Posts tagged ‘bullying’

THE TIMES ARE CHANGING

A Letter to My Fifth Grade Self (The Diary of Janie Ray Book 2)

Written by Lila Segal