Being PART OF A community helps us feel secure and celebrates who we are...
The word “community” conjures many visions: schools, towns, churches, neighborhoods, teams, and families, to name a few. We also think of those in our pack, our hive, our posse, our network.
Those interconnected souls can support, and yes, sometimes worry us, in many ways.
We think that communities are more important than ever in the lives of children, so we’ve curated a diverse collection of books and activities to get kids thinking and talking about them.
Below you’ll find books, activities, and resources that are appropriate for various ages around the concept of “Community Connections.”
What Makes Up A Community?
– Beth H, NEW BOOK JOY Guest Contributor
Readings & Resources
SEARCH BY GRADE LEVEL…
– Connie O & Mandy G, NEW BOOK JOY Founders
Bridging Books & Art
There is nothing better than creating images in your mind, while reading. It is almost like experiencing a movie, while getting immersed in a novel! Not only does it help you feel closer to the characters, but helps you become more excited about what is going to happen next. Talk about a great way to build your own suspense!
Art is also a wonderful connection with reading because it can help you get more attuned with the book’s topics or themes.
You have the opportunity to look at something visual and ponder about what the reading adventure will offer. You have the opportunity to make various connections between what you see in the piece of art and what you read in the book.
We’re excited to include a piece of art with each theme, in order for families to enjoy something visual along with their reading conversations and experiences!
Community by Juan Gonzalez
For the Community theme, our friend, Juan, painted a thought provoking piece:
“We are currently challenged to redo what community means to us. This raw opportunity for renewal leaves us with difficult personal decisions.
Who is important to me and what do I want my community to be? What principles will be guiding my planning or will I be led? Will I utilize social media to deepen my biases or will it broaden my acceptance? Will I focus on outrage or support growing voices for solutions? More importantly, will my choices build a stronger, accepting community or will it patch the past?
The realization that major cracks are in aspects of society place the awesome responsibility to positively shape it. It is up to us to be a participant and rise to this occasion.”
As an English teacher, I stumble across students who look at a piece of art and move on. They do not always pause and question. They only see what is on the surface, but do not dive into the visual experience.
When I have my students analyze a piece of art, I have them answer a series of questions, in order for the picture to be more than just random shapes and colors. The questions may focus on the visual aspect, as well as the story and/or tone. When teens take time to ponder and see the painting, everything comes alive!
It is easy to glance at a picture, but not take time to notice its beauty and meaning. Sure, it takes extra time to pause and answer questions about the picture, but questioning helps with awareness, curiosity, and wonderment.
Art Q & A
Parents can practice questioning art with their teens by looking at the “community” painting highlighted above and answering the questions included in Juan’s quote (also above). Discuss what is in the picture, while answering the questions.
Not only will this get everyone to talk about the picture, but it will also get everyone to start a discussion about community!
Food for Thought
Additional Articles from our Favorite Authors
Words Pack Power in Communities
– Jewell R, NEW BOOK JOY Guest Contributor
The Idea of Community
– Lisa B, NEW BOOK JOY Guest Contributor
What books help YOU & your family connect with your community?
Let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!