By Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
I have been thinking more intently on what it means to be responsible to others. What do we, citizens of the world, have the right to do, or be? Over the past several months we watched people being incarcerated for minor infractions or their cities and lands taken away from them. I wonder who has this type of right to act in these ways to others. Who is responsible for ensuring that these missteps don’t occur in places where people think differently than within our own communities? What would we do, or what should we do if our rights are stepped upon? Who is responsible for taking care of others?
Students in classrooms know their rights and question them within their families and school settings. I hope that they will also push themselves to be responsible to and with each other. To move beyond being kind to each other and to think more broadly about the world. In several of the previous months the themes of the Dozen has encouraged us to think more deeply about the current political world. This month continues with this focus by examining books where the characters look at being responsible to families, to communities, to our environment and to our world.
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates & Juniper Bates (il.), 97815344065822, Simon & Schuster, 2018.
The big red umbrella likes to take care of others & demonstrates inclusion of other through the young child who takes care of the people and animals in in her world.
Walk with Me by Jairo Buitrago, Rafael Yockteng (il.) & Elisa Amado (trans.), 9780399257742, Groundwood, 2008.
A young child navigates the world around her as she walks home from school, enters a grocery store where they will no longer take the family’s credit, & uses her imagination to feel safe & take care of her family.
Marikit and the Ocean of Stars by Caris Avendaño Cruz, 9780374389093, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022.
Inspired by Filipino folklore, this middle-grade text depicts the main character, Marikit, who treks through an enchanted world to find the key to save her family.
Room on our Rock by Kate Temple & Jol Temple & Terri Rose Baynton (il.), 9781760664299, Kane Miller, 2019.
Read this story from front to back to explore the rights we have where we can live, & then from back to front to explore the responsibility we have for taking care of others.
Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal, 9781536208450, Candlewick, 2021.
Zonia meets with her rain forest friends who are plants & animals of all species and discovers the need to be responsible to all by answering the call to protect the rain forest.
Last Stop on Market Street by Mark De La Peña & Christian Robinson (il.), 9780399257742, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008.
C.J. listens to his grandmother who opens his eyes to seeing the assets of his community & that taking care of others brings about joy in others.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom & Michaela Goade (il.), 9781250203557, Roaring book Press, 2020.
Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal, this book highlights significance of protecting our waters as an integral belief of many Indigenous communities.
What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack & April Harrison (il.), 9780375836152, Schwartz & Wade, 2019.
A small rural community bands together to create “love boxes to needy folk” & even though James Otis struggles with this because he & his mama are poor, he selects the perfect item to put in a box.
Once Upon Another Time by Charles Ghigna, Matt Forrest Esenwine & Andrés F. Landazábal (il.), 9781506460543, Beaming Books, 2021.
Through lyrical verse the present day is contrasted with the pristine nature it once was, calling on everyone to responsibility uphold natural habitats.
Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham, 9781250798350, Roaring Book, 2021.
During the Covid-19 pandemic the world comes together to protect communities & each other.
The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael López (il.), 9780399545535, Nancy Paulsen, 2022.
A brother & sister are mindful of the advice from their grandmother of being responsible to their own histories, their own family & eventually to a new community where they help others learn to fly.
WOW Dozen features a list of 12 global books for children and adolescents around a theme, topic, issue or personal favorites. Each Dozen consists of ten newly-published titles with two older “must have” books. Please share or recommend additional books that fit the theme in the comments section or on social media using #WOWDozen. Use the printer icon in the upper left corner of this post to print or save this list as a PDF.