I’m all about reading books to my children that encourage them to open their eyes and see what’s around them, empower others and withhold judgement. And, my very favorite books are the ones that manage to do all those things subtly. They have great illustrations, fascinating stories, but they still manage to sneak in a positive message.
We’ve been reading Easter/Spring books these days and much to my surprise, we read two that had very empowering messages about women. What an interesting trend! I thought I’d share:
P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis
This book isn’t overtly about Easter and it isn’t overtly about women either… but I think it still does a good job of promoting both. My kids showed some interest in it at the library, likely because the cover illustration is so bold and eye-catching. I was happy that the story was pretty great too!
Basically, it’s about this chicken P. Zonka. All the other chickens in the coop take a lot of pride in the eggs they lay. But, P. Zonka doesn’t lay any eggs, so they make fun of her. Instead of paying attention to the snickering crowd, P. Zonka explores nature and revels in the beauty around her. When P. Zonka finally decides that she’s going to give all this egg-laying business a shot, she not only lays an egg, but she lays a pisanki, a polish-style Easter egg. P. Zonka’s pisanki is filled with all the things she loves and admires about nature.
The illustrations of this book are a quick study in Polish art. And, let me tell you — it’s gorgeous! My kids were drinking in the bright, intricate designs on each page. But, I love the message. You don’t have to be like everyone else. And, sometimes blooming in your own time is worth the wait.
You do you, P. Zonka!
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward
I love a vintage book. And, this one just put out a 75th anniversary edition, so that tells you something about its staying power! Vintage books typically have more text than my kids are used to in a picture book, so we used this book as a bedtime read-aloud in lieu of a chapter book.
This book explains that there are five Easter bunnies that deliver all the candy and eggs to the little children. These are the swiftest, wisest, kindest bunnies of the entire bunny kingdom. As they grow old, they’re replaced with new bunnies that are equally swift, wise and kind.
A common little girl bunny wants to grow up to be one of those Easter bunnies. But, everyone laughs at her. She’s not beautiful and white. She’s not particularly strong. She’s not rich. She’s just a simple, brown country bunny. This little girl grows up into a mom of 21 (gulp! gasp!) bunnies. Instead of giving up on her dream, she trains each of them to do a particular task around the house and they become very self sufficient.
When it’s time to select a new Easter bunny, this intrepid mama applies for the position. As it turns out, her experience as a mom and her spirited personality makes her the perfect candidate. Then, she goes on a bit of an Easter adventure, which reveals even more about her character and charm.
It really is such a sweet tale, with equally lovely illustrations.
This little country cottontail rabbit was persisting before persisting was cool. Don’t count out moms, y’all!
Break that Easter bunny glass ceiling, little Cottontail!