Just Like Brothers
Written by Elizabeth Baguley
Illustrated by Aurélie Blanz
This is a charming book with gorgeous illustrations and interesting descriptive and rhyming verses. The story is about how sometimes groups teach their children to guard themselves against other groups without knowing, interacting, or understanding. They fear and sometimes hate each other when in fact, they might be able to live like brothers.
The author uses a human child and a wolf cub as the characters that are influenced by their mothers’ warnings about the other. Although it can be a metaphor for developing care and kindness for each other, in reality, the adults in these species can be dangerous when confronted with each other. What happens to our childhood innocence when we grow in fear and protection? Maybe this is really a book for adults, not children.
I would recommend this book for elementary-age children because, to me, it is more than just a storybook. It is a conversation about figuring out the difference between real danger and simply lack of understanding.
Be Who You Were Meant To Be
Written by Lauren Grabois Fischer
Illustrated by Devin Hunt
This children’s book encourages children to feel their own feelings, think their own thoughts, self-reflect, know themselves, be courageous, and accept others for who they are. The overall belief is that humans inherently know who they were meant to be when left unjudged and unconditionally loved. Within this book, the story is written in English and then repeated in Spanish – two books in one. The illustrations are colorful and fun. They depict children from many backgrounds.
At the end of the book, there are several pages with notes to parents, caregivers, and teachers with discussion questions and activities. This book would be appealing to three- to eight year-old children. It can be purchased at amazon.com and other book outlets.
Written by Dr. Daniela Owen
Illustrated by Gülce Baycik
This series is written by an author who we have heard from before. Dr. Owen also wrote a series called Right Now. Some of you may remember and have read those books. Everyone Feels is a new series that can help children identify feelings, such as anger, sadness, and anxiety and give them strategies to cope with them in appropriate, healthy ways. Strategies include deep breathing, changing their thoughts, physical exercise, etc. In the past, children were taught to “stuff” certain feelings and pretend they didn’t exist. Fortunately for all of us, we now know that “stuffing” only leads to eventual explosions that can negatively impact the person with the feeling and others around them.
This series is very helpful for young children as they learn how to self-regulate and express themselves in ways that keep them emotionally safe and healthy. It would be a good addition to any home or school library for children three to ten years old. The books can be purchased online or at a local bookstore.
I Think I Can
Written by Karen S. Robbins
Illustrated by Rachael Brunson
Well, I read this book several times, and I think this could be an introduction to reading together (an adult and a child) The aardvark shows confidence in its abilities and potential, and the mouse is delighted.
There are two characters – the aardvark, played by an adult, and the mouse by a child. The aardvark’s words are printed in blue, and the child’s in black. Many of the child’s words are the same as the aardvark’s and the child just repeats them, often only changing the nouns. It ends with a song that they sing together to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” The illustrations are simple, clear, and fun.
This book could introduce reading together as just fun for young children and adults. It can be purchased at amazon.com.
Written by Peter Reynolds
Violet’s family has become distracted by technology and no longer comes together at their table. The table actually shrinks and disappears, with only Violet noticing. Violet asks the members of her family, one by one and, utilizing the technology they enjoy, to help her build a new table. The whole family remembers the power of coming together to share at the family table.
This story, beautifully illustrated by Peter Reynolds and using color to help enhance the story, is a great one for the holidays. It is a wonderful reminder of the power and joy of spending time together IRL (in real life).
I would recommend this book to all families. Young elementary-age children will enjoy the details in the illustrations, and everyone will enjoy the message. The book is available at all major book retailers, and autographed copies can be ordered from www.thedotcentral.com.
The Little Book of Bees
Written by Hilary Kearney
Illustrated by Amy Holliday
I had the pleasure not long ago of visiting a botanical garden known for its orchids, and generously filled with many other kinds of flowering plants, etc. Whenever I go to places like that, I always visit their gift shop and purchase a book or two for the school, my grandson, or others who are near and dear to me. As usual, I found this wonderful book.
This Little Book of Bees is huge! It is full of very informative content and gorgeous illustrations! You and your child will probably learn so much more than you ever knew about bees. The story of bees is fascinating. Maybe you and your child will be inspired to learn even more about bees and maybe even inspired to do some things – small or large – to help bees in your backyard, your local community, or around the world to survive and thrive.
I highly recommend this book as an addition to your home or school library. Children from four to twelve years old will be intrigued by the wonder of bees! It can be purchased at botanical gardens, nature preserves, bookstores, and from Amazon.
Redirecting Children’s Behavior Effective Discipline for Creating Connection and Cooperation
Written by Kathryn J. Kvols
In early 1990, when our children were three and six years old, I met Kathryn Kvols. I was an experienced and skilled primary teacher in a Montessori classroom. I did exceedingly well at school with other people’s children. I listened to each child patiently and respectfully. I was kind, firm, and consistent. I cultivated a cooperative classroom community.
And yet, something disturbing happened when my children and I got into our car to go home. Suddenly, I became a very different person and did not treat my own children with the same respect and kindness I gave the children in my class. I was consistently in power struggles with my oldest child, and because that took up so much of my parenting time, my youngest became an attentionseeking child. My husband had no clue what to do with the children or me!
Without a doubt, we were struggling in our family life when I met Kathryn Kvols – a woman with a book, practices to cultivate connection and cooperation, and a belief in the goodness of humans.
I gladly took her course. I learned that the same principles I used in the classroom with other children also applied to my own children at home. What a novel idea! This woman, her book, and her practices transformed our home life.
I tell you this story because I am so excited that the 4th edition of Redirecting Children’s Behavior has been released this year. It has a new, more interesting look. The print and layout design are more inviting. It is loaded with real-life stories that illustrate the practices she espouses. Most important are the family-life-changing principles that she lays out in detail for her readers. They include cultivating growth mindsets within each family member, recognizing and managing emotions effectively, setting and keeping
clear expectations, developing skills that eliminate the need to punish or reward, resolving conflicts peacefully, and so much more.
This book will help you align your family life with the principles and practices used in your child’s, grandchild’s, niece’s, or nephew’s Montessori classroom. It is a must-read for families.
Tales of a Traveling Nurse: Is This My Home?
Written by Sheri Sturniolo
Illustrated by Shay Larby
Children at the elementary level will probably enjoy this book as they look at a career that is new to them, as it was for me: Tales of a Traveling Nurse. They will be able to follow her stops in several different states in the United States as she travels in her work as a pediatric nurse and, as she says, “an explorer.” The illustrations are full of color and images of the many experiences that she describes. The author uses rhyming to add interest to the text. This book comes in paperback, hardcover, and board book versions, as well as on Kindle. It can be purchased at amazon.com and other bookstores.