Introducing Generous Kids

Generous Kids, created in partnership with Beaming Books and Brightpeak Financial, helps families and churches come together around the shared goal of loving others by living generously. The Generous Kids books, written by Caryn Rivadeneira, teach kids age-appropriate concepts about money, possessions, self-worth, and sharing. Generous Kids also offers churches and families the opportunity to participate in 30-day challenges that are designed to help turn generosity into action. To learn more about the challenges, visit https://raisegenerouskids.com/.

The Generous Kids books release this month, so we sat down with Caryn Rivadeneira to chat about the experience of writing the books—as well as her hopes for how they will impact families and churches.

Q: Briefly describe the theme/plot of each of the three books.

A: Mine does two things at once, well, three. One, it gives young kids opportunities to count. Two, it introduces readers to several characters with some cool things (which we get to count!). And three, Mine shows us that while it’s great to have our own stuff, sharing our things makes a day at the beach (and all of life!) much more fun.

It’s Not Fair! flips the idea of “learning to share” on its head. While we like to think we need to teach kids how to share, truth is, lots of kids are great at sharing! They’re born generous. The trouble with already-generous kids is what happens when our generosity hits a snag—which is what happens to Roxy when her big-hearted giving means she can no longer afford the Mad Scientist Chemistry Set she’s been working and saving for.

The Wrong Shoes uses journal-style entries to follow the adventures of Marco and Amelia as they try to figure out the best ways to earn and save enough money to buy—wait for it—the right shoes! Of course, their learning adventure takes them places and to people they never expected as they learn age-appropriate ways to earn, to save—and to give.

 Q: What did you learn from writing the three Generous Kids books? 

A: Honestly, writing these served as great reminders of the huge variety of ways we can be generous—and the huge variety of ways we are blessed with abundance. So often we think of being generous as very specific: being willing to give others our money. But generosity is a spirit issue, a willingness to live open-hearted and open-handed, ready to share whatever we’ve been given, not out of duty but out of love and kindness.

 Q: What was the hardest part of writing these books? What was the most enjoyable part? 

A: Those are probably one and the same! It was a challenge to come up with age-appropriate ways to introduce concepts of generosity without being overly didactic. So thinking through different angles to generosity was both challenging and super fun.

Q: What sets the Generous Kids books apart from other children’s books? 

A: They’re different in lots of ways! What I love about these three is that they work well together. I love the idea of a family getting the whole collection—either for current kids of different ages or for their kids as they grow. They’re also terrific for schools, libraries, faith communities, daycares, and after-school programs to use to foster conversations. Plus, each book has a parent guide in the back to help families have deeper conversations about generosity and contentment.

Q: What do you hope kids (and families) will gain from reading the books? 

A: Because I’m a writer, I hope they love the stories! I hope they smile at the syntax and sentences and story lines. And because I write kidlit and can’t draw for anything, I hope they appreciate the gorgeous illustrations. Take time to “look around” in the pictures. See what surprises you find! But, of course, I hope kids and parents come away with a deeper understanding of what being generous looks like—and why living as generous people makes this world a better place!

Q: What advice would you give to parents (beyond reading the books) about how to inspire their kids to be generous people?

A: A few things come to mind:

  1. Generosity is an attitude, a willingness. It’s not about exact amounts; it’s about how we act.
  2. We can be generous in many ways: with our time, our toys, our talents, our “treasure,” even our troubles! I mean, I love the idea of teaching kids to be generous in telling stories of when they had hard times. It’s teaching that we can properly steward EVERYTHING God has given us—even our experiences.
  3. Praise generosity in your kids whenever you see it. It’s easy to harp on kids when we catch them NOT sharing, but when you even see a kid scoot over to make room for a sibling, praise that! It’s being generous.

To purchase the Generous Kids books (quantity discounts are available!), visit https://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/search?ss=generous+kids .

Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of seven books–for both children and adults. Her most recent titles include Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible and The Story of Noah’s Ark (both SparkHouse Family). Caryn serves on the worship staff at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church and is a proud member of INK: A Creative Collective and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Caryn lives in the near-west suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three kids, and one rescued pit bull. Find Caryn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat or visit her at carynrivadeneira.com.