First Fridays – April 2021

Just like that, another month has passed us by. We marched right into Women’s History Month and right into April. Along with April being a month of mud and what’s more affectionately known up North as, “The Second Winter.”  This month, here at Progress North we’ve chosen to dedicate the month of April to the Young Child, and we hope you do too! 

Our First Friday recommendations are sprinkled with different experiences and important topics for adults and children alike to be inspired to make Wisconsin, no matter what we look like or how young we are, a place where all of us can thrive.

We Are Water Protectors

Written by Carole Lindstrom
Illustrated by Michaela Goade

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruptiona bold and lyrical picture book.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

It's OK to be Different: A Children's Picture Book About Diversity and Kindness

Written by Sharon Purtill
Illustrated by Sujata Saha


It’s OK to be Different” presents individuality. Everything about it is inspiring. Children will enjoy the fun and clever rhymes, as they are drawn in by the bright and cheerful illustrations. It is one of those books that both children and adults can enjoy, as it delivers the perfect message to young readers. This story has effectively imparted an ever-important lesson that individuality should be celebrated, not shunned and that each child is uniquely beautiful. It encourages kids to accept and befriend those who are different from themselves. Showing young children that they don’t have to look alike or enjoy doing the same activities to be kind to one another.

When the author wrote this children’s book, she did so with one idea in mind. If we can instill positive messages, from a young age, about all the diversity our children will see in the world, we can help raise up compassionate and caring children. When children are raised to accept and embrace those who are different from themselves they are far more likely to be a friend than an adversary with their peers. This can lead to less bullying among children. And that is a beautiful thing.

This charming children’s picture book might be the next Children’s Classic. It leaves readers with the message that: “You should always be kind to those who are different than you. Because to them, you are different too.” Imagine if all children read this story, and learned this concept. We might be able to impact the world in a positive way while teaching early literacy at the same time.

A Kid’s Book About Racism

Written by Jelani Memory


Yes, this really is a kid’s book about racism. Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.

This is one conversation that’s never too early to start, and this book was written to be an introduction for kids on the topic.

AntiRacist Baby

Written by Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Summary: Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

I am Enough

Written by Grace Byers
Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

Summary: This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

Podcasts For the Kids

Kid Nuz


Five minutes of today’s top stories, current events, politics, science, entertainment, sports, and more — all nonpartisan and age-appropriate.

Wow in the World (NPR)


Join hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas on a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation.

Podcasts for the Parents

Life Kit: Parenting (NPR)


Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together.


Alicia Keys - Good Job Cover by One Voice Children’s Choir A Tribute to Covid-19 Heroes

Cover Me In Sunshine P!nk, Willow Sage Hart

Instant Family

When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption.  They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight.  Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family.  INSTANT FAMILY is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders and also stars Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, and Margo Martindale.

No Small Matter

Our future depends on our youngest citizens. On how many words they hear in their first months of life. On how often they are held. On the kinds of experiences they have. 

Yet even with business interests, scholars, and politicians on both sides of the aisle lining up to support the early childhood education cause, millions of American children are still not getting the care they need to succeed—or even to keep up. And while it’s the poorest children who are most vulnerable, middle-class families are increasingly feeling the squeeze, as the cost of quality childcare soars. So why, when the importance of quality early care and education is so widely accepted, do we continue to fail so many?

Learn more at​.

The Most Dangerous Year

As a dark wave of anti-transgender bathroom bills began sweeping across the nation, The Human Rights Campaign called 2016 the most dangerous year for transgender Americans. Filmmaker Vlada Knowlton captured the ensuing civil rights battle from the perspective of a group of embattled parents – including herself and her husband, parents of a young trans girl — fighting to protect their children from discriminatory laws in their home state. While Knowlton passionately follows the story of anti-transgender legislation, the heart of the film lies in the stories of the families who accept and support their kids for exactly who they are.


From Oscar-winners Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris, FOSTER interweaves compelling first-hand stories of those navigating the child welfare system with insights from social workers, advocates, and others in the justice system to offer a realistic but hopeful perspective on a community in need of support and understanding.


A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

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