by Cheryl Jackson Friday February 11, 2011

Books are one of the first ways children begin to learn about the world outside their home, so what you choose to read matters. That was the message yesterday when we hosted our second TVOParents book club.  We focused our discussion on our theme this month, History and Geography. What does that mean for books? Well, we talked about children's books that help kids explore their place and their people, and those of other kids.

It's Black History Month, so that fit nicely, and Rosemary Sadler joined us on the panel. She's the president of the Ontario Black History Society.  She's also written a book called The Kids Book of Black Canadian History and is the mother of three kids.  And Lori Kirk, founder of Roots and Wings books joined us. She's written a book called Seven Hands, Seven Lands. She's also the mom of two bi-racial kids, so she knows what it's like trying to find books that reflect their world.

It was a great discussion, and we've got a few book names to pass along. My personal favourite to read to my kids when they were young was Children Just Like Me, published by Unicef. The authors travelled around the world taking photographs of children and their friends and family, their schools, their homes, their meals, their pets and play places. It's a beautiful and fascinating book, but the best part is that at the end of it your kids see that children are the same everywhere. They have sisters and brothers, parents, they go to school, they have favourite foods and clothes. I still have that book.

What are your favourite children's books about people and place? About history and geography? Add your suggestions to the list on our TVOParents Book Club page.  Let's share the knowledge.