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Prepare our children for a better life with books that teach tolerance

Tory Hanlen -   Nov 16, 2006

Headlines today consistently echo the problems that exist within our schools and communities and how that reflects a moral breakdown in our society. There seems to be little tolerance for accepting differences in others, resulting in increased violence within schools and communities.

Children of all ages need to learn that other people and families, though different, can share similar values. Reading is an important tool for broadening a child’s universe in a safe and stress-free way. Teaching children through creative storytelling can increase their understanding and acceptance of others.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading aloud to children. A recent study showed that children read more when they see other people reading at home.

Over the past 25 years studies have show a gradual and steady decline in the number of children who read for fun outside regular school hours.

This decline in recreational reading has contributed to children seeking inappropriate means of expression, which includes a lack of respect for themselves and others.

Families need to meet this challenge of teaching children to accept differences in people, as well as teaching them good and acceptable behaviors.

Awareness that differences exist, and that there is more than one approach to an issue, can expand a child’s universe and appreciation of others.

Having self-acceptance is what allows acceptance in others. Broadening their horizons allows children to understand that people are people no matter what side of the track you live on.

In my children’s book, Sense and Non-Sense, I tell a humorous tale of a “normal” family thatmoves onto “Nonsense Street” and how their behaviors are the exception and not the norm. While the Nonsense Street folks seem strange in comparison, they are simply different in a fun-loving way.

Through humor, we can in a painless way reinforce lessons about good and not-so-good habits in our children.

Sense and Non-Sense, for example, opens the mind to the fact that “normal” is in the eye of the beholder and what is the acceptable is determined by each individual family.


Tory Hanlen began writing children’s books when her son was young as a way to teach him good family values. She wrote Sense and Non-Sense and also Across This Puddle I Must Go (BookSurge Publishing), which lets children and adults explore together ways that a child can use his imagination to overcome everyday challenges.

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