It’s been a while since my girls have wanted to read the same book every night. Now that they’re 4 and 7 they generally like to mix things up. However, since we started reading Brigitte Benchimol’s award winning series of socially conscious and truly magical books, that’s changed.
Beginning with Jadyn and the Magic Bubble: Discovering India, the reader travels to New Delhi and the Taj Mahal via their imagination and all of their senses. This thoroughly researched book is anything but whimsical. It is deeply educational and fascinating. Not only have my children learned history and geography of India, but also how silk is made and about the daily hustle and bustle of city life there.
Always looking for ways to aid my children in becoming more socially aware, I am thrilled with Brigitte’s like-minded ideas, and even more so with her approach. Discovering India manages to discuss poverty and Jadyn’s disconcerted reaction to it without telling them how to feel or think on the topic. It is written as a gateway to discussion and meditation on the subject and for my family it has been an excellent tool. I feel that it is never too early to start your kids on the path of having empathy for others and these books provide a great gateway.
The topic of the book’s sequel, I Met Ghandi is pretty self explanatory. It is a history lesson that is anything but dull. Benchimol turns learning and meditation into an adventure. I personally picked up some new knowledge from this series and I appreciate that my children and I all are left pondering at the end of each title. The author created this series with the goal of “empowering children to open their minds and expand their own potential”. Worthy target, and I believe she hits the mark.
Kenya! Kenya! takes empathy to a different level. Hosted by a talking giraffe, Jadyn gracefully learns about boundaries from an animal’s perspective. The giraffe explains why hunting and poaching are major issues, but also addresses the way people tend to approach animals. Kenya, Kenya provides food for thought – animals deserve personal space too! We should be careful not to frighten or overwhelm them.
Not only are these books a journey of consciousness, but they are a safari for the senses as well! Discovering India includes recipes, a patch of silk to feel, and a cd. Also just released is an awesomely interactive iPad app based on Kenya! Kenya! With coloring pages, Record your own voice and many other fabulous features – $5.99 for iPad owners Only.
I had the pleasure of meeting Brigitte Benchimol after learning that she lived locally to me. Not only did I have the opportunity to interview her, but I gratefully had the chance to befriend her. Brigitte has years of experience working with children, from teacher to pre-school owner/ director, she has made a wealth of observations that enable her to write in a way that appeals to all age levels. She believes in not dumbing it down, finding the “parameters of vocabulary and word count condescending”. Children will learn through context and questions. I agree.
In addition to teaching compassion to children, Brigitte also teaches adults. She conducts Peace Workshops in the Los Angeles area, utilizing her training in The Way of Council. The council “fosters compassion, empathy, non-judgmental listening, kindness, understanding of self and others, reflection, social responsibility, feelings, depth, and purpose. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who couldn’t use a refresher in at least one of these areas. For information on Brigitte’s workshops, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The inspiring Jadyn series is available for purchase right here at the Village! Brigitte has even offered signed copies to our readers! Simply send an email to email@example.com, including which books you’d like to purchase, and your email address or phone number. These books are a journey worth taking.