Children in between the ages of 4-8 are learning and growing everyday. Not only are they beginning to develop academic skill such as reading and math, but they are also figuring out life. Books are powerful teaching tools. While many deal with concepts such as letters, numbers and colors, few cover topics such as diversity, self-care, kindness, feelings and conflict resolution. For this reason, we are big fans of Free Spirit Publishing's Learning to Get Along series. These colorful books, beautifully illustrated by Meredith Johnson and written by Cheri Meiners, M.Ed., encourage social-emotional skills and self-regulation.
Each book is told in the first person, with sensitive and empowering language. There is an element of comfort in the writing that lets children know that their feelings are ok. Better yet,each book ends with a special "parent section" which outlines how to support children through that particular topic. So you're really getting two books in one. An empowering children's book and a helpful parenting book. Some of the books even include game ideas to help reinforce the concept with your child. Books that reinforce social and emotional skills are also setting your child up for success in school and in life. They may be the most important books you own.
We'll be reviewing the whole set. Starting with...
When I Feel Afraid (click to buy from the publisher)
First line: "Sometimes I think about things that could happen..."
From the author: "Children today have many fears, both real and imagined. This book helps children understand their fears and teaches basic coping skills. Simple words and inviting illustrations show little ones that they're not alone, there are many people they can talk to, and they can even help themselves feel better, stronger, safer."
Our thoughts: The best part of this book is the simple language. Since it is written in the first person, children will feel like a friend is talking to them. One of the trickiest parts of feeling scared for young children is figuring out what is real and what isn't. This book touches on real vs. pretend, as well as letting your imagination get the best of you. It also discusses that bad and scary things do happen sometimes but there is always an adult that children can talk to about their feelings. An adult can be parents, neighbors, babysitters or community helpers ( which the book identifies as nurses and doctors, religious leaders, teachers and police officers). The book encouraged children to also identify ways that they can take care of themselves when they are worried, such as play with friends, read books and draw pictures. There is also the suggestion that children might find a quiet place to breathe, tell themselves something nice, or say a prayer when worry and fear has them down. Most importantly, children are taught that they can take control of their fear and feel better.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all had that ability?
Let Them Fly!