Ask for what you really for the holidays – a better world for our children. Get the six types of books you need to raise tomorrow’s leaders.
What kind of world do we want our grandchildren to inherit?
In order to create a better future, each parent, each educator, each member of the community has an obligation to exemplify the strength we want our children to have.
As we look toward this glorious new future – we raise the people this future needs. As heady as all this sounds, it’s easier to define our values with some helpful books to start conversations about the way we’d like to be in the world.
The Ultimate Library of Luminaries
If you could only read a small handful of books together with your kids before they get too old to fit in your lap – which would you choose?
We search for books that foster empathy, inclusion, kindness, curiosity, and critical thinking. But also – they have to be fun to read. We get most of our books from the library, but sometimes, I want books that live with us – the ones we can reach for on a whim. I find classics worth holding on to.
Keep Raising Luminaries free and accessible for readers who can’t afford a paywall.
Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Check out the full affiliate disclosure along with my statement of accountability. If you’re into supporting libraries (please do!) more than consumerism, you can also support my work directly:
Raising Raucous Firebrands
Firebrands speak up when a system isn’t working and something needs to change. Firebrands boost voices that have been marginalized and erased, even when they’re afraid. They stand up when they see injustice, speak truth to power, and are willing to break rules that keep oppressed voices silent.
You might also like: Children’s Books About Civil Disobedience
Raising Courageous Rebels
Rebels dare to stand out and show others it’s okay to be different. Rebels crack the barriers that hold us back, and seek new ways to experiment and flourish.
You might also like: Reassuring Books For Kids Who Don’t Fit In
Raising Humble Visionaries
Visionaries create a vision of a better tomorrow, ideals to hold on to when things get rough. In creating a kinder, more inclusive future, we need artists who seek inclusion, equity, and sustainability. This is messy work, requiring vulnerability and courage – but they are prepared to fall down, make mistakes, and help us all learn to do better.
Raising Empathetic Engineers
Empathetic engineering celebrates human curiosity and ingenuity. We need engineers who think in wide, interdependent perspectives – humanity can’t thrive without a healthy ecosystem. As we learn more about the kyriarchy – how racism, sexism, wealth inequality, ableism, nationalism, climate change, and other forms of oppression are intertwined, we need brilliant minds to handle the messy complexity of being humans in the world.
Raising Attentive Conductors
A strong leader earns our loyalty by proving they will sacrifice everything to keep us safe. An effective organizer listens to the most marginalized voices, respects the strengths and boundaries of each person, and finds ways for us all help each other. Dedicated teachers, patient elders, caring siblings, loving parents – a leader is someone who takes action and becomes the change they want to see in the world.
A leader is not a demanding authority speaking down from up high – we must all be leaders. We must act humbly, remembering that we’re not above any other – but as if our actions hold great significance. Because both of these things are true.
Raising Cooperative Pillars of the Community
To quote our long-time incendiary, Tricia L., who says it better than I ever could:
“I encourage my kids with their pile of privileges to practice, not just being leaders, but being the first follower. It takes bravery to be the one to step out alone and forge the way. That leader holds the vision which lights their path. And the first follower needs bravery, too, to come along an untrampled path without a guiding vision, on faith that the vision of the leader is enough. I ask my Littles to look for marginalized voices, leaders out there alone, and to follow them openly and proudly, so others can be encouraged to come along, too.“
Oh my gosh. Gorgeous.
The largest source of strength within a community doesn’t come from the firebrands, rebels, and leaders – but from the people who all work together with faith in each other. Our ability to lift each other up – to step out of the spotlight so all voices can be heard – makes us stronger and keeps us flexible.
- Peaceful Fights For Equal Rights
- Big Bob, Little Bob
- Lights, Camera, Carmen
- Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
- We Are Brothers
- *Zombelina Dances The Nutcracker
- Sweet Briar Goes To Camp
- What’s My Superpower
- Superluminous (disclosure: Annick Press sent me a free review copy of this one)
You might also like: Breaking Walls & Building Bridges – Kids Books About Collective Action
Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Raise Luminaries
Join our community – get exclusive tips and articles on raising the next generation of kind & brilliant leaders.
If you want reminders when I update these resources and publish new podcasts, join the email list.