A colleague called me looking for ideas for a staff professional development series.  He was hoping to do an on-going series for a team with a wide range of experience and wanted a way to address multiple topics.

My suggestion for him:  a book club — only not in the traditional format, rather a reading circle utilizing children’s books.

I have used children’s literature in leadership training for decades.  They are short; often broach sensitive topics in ways that allow people to be comfortable in discussing them; they come with illustrations that make great visual aids, and are much more affordable than adult hardcovers.

I have a list of dozens of titles that I have used, but some ideas to get you started:

> Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (as discussed in Blog #797, August 7, 2014) would be a great way to prompt a discussion with those stuck in the status quo.

> The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka is a wonderful way to talk about myths, perceptions, open mindedness and first impressions.

> Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst can be used as a resource about budgeting and paying attention to what is important.

> Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy can open a conversation on stress management and making time for yourself.

> The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting is a beautiful book about how everyone can be a teacher and that it is never too late to learn.

>  William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow can be used to start a discussion on stereotypes, gender roles or even addressing the issue at hand instead of avoiding it.

> Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a classic to teach vision, creativity, creating your destiny and the impact of choices.

> Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is a wonderful way to end a retreat or workshop as it contains lessons about memories, learning from others and how different things mean different things to different people.

There is something magical about storytelling. I think you’ll find your adult audience just as entranced as a younger one if you incorporate children’s books in your next leadership program.  Happy reading!

— beth triplett

If you’d like a copy of the list, email me at leadershipdots@gmail.com

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