Have you ever felt left out, or that you just did not belong or fit in. Do you know a child that has felt this way? Human beings need the feeling of self-worth to grow and develop into a healthy contributing part of society. Often our relationships and connections to others can enhance or destroy that feeling. BaBa-Balu Belongs, Too, is a story of a monarch caterpillar who doesn’t fit in. He feels uncomfortable in his own skin which he grows out of 5 times. The other bugs don’t play with him or include him. This causes him to be sad, mad, and even bad. One day he is so sad he creeps away from his home on the milkweed. He hangs upside down and grows out of his skin again! But this time he falls into a deep sleep. In his sleep he dreams about how the other bugs include him, eat with him, play with him, and invite him to a party! He feels like he belongs. This feeling overwhelms him with happiness. He wakes up feeling included and loved which causes him to spread his wings and become who he is really meant to be, a beautiful, happy butterfly.
Sonja Lange Wendt is an award-winning author of the Cultivating Compassion in Children books series. Her books are intergenerational and address important and sometimes difficult topics with children on inclusion, acceptance, disabilities, bullying and aging. Serina and Seymour Seed kick off and end each story. Seymour and Serina are the seeds of compassion children have, but sometimes they need planting and nurturing to cultivate the best in them. Through increasing awareness, understanding and discussion, these books teach that using compassion in different situations shows kindness in the greatest way in this sometimes difficult to navigate world.
Sonja uses a variety of setting and characters from grandparents, little girl, little boy, and bugs to engage children in the stories. The settings all include nature and the outdoors. Each story ends with thought provoking questions to be asked by the adult and discussed with the child.
These books are generally fitting for children ages 4-8 but as C.S. Lewis states, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Her books are brilliantly illustrated with vivid colors and scenery.
This book is a wonderful story for Pride Month, June. It's a story of a caterpillar who doesn't feel right in his own skin. He isn't included by the other bugs. He becomes depressed and rolls into a cocoon where he is warm and safe. In his cocoon he dreams he in included. He feels he belongs. This feeling overcomes him. He feels excited inside and opens up his wings. His wings? He has wings? His feeling of belonging and inclusion allows him to spread his wings, flit them back and forth, and rise into the sky and become a beautiful butterfly. It also follows the scientific metamorphosis cycle.