Opening the hearts of children

Lean against a likely tree or settle into a comfy nook as essayist Maria Popova introduces us to At the Drop of a Cat by French author Élise Fontenaille and Spanish artist Violeta Lópiz, winner of the New York Public Library “Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2023.”

at the drop of a cat_enchanted lion books_elise fontenaille_violeta lopiz.jpg

Ms. Popova then suggests “…coupling it with What Is Love? — a kindred reckoning with the consolations of connection, told through the tender relationship between a child and a grandparent — then revisit The Forest — a love letter to our bond with the wilderness…”

Venturing happily onward into the diverse horizons of positive change, there are many new children’s books about our planet; about the changes it is undergoing and the necessity of caring for it; about challenges to wildlife; about respecting and loving people who may seem vastly different from us; and on to many more “non-fiction” concerns.

So The Humanity Initiative recently has begun this collection of the most compelling of these books in order to make them the center of an accessible, fun and instructive oasis for children.

In fact, we are looking for young volunteers, anywhere in the world, who would like to take on the challenge of finding the best books, in any language, and helping develop this section into a place to discover new friends from across the planet. Please write us at if interested.

Here are our initial choices, beginning with how to discover news you can trust:

  • What The Fact?! by Dr. Seema Yasmin. Here’s a teaching guide from the author.
  • True or False by Cindy L. Otis The author is a former CIA analyst. She helps readers avoid faliing victim to fake news.
  • Big Lies by Mark Kurlansky “Impassioned, thorough, and brilliant: describes the struggle for truth that keeps the world from descending into chaos (Harvard Book Store).”

Or the effect humans are having on the planet:

  • The Earth and I by James Lovelock et alia
  • Our Planet by Stacy McAnulty

Or how YOU hold the key to the future:

  • Save the People — Halting Human Extinction by Stacy McNulty
  • Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • We Are Still Here — Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell

Or about how to get along with other Earthlings:

  • I Have the Right by Reza Dalvond
  • Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

Or amazing stories:

  • Human Kindness, Stories of Compassion that Changed the World by John Francis
  • The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
  • Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah Jones and Renee Watson
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson


  • Africa is Not a Country by Dipo Faloyin
  • Better Than We Found It, Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph
  • The World, A Brief Introduction by Richard Haas
China / by Jimmy Nelson

P. S. What is love? by author Mac Barnett and artist Carson Ellis;

The Forest by Riccardo Bozzi, illustrated by Violeta Lopíz and Valerio Vidali;