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Children's Books--Content Area Themes and Topics

Giving and Generosity

Thank You, Omu!

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma." This book was inspired by the strong female role models in author/illustrator Oge Mora's life.

A Gift from Abuela

In her first book for children, Cecilia Ruiz illuminates how things can change -- and the importance of holding on to our dearest relationships when they do. The first time Abuela holds Nina, her heart overflows with tenderness. And as Nina grows up, she and Abuela spend plenty of time together. Abuela can't help thinking how much she'd like to give Nina a very special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week -- a few pesos here, a few pesos there. When the world turns upside down, Abuela's dream of a surprise for Nina seems impossible. Luckily, time spent together -- and the love Abuela and Nina have for each other -- could turn out to be the very best gift of all.

The One-Day House

Wilson dreams of all the ways he can help improve his friend Gigi's house so that she'll be warm, comfortable, and happy. One day, friends and neighbors from all over come to help make Wilson's plans come true. Everyone volunteers to pitch in to make Gigi's house safe, clean, and pretty. Inspired by a friend's volunteerism, author Julia Durango tells a story of community and togetherness, showing that by helping others we help ourselves. Further information about Labor of Love, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity is included at the end of the book.

Alfie

Nia loves Alfie, her pet turtle. But he's not very soft, he doesn't do tricks, and he's pretty quiet. Sometimes she forgets he's even there! That is until the night before Nia's seventh birthday, when Alfie disappears! Then, in an innovative switch in point of view, we hear Alfie's side of the story. He didn't leave Nia--he's actually searching for the perfect birthday present for his dear friend. Can he find a gift and make it back in time for the big birthday party?

The Gift Inside the Box

Adam Grant, the bestselling author of Give and Take, teams with his wife, Allison, to share the lighthearted tale of a gift in search of a giver--a classic in the making and the perfect conversation starter about thoughtfulness. This delightful book is designed to start conversations with kids about generosity. The book is meant to be read interactively, with adults posing questions so kids can guess what's happening (and why). Give the gift of this clever, earnest book about generosity--a new and nourishing fable for every child's library (and one that includes a delightfully innovative cover approach that requires the reader to unfasten the Velcroed cover for a fun unboxing effect!). It's a gift that keeps on giving.

Papa Gave Me a Stick

When Antonio first hears the members of the Mariachi band play, he wants nothing more than a guitar of his own. But guitars cost money, explains his father, who hands Antonio a stick instead. Confused and upset, Antonio resentfully accepts his father's gift. He heads off, unknowingly starting a chain of exchanges that may, miraculously, earn him what he wants most. Filled with plenty of Spanish vocabulary for young readers, Papa Gave Me a Stick is a vibrant story about the virtues and rewards of kindness.

A Mango in the Hand

Francisco is finally old enough to journey to the mango grove all by himself to gather the mangoes for a special dinner. But bees swarm the fruit, and Francisco has trouble picking them from the tree. He returns to his father several times, and each time his father shares a different proverb to inspire Francisco to continue trying. "Querer es poder. Where there's a will, there's a way!" Finally, Francisco is able to gather some mangoes, and on his way home he stops to visit his uncle, grandmother, and aunt. Francisco shares his mangoes with them, and by the time he gets home he no longer has any! "Es mejor dar que recibir. Sometimes it's better to give than to receive."  Luckily for Francisco, his generosity does not go unnoticed.

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