As a mother and teacher, I am constantly trying to keep up on the latest books in publication. I love discovering books that tell a good story and teach a valuable lesson. I recently purchased The World Needs More Purple People, by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart — this is my review.
I was immediately intrigued by this book because of the author, Kristen Bell. Admittedly, we are big fans of her in our house. After being drawn to it because of the author, I began researching it. I even watched a YouTube video of someone reading it because I wanted to see what it was about before I ordered it. What I found was a beautiful book that provided me with methods to teach my kids about how to be a “purple person.”
It helped me find the words to remind my children how awesome they are. It also helped me show my kids they should celebrate who they are . . . and that there are more things we have in common than divide us.
The book shares five steps to becoming a “purple person.”
1.) Ask Questions
These questions help us learn big concepts about the world and help us learn really small things about other people. You can never ask too many questions. By asking questions both big and small, we can learn more about the world outside of ourselves. We can take an interest and find what we have in common with others and what we can learn from others.
2.) Laugh A Lot
We can laugh at books, at television shows, at jokes and even ourselves. The authors remind us that laughing, “helps us remember the things we share and forget what we thought made us different.” They share that when we are laughing it is impossible to be angry.
3.) Use Your Voice, Don’t Lose Your Voice
The authors challenge us to use our voice to share our talents, to give good ideas, and to share our opinions. A purple person helps others who are having a hard time finding their own voice. A purple person also listens well.
4.) Work Hard
Purple people learn from every experience. They state that purple work is, “the kind of work that’s done together to change something that needs changing, to fix something that needs fixing, or to help someone who needs helping.”
5.) Just Be You
Be authentically you. We all come in different shapes and sizes with varying talents and qualities we bring to the world. A purple person recognizes the gifts in ourselves and the gifts in each other.
As I read this book, I was captivated by the beautiful messages of inclusion, self-love, and embracing the traits that we have in common with others, and learning about things that make us different. This book provided humor as a way to achieve its purpose. The illustrations also added another wonderful dimension to this book.
As parents, we worry that we won’t get everything right when it comes to raising our kids. I want to excel at teaching my kids that it is okay and awesome to be who they are, and have them actually believe and embrace that. That’s a challenge isn’t it?
It is okay to be the you that you were created to be. I also want my kids to know that it is okay if their beliefs are different than those of their peers. As I write this, I know that this is going to be a challenge. We live in a competitive world. We live in a world where it feels like you need to fit a certain mold to be accepted and well-received.
Unfortunately, as of late, many of us are viewed as red or blue, and if you do not agree, you must be against that particular belief system. We are all much more than that.
We have unique beliefs and interests, and it is unfair to lump each other into one specific group. If we would sit down and talk it out, we would realize that there are more things that unite us than things that divide us. This book provided me a way to start that conversation early.
I can talk about being kind until I am blue in the face but eventually my kids will roll their eyes and tune me out. However, sharing a book that gets this point across and in a different way will speak to them. Since our kids were babies, we have devoured books. Our shelves are overflowing and I know this is another way to teach my kids great life lessons.
Books help us visualize things that conversation cannot always do. For example, when our country was reeling with the hatred and violence against Black people in recent months, as a white mother, I knew I had to do better. One way to help my young children better understand equality was to share books with them. I checked out a bunch of really great books on the subject and it really resonated with my kids.
Books can do that for us. They can give us a way to lean into hard and complicated conversations.
I highly recommend this book as a way to help your child see the value of themselves no matter who they are. This book invites us to not only use our voice for good, but to also listen to and try to understand when people feel differently than we do. This book is not a book that talks specifically about the problem of racism in our country. What it does talk about is being a person of good character, to be a good listener, and to learn from others.
If you are looking for books to address the problem of racism in our country, this would not necessarily be the book for you. We have a whole list of books for children that address racism.
We live in a world that is so full of division, contention, and general unawareness of how our actions affect others.
My hope in sharing The World Needs More Purple People with my kids is that it will help them see the value in themselves and the value of being a kind, understanding, and compassionate person.
If you are hoping to start these conversations with your own children, this is the book for you.