Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways

Ouch! Moments51oze-lcWOL__SX399_BO1,204,203,200_Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways

Michael Genhart, Author

Viviana Garofoli, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, Sep. 22, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Hurtful words, Microaggressions, Insults, Conduct, Caring, Empowerment

Opening: “When a bee stings, Ouch! That hurts! Catching a finger in a closing door hurts a lot. Ouch! Hearing a mean thing or ugly word hurts too. That is definitely an Ouch moment!”

Synopsis:  Sometimes kids use hurtful words to put down another child. They can be said by a child when they are trying to be funny, “oink goes the pig” or “he throws like a girl.” They can be used by kids to have power over other kids to make them feel small. Ouch moments happen quickly and other kids don’t know what to do. When these moments occur, the perpetrator, the victim and the bystanders need help. Readers will be encouraged to be caring and take a stand.

Why I like this book:

Michael Genhart introduces readers to “ouch moments” that are usually directed towards a child that is different. His thoughtful book will help parents, teachers and children recognize mean, ugly, and hurtful words.  The language is simple, hopeful and ideal for kids. The characters are believable. Children will learn strategies that will empower them to stand up to insults and hurtful language. This is a book that all children can identify with because they have been on both sides, as the perpetrator and receiver. Genhart also helps kids to recognize their own hurtful language in a way that doesn’t shame. Many times they repeat something they’ve heard from someone else. Viviana Garofoli’s illustrations are colorful, expressive and compliment the story.

Resources:  This book is a resource for home and in the classroom. It is great resource for school teachers at the beginning of the school year to talk with kids about hurtful language and share their  “ouch moments.” There is a Note to Parents and Caregivers about microaggressions, and strategies for talking to children about hurtful language, discrimination and bias.

Angel Violet’s Magic Wings

Angel Violets Magic WingsuntitledAngel Violet’s Magic Wings

Bonnie Snyder, Ed.S., CPC, Author

Alissa Shoults, Illustrator

Bonnie Snyder, Publisher, Nonfiction, 2013

Suitable for ages: 3-7

Themes: Feelings, Empowerment, Happy hearts, Managing challenges, Inspirational

Opening: “Once upon a time all the children on the earth everywhere remembered something that many grown-ups forgot: Everyone has a happy heart and everyone sparkles from the inside out.”

Synopsis: A delightful book that helps children focus on their happy and yucky feelings, and identify where the feeling is located in their body –heart, tummy, head or back. The author shows children and parents healthy ways to bond through conversation, mindfulness, and exercises that include visualization and gratitude.

Why I like this book:

  • Bonnie Snyder has written a soothing and empowering book to help children talk about their feelings. There is a lovely story on the right side of each double-page spread that helps children easily identify a positive and happy feeling, or a sad and angry feeling.
  • On the left side of the page are questions and suggestions for  parents to help them start a conversation with their child about their day.  For example: What felt happy in your heart today? (younger child) What were three happy things in your day today? (older) What are the three most favorite things about your day today? (older)
  • Angel Violet’s Magic Wings is a lovely resource for parents, grandparents and caregivers.  It is a book filled with exercises and visualization techniques that can be taught to children, who will hopefully feel the benefits.
  • It also helps children cultivate a feeling of gratitude and thankfulness.
  • Alisa Shoults illustrations are in soothing colors of blue, violet, pink and green.  They are childlike and whimsical and fit the tone of the book.

Resources: The book is a resource with many tips, activities, visualizations and exercises to use with a child. Adults will also benefit from reading the book.  Check out the website for Angel Violet’s Magic Wings. 

The Juice Box Bully

Juice Box BUlly9781933916729_p0_v1_s260x420The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others

Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy, Authors

Kim Shaw, Illustrator

Ferne Press, Fiction, 2011

Mom’s Choice Award, 2012

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes:  Acceptable behavior, Bullying, No bystanders, Self-esteem, Empowerment

OpeningAs Pete stood in front of his new class, Mr. Peltzer announced, “Let’s welcome Pete to our team.  Pete, you will be sitting behind Ralph.”  Settling into his seat, Pete pulled his hat down over his head so that only his eyes could be seen.

Synopsis:  Pete is the new kid in class.  It’s obvious from the start that he has an attitude when he won’t remove his hat in class.  He is a bystander watching the other kids play soccer at recess and refuses to join.  Ralph invites him to play, but Pete has his own ideas and steals the ball.  Lucy and Ruby talk to Pete nicely and explain the classroom rules and promise.   Pete only responds by squirting his juice box on Ruby’s shirt.  Will Ralph and the students stand up for each other and make a new friend?

Why I like this bookThe Juice Box Bully belongs in every classroom.  Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy have written a book that empowers children to stand up for themselves and their friends.  It encourages children to make the right choices, teaches them not to be bystanders and to solve the problems with each other before involving adults.  This is one of the few books I’ve read where the kids are empowered from the start.  If used with a classroom curriculum, it would inspire kids to action.  Kim Shaw’s illustrations are bold and colorful.  She beautifully captures the action and mood of the story.

Resources:  There are excellent back pages on bystanders, empowerment and a classroom Promise.  You may also visit Bob Sornson  and Maria Dismondy at their websites to learn more strategies about empowering children.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Books for Military Children Who Deal with Deployment

It is a heartbreaking time for children to brave a hug and plant a kiss on their mommy, daddy, brother or sister, as they head for deployment overseas. Sometimes they know the routine, because their goodbyes are for second and third times. The children have a tendency to grow up quickly.  There are extra chores and responsibilities.  They wait for e-mails, letters, and telephone calls.  But, it’s important  that their main job is to be a regular kid, go to school, and have fun.  There are a number of good books published for kids.  I hope the ones I’ve selected to review will become a welcomed resource to help children through the toughest times of deployment.

Night Catch, by Brenda Ehrmantraut is a timeless treasure that will help children cope with  separation and embrace the power of love that keeps them connected to loved ones.  It is written in lyrical rhyme, which works beautifully with the story and illustrations.  The illustrations by Vicki Wehrman are breathtaking and magical.  The book is for children 3 to 9 years of age.

When a military father is deployed, he creates a nighttime routine with his son to keep their hearts connected while they are so far apart.   The father recruits the help of the North Star to play a nightly game of catch with his son.  Every night before the son goes to bed, he closes his eyes, and visualizes the North Star, Polaris.  His Dad tells him to “Breathe in deep, then blow out hard to send that North Star sailing far….Then close your eyes and have sweet dreams of playing  catch amid moonbeams…The star will travel all the night while you are sleeping, tucked in tight.”   As the son sleeps, the father goes about his work and patiently waits for his day to end so that he can catch the North Star as he spots it in the night sky, and then send it back to his son.  When his tour of duty ends, he  blows a final puff of air, boards a plane and races that star home to his son.  A beautiful story written to remind us how we all are connected, and to be aware of these connections — even through a game.

A Paper Hug, written by Stephanie Skolmoski and colorfully illustrated by her daughter,  Anneliese Bennion, who have both lived through a family deployment.  It is a real keeper for military families, and for children  3 to 8 years of age.

The story  is about  the stressful times that are unique to military families.   It  follows a father who is notified about an upcoming deployment overseas.   What makes this book a tad bit different, is the author involves the child in every stage of preparation for the father’s deployment.  The great thing about this book, is that it emphasizes the importance of expressing  emotions — that it is okay to cry and be angry.  The mother and son search for special items to pack for Dad, so that he can remember them while he is gone.   The child comes up with a special gift for his dad — a paper hug.  There are instructions on how to make a paper hug, along with a poem that your child can include.   I applaud the author for such a creative  and special idea for families.   The message is empowering.

The Invisible  Strings,  is written by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Geoff Stevenson.  The book is for children 3 to 8 years of age, who have been separated from a parent because of a deployment, or have lost a parent or loved to death.

This book is among my favorites, because it delivers a heartwarming and compelling message to children that they are never separated from a loved one.  This is because  “people who love each other are always connected by invisible strings made of love.”  And these strings reach all over the world from heart to heart and remain forever.    I really appreciate the message in this book because it is more about love than separation.  It is also introduces a beautiful visualization technique for kids.