Grow Kind, Grow Grateful, Grow Happy by John Lasser and Sage Foster-Lasser

Grow Kind

Magination Press, Fiction, Mar. 3, 2020

Ages: 4-8

Synopsis: Blackberries for Keisha. Sunflowers for Mr. Carrol. Ripe tomatoes fo Ms. Stevens. Peppers and corn for Matt and Mitch. Potatoes for Dr. Thompson.

Kiko works hard in her garden. She grows, nurtures, cultivates and harvests her fresh fruits and veggies and shares her bounty with her friends, neighbors, and family. She shows readers how easy it is to be kind to others, and how kindness can create a happiness within themselves and with everyone around.

Grow Grateful 

Fiction, Oct. 15, 2018

Synopsis: Head off with Kiko on a camping trip with her class and how she figures out what being grateful is and what it feels like. Throughout the trip, Kiko discovers different things she appreciates about her family, friends, and experiences. The warm feeling of gratefulness can come from anywhere — a beautiful sunset, toasted marshmallows, help from a friend when you’re feeling afraid, or sharing kindness with others. Kiko grows grateful.

 

Grow Happy

Fiction, Feb. 13, 2017

Synopsis: Kiko is a gardener. She takes care of her garden with seeds, soil, water, and sunshine. In Grow Happy, Kiko also demonstrates how she cultivates happiness, just like she does in her garden. Using positive psychology and choice theory, this book shows children that they have the tools to nurture their own happiness and live resiliently. Just as Kiko possesses the resources needed—seeds, soil, water—to build a thriving garden, she also has the tools to nurture her own happiness—including social support, choices, and problem-solving skills.

What I like about this series of books:

This is a perfect time to share John Lasser and Sage Foster-Lasser’s charming series for children about cultivating kindness, gratitude and joy in their own lives, and sharing it with others. Children are learning very early that the world is a tough place in which to grow up. Giving kids the tools to get it done will be a tremendous boost. And these three books contribute to that effort in a delightful way.

The narrative flows effortlessly. “My name is Kiko. I grow kind. I will show you how, but first, I have a question for you.” Christopher Lyles’s cheerful and textured illustrations invite children to spend time pondering each theme! Happy and colorful, they fit the tone for each book.

Each book features a lovable protagonist, Kiko, who is of Asian heritage. She appears to be adopted because her parent are caucasian. The series features a cast of supporting characters that are diverse. She also guides children through her adventures.

Resources: Each book includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with information that will help create opportunities to explore the social and emotional skills that are important to our overall well being: kindness, gratitude and happiness. In these books children will learn how to develop these skills within themselves and in their relationships with others.

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

*Review copies provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

Princess Rosie’s Rainbows by Bette Killion

Princess Rosie51j68JTFCaL__SX399_BO1,204,203,200_Princess Rosie’s Rainbows

Bette Killion, Author

Kim Jacobs, Illustrator

Wisdom Tales, Fiction, Oct. 7, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Fairy Tales, Princesses, Happiness, Rainbows

Opening: “Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom there lived a loving King and Queen. They ruled in a magical land where rainbows stretched from peak to ocean. Each day they wished for a child to share their castle.”

Synopsis: On the day the princess was born, a full rainbow spanned the kingdom. The King and Queen named their daughter the Princess of Rose-colored Light. But everyone called her Princess Rosie. She grew up loving rainbows and was happiest when they appeared in the sky. On the days no rainbows appeared, her smile turned into a frown and she felt sad. Princess Rosie had everything she could ever want — a dog, books, music, toys and games — but what she really wanted was a forever rainbow. Her father offered his people a bag of gold if anyone could bring the princess a forever rainbow. Visitors from other lands traveled to the castle with rainbows made of silk, glass, and jewels. Some were pictures in books, banners you could wave and food you could eat.  But Princess Rosie wanted a real rainbow. Her parents wondered if their daughter would ever be happy again. One day a wise woman from the farthest village arrived to talk with the princess. Perhaps she held the secret to making Rosie smile again.

