These last couple of weeks, I’ve had dinner with Brene Brown each night. Not literally. (But I’m flattered you think I’m that connected.) But more like I listen to her podcast over a glass of wine and leftovers. In the process, it has struck me how ill-equipped I feel sometimes to understand the journey of my own emotions through difficult topics and seasons.
I grew up in a stable home, I feel secure most days, and the family, village, and community that raised me have provided so many tools. And still, I struggle to understand, have the conversation, or even know where to start about things like race, divorce, anxiety, depression, or covid, feminism, gender, white privilege.
And I can’t even imagine trying to walk a kid through these same topics some day.
But one quote from Mr. Rogers gives me hope for myself and, I hope, to you as well.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
When we talk about these things, when we begin, it makes them more manageable. But when to begin?
This is where I introduce a really special company that I’ve been privileged to work with for the last couple of months.
A Kids Book About is a publishing company that creates beautiful and simple books about challenging, empowering, and important topics. They treat kids like they’re ready for the topics, talking up to them, not down to them. I’ve even appreciated the books themselves simply use typography and color to communicate the narrative clearly and simply, not obscuring the topics with extended metaphors or analogies.
These books are by no means the end of the conversation, but they are the starting point. They kick off the process of making things mentionable. And when they’re mentionable, maybe they’ll become a little more manageable.
In the past couple of months, we’ve worked together to create an initiative where customers can join a community of Storytellers, share the books through Readings, and earn as they go. There’s something magical that happens when we share with each other and our kids some of the tools to navigate the messy things in life. And we’re seeing it unfold right in front of us.
You can find out more about A Kids Book About and the Story Initiative HERE.
About the Author
Bri Leever is Chief Community Architect at Ember, a splasher of water, and lover of books doing life in an ever-changing migration pattern ✈️