CHILDREN’S BOOKS THAT INCORPORATE PRINCIPLES OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Community, Restoration, Dignity, Forgiveness, Problem-solving, Empathy, Belonging
Nagara, I. (2015). Counting on community. NY, NY: Seven Stories Press.
This board book features people belonging in community. Each page is filled with collaborative practices such as planting, making music, and protesting. The book concludes by emphasizing the idea of belonging “I can count on you, and you can count on me!” K-2nd grade
Joosse, B. (2002). Stars in the darkness. San Fransisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
A young boy learns his older brother is part of a gang. His brother tells him that in the gives him a sense of belonging. The family grows increasingly worried about his safety. In a pivotal scene in the book, the boy says, “Richard’s a banger, but he’s still good inside….So maybe the other bangers are like that, too.” He and his mom organize Peace walks to tell the bangers to stop fighting and shooting each other. 1-5th
McKissack, P. (2000). The honest to goodness truth. NY, NY: Simon and Schuster Press.
After lying to her mama about feeding the chickens, Libby vows to always tell the truth. Her truth-telling, though, goes too far and hurts her friends’ feelings. Libby is confused: if she is supposed to tell the truth, why is everyone mad at her. Libby has an empathetic awakening. She apologizes to the people whose feelings she hurt. As McKissack writes, “she talked to all the other victims of her truth-telling.” They accept her apology and relationships are restored. K-5th grade
Jones, R. (1991). Matthew and Tilly. NY, NY: Puffin Books.
This book features best friends who are inter-racial. They do everything together. Until a crayon breaks. They have a fight and Matthew leaves. They each play alone and realize they miss each other. A pivotal scene in the book focuses on apologies, forgiveness, and the restoration of relationships. K-3rd grade.
DiSalvo-Ryan, D. (1994). City Green. NY, NY: Scholastic.
This story features a diverse community working together to turn a vacant lot into a community garden. Highlights include: Problem solving, inter-racial and inter-generational relationships, and the fierce desire to restore the beauty of a community. K-4th grade
Dismondy, M., & Shaw-Peterson, K. (2008). Spaghetti in a hot dog bun: Having the courage to be who you are. Wixom, Michigan: Making Spirits Bright.
Lucy is unique and Ralph, a kid in her classroom, likes to make fun of her. Lucy's defining moment comes when Ralph needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice and help him. This book features children problem-solving without the intervention of an adult and the restoration of a relationship. K-5th grade
Meuse-Dallien, T., & Stevens, A. (2003). The sharing circle: stories about First Nations culture. Halifax, NS: Nimbus Pub.
Written by indigenous authors, this book features short stories that focus on the power of the circle as a symbol of connections in First Nations Culture. One story focuses on “talking circles” which are the root of contemporary “buddy circles.” The authors explain, “in the circle, everyone is treated as an equal.” In the talking circle, people learn to listen, show respect, and wait their turn. 1st-6th grade
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