whatever life throws them in a Jewishly ethical way. The Jewish people have a tradition of stories, especially values stories, at their fingertips. At the same time, a wealth of children’s literature exists that may seem to have no connection whatsoever to Judaism or the Jewish values parents are hoping to convey to their children. The purpose of kids books that matter is to provide some insights into the full spectrum of these books. It is my hope that what you read here will help you build your child’s personal library, foster your ability to see Jewish content where you least expect it and enhance your Jewish life in whatever way you choose to experience it.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.


1 Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories. William Kilpatrick and Gregory and Suzanne M. Wolfe. Simon and Schuster: 1994.

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