“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to show them that reading is a pleasure activity and that means, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books and letting them read them.” – Neil Gainman

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Reading to children is one of the greatest joys in this life. A powerful statement, yes, but honestly, I adore reading to my little people. Whether on a tram or a train, the breakfast table or curled up in bed, reading is something I will cherish today and in the years to come.

By reading to our children, we are promoting literacy skills, we teach our children how to pronounce words, and their vocabularies expand. According to research, most parents stop reading to their children by grade four, but we can attest, our son is still captivated by stories that are read out loud to him and thus our hope is to continue this family activity for as long as they allow.

So, grab a book and read to your little ones, it is a great way to bond, a nice break from technology and you have the ability to introduce your children to different genres, build empathy, dive deep into discussions and create awareness to a world other than their own.

We recently stumbled across these three books that highlight women as the lead character(s) and they are worth sharing.

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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – This Kickstarter book that blew the doors open for raising an insane amount of funding in a very short period of time is brilliant. With vibrant pictures of each of the 100 women profiled in the book, the stories, though short and sweet are engaging, moving and downright inspiring!

This book is a New York Times best seller and makes a great gift for children of all ages.  From athletes, to spies, to scientists, this is a book that captivates children and adults of all ages.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch – In this classic tale, by the Canadian author (though he was born in America), Robert Munsch, the young princess is the heroine and realizes her own power and independence. I don’t want to give too much away from this short, yet remarkable read, but this book highlights some very powerful lessons, one being, it doesn’t matter what we wear or what we look like, if we have heart, and compassion, the exterior is secondary. The book also explores the notion of how it is never too late to change our mind, or our opinion of something or someone, which will ultimately change the course of our life.

Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole – I adore the narrative of the female, main character being perfectly comfortable on her own. Instead of searching for the perfect prince to ride in on the “white horse” and carry her off into a happy ever after scenario, this princess, realizes that her happy ever after can be spent with herself. Whew…how is that for a change in the story line? What a great message to send to our children, that they have the ability to find happiness on their own and should never rely on others to supply their joy.

As women, we need positive role models in our lives, and often times, that means women standing up for injustice, and being powerful beyond measure. Women with grit and gumption should surround us and fill our days with optimism.  The books profiled above, help cut through gender stereotypes and offer a refreshing change and deep inspiration.  And let us remember, “Well – behaved women seldom make history,” said so well by the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in 1976.

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