When we think of the month of December, there can be many things that come to mind, including cold weather, the spirit of giving, family, and more! It might surprise you, then, that December is also an important month for another reason: it is officially Universal Human Rights Month!

The Declaration of Human Rights outlines thirty inalienable rights that every person has, regardless of who they are and where they live. You can find a list of these rights broken down at the website of the Hague Peace Projects, an organization that accumulates information about worldwide conflicts and encourages the sharing of different perspectives through dialogue to achieve peace.

When you think about family this month, consider also your family of other humans! When we learn about other people and the rights that we all share regardless of our differences, we encourage empathy, equality, and justice, which are necessary for living a life of joy and safety.

Did you know?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world, and is available in more than 500 languages.

Picture Books for December

When you read a story, consider having discussions with your child about themes of fairness, responsibility, kindness, and more. Below are some picture books, many of which are not only wintery and cozy, but can also spark these important discussions. Consider checking them out from your local library!

A Day So Gray

A Day So Gray

by Marie Lamba

Enjoy soft, cozy artwork in winter colors as a discontented girl at first notices only dull grays and browns in a snowy landscape but is coaxed by her friend to look more closely. Soon she finds orange berries, blue water, purple shadows, and more. This is a great opportunity to talk with children about the colors that they see in their own world and how they could benefit from spending time with others that have different perspectives.

Winter: A Solstice Story

Winter: A Solstice Story

by Kelsey E. Gross

A community of forest creatures watch as the light fades and dark surrounds them during the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year – but they each contribute their own gifts of hope to share with their neighbors.

Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light

Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light

by Apryl Stott

Bear is sad – the other animals think he’s mean because of his size! But his human friend, Coco, offers to help him by sharing her grandmother’s advice: “When life gets dark as winter’s night, share some kindness, bring some light.” This story could spark discussions about how you and your child treat and show kindness to others!

The Winter Bird

The Winter Bird

by Kate Banks

As the days grow shorter and the air becomes colder, the spring birds fly south for winter—all except for a nightingale with a broken wing. Unable to fly, the nightingale worries about how to prepare for weather it’s never had to experience before. Luckily, the forest animals who are used to frosty conditions help the nightingale navigate the cold as its wing heals. This story about a community helping someone at a disadvantage is a great opportunity to talk about empathy and the importance of helping others around us.

I Have The Right to Be a Child

I Have The Right to Be a Child

by Alain Serres

What does it mean to be a child with rights? A young narrator describes human rights, from the right to food, water and shelter, to the right to go to school, to be free from violence, to breathe clean air, and more. The book emphasizes that these rights belong to every child on the planet, and makes evident that knowing and talking about these rights are the first steps toward making sure that they are respected.

Further Reading

Looking for more books? The Tacoma Public Library, Puyallup Library, and Pierce County Libraries all have tons of picture book recommendations, many of which are available to be checked out and enjoyed!