Yet again, the folks from Free Spirit Publishing have allowed me to review a FANTASTIC set of books for children. The “Best Behavior” series teaches children important behavioral lessons in simple, child-friendly language.
In “Hands are Not For Hitting,”author Martine Agassi teaches children about the power of their actions, and encourages gentle and peaceful behavior. In a simple yet powerful way, Agassi lets children know how important their hands are, and talks about the many things are hands CAN do. She then lets children know that hands are NOT for hitting, and that hitting is NEVER okay. One thing I loved, is that she lets children know that it is okay to have the feelings that sometimes make us want to hit. As a parent, I love her simple reminder that when a child hits, he or she is typically having a strong feeling or emotion, and does not know another way to express themselves or let it out. True story- As I was reading this book to my daughter, my son came over, and hit her! Ironic huh? I was able to use the strategies and reminders from this book to help him work through what he was feeling, which was jealousy. I had my daughter share with him how the hitting made her feel, and had my son apologize.
Another thing I loved about this book was its interactive quality. Throughout the pages, the author asks a variety of questions, truly engaging your child with the story. I loved the discussions my daughter and I were able to have while we read. She was able to share ideas of positive things to do with her hands, ideas of things other than hitting to do when she feels upset, and ways she can react if someone hits her. I love the message of non-violence this book promotes. All too often, kids are taught to “fight back” or “stick up for themselves,” in a confrontational way. I loved that “Hands Are Not For Hitting” teaches children positive methods of dealing with kids who hit, such as walking away, finding a grown-up, or letting the child know that “hands are not for hitting.” This is a great book to have in your personal collection whether you are a parent, teacher, or caregiver, and an excellent resource to refer to whenever your children or students need a reminder about calm and peaceful hands. There is also an excellent list of resources, ideas, and tips for parents in the back section of the book, further equipping parents to raise non-violent and loving children.
I was also blessed to receive and review, “Words Are Not For Hurting,” by Elizabeth Verdick. This book teaches children about the power of their words (a lesson grown-ups need to learn too!) Verdick through simple child-friendly language teaches children how their words can help or hurt. Through her gentle wording and adorable and appealing illustrations from Marieka Heinlen, children are walked through examples of helpful and hurtful words, and are shown how their words can affect others. Children are empowered, and told that their words are their own, and that they can choose the kinds of words they want to say. I love that this book teaches children a few strategies to employ when they have used hurtful words, or when they have been hurt by words. I love the way children are encouraged to speak up and stand up for themselves and their feelings in a positive and helpful way when hurt, and are prompted to take responsibility for their hurtful words when they’ve made a mistake. I highly recommend this book for older toddlers through first or second grade students. This is a must-have for every home and classroom. Parents are given a selection of activities and tools to extend the lessons taught in the book. The author shares some excellent tips and ideas of how to further educate your child about the power of their words.
You can find both of these books, along with the other incredible titles in the “Best Behavior” series, on the Free Spirit Publishing website. You can select the extended paperback versions, suitable for children ages 4-7 for $11.95, or the board book versions for children ages 0-3 for $7.95. (The board book series includes titles such as “Diapers Are Not Forever,” “Pacifiers Are Not Forever,” and “Teeth Are Not For Biting.” ) Both versions are very affordable, and with the board book series, you have the option of purchasing the complete series at a discount!