Planting Seeds Through Stories

library books

I am a firm believer in the power of children’s literature to accompany children in the exciting, and sometimes arduous, journey of growing up. Whenever my young kids express a curiosity or encounter a challenge, we head to the library to collect an armful of books. Together, we read through the pile and develop a shared language and experience from which to discuss and process together. (Shout-out to the librarians at the Brookfield Library for your excellent suggestions to our many, many questions and curiosities!)

Children’s books aren’t confined to my home life. In the various professional roles I’ve played in the field of education, and now philanthropy, they often find a way of sneaking into my work. So when we sought to find a way of introducing the youngest Christopher family member to the work of the Foundation in a fun, age-appropriate way, a book club seemed like a perfect avenue. Below are some of the books we’ve featured so far. Each opens up a part of the Foundation’s work and offers opportunities for rich discussion.

Home for a While – Written by Lauren H. Kerstein, Illustrated by Natalia Moore

When Calvin’s mom can’t take care of him, he goes to live with a foster parent named Maggie. Can Maggie help Calvin to manage his fears and big feelings?



Maddi’s Fridge – Written by Lois Brandt, Illustrated by Vin Vogel

If you found out that a friend didn’t have enough food to eat, but made you promise not to tell, what would you do? (Thanks to Northern Illinois Food Bank for featuring this book during Hunger Action Month last September!)


Two Bobbies – Written by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery, Illustrated by Jean Cassels

In this true story, a dog and a cat find themselves in a dangerous situation after Hurricane Katrina. They must rely on one another, and a few helping humans, for survival.



I would argue that children’s books offer just as many insights for adults as they do for children. The best ones take a topic that’s difficult to understand and peel back the layers to reveal core truths that “grown-up” books sometimes overlook.

We are always looking for more book club suggestions related to our education, employment & entrepreneurship, and health and well-being program areas. Please feel free to send ideas to!

—Contributed by Molly Truglia, Program Associate