Why I like this book:

Bette Killion’s original fairy tale is a captivating read at bedtime. It will engage children as they try to figure out what is a forever rainbow and what will make Princess Rosie happy if the royal riches don’t make her smile. This beautiful tale packs a powerful message for children about the source of true and lasting happiness lies within. This is an important lesson for children to learn at a young age. The text is written in prose and children will find the language appealing in this memorable tale.

You can tell by the book cover that Kim Jacobs’ illustrations are stunning and magical. Each illustration is intricately detailed and will whisk children’s imaginations to another period in time. The soft, warm pastels compliment the story. This is a beautiful collaboration between author and illustrator.

Resources: Have a discussion with children about what makes them happy. Is it something that is material and they will tire of or is something uniquely special that makes them feel warm inside and last forever. There is a simple science lesson at the end of the book about rainbows and how to make your own rainbow.

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

Bucketfilling — Family and Classroom Books Encourage Positive Behavior

I stumbled upon two very similar books based on a concept I admit I was not familiar with, bucketfilling, designed to help parents and teachers focus on building character in pre-school and elementary school children.   I did further research and discovered that there is a programs for teachers to use the concept in their classrooms — and there are examples of how it is being used in schools.  Since I just wrote a post July 5 on The Family Virtue Guide, I thought this would be a nice companion.  It essentially works with many virtues/values we hope to instill in children.   This is a great school project!

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids,  is written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing for pre-schoolers to age 8 years.   Actually the author says that  filling the bucket begins at birth when parents love, hold, touch, care, play, and read to their children.  You are filling an invisible bucket for your child as well as your own.   As children grow, it is important that they are also taught to love, be kind, helpful, unselfish and respectful of others.   McCloud wrote this book and designed a program to teach the daily practice of bucketfilling David Messing’s illustrations  are colorful, bold and captivating and support the message.  The characters are multi-cultural and have disabilities.  There also is a companion guide for young children, Fill a Bucket.

This book visually conveys a very simple but profound message children will understand — and it’s fun because the illustrations speak to you!   Everyday people from all over the world, walk around carrying an invisible bucket.  You can’t see it, but it’s there.  That means children,  parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, classmates and people you don’t even know, all have an invisible bucket.  There is only one purpose for the bucket — to hold your good thoughts and feelings about yourself.   You fill your bucket when you  are kind to someone, smile, give someone a hug, listen when they are sad, run an errand or say hello to a stranger.  You fill someone else’s bucket, but you also fill your own bucket.   When you feel sad, upset and lonely your bucket is empty.   It also can be empty when you are mean or hurtful to someone.  That’s called “bucket dipping.”   Then everyone’s bucket is empty.   But, when you are a bucket filler, you make your home, school, community and world  a better place to be.   

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids, is written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, Ph.D.  and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning.   Rath co-wrote the book with the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, who has shared his “bucket” story since the 1960s.  The original book was an adult non-fiction, which became the basis for this children’s story book.  Reckmeyer  is Executive Director of the Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center for 25 years, and has helped thousands of kids build lives around their strengths.  The authors have written this book in story form.

Felix is building a block tower and his persistent little sister wants to help.  He repeatedly tells her NO!    Fed up, feisty Anna grabs her doll and takes a big whack at the tower and it tumbles.   Felix yells for Grandpa, who  begins to tell Felix about the invisible buckets that everyone has over their heads.  He tells Felix he  just emptied his sister’s bucket with his actions.  The next morning  Felix wakes up and  sees a small bucket floating above his head.  The bucket is full and as he goes through his day,  he begins to see how his interactions with other kids, empty and fill his bucket, drop by drop.   He  wonders what it feels like when you have an empty bucket.  Once he learns how easy it is to be helpful to his classmates and his sister, he is excited and happy.   As Felix realizes that every drop he helped put into someone else’s bucket, he felt a drop in his own bucket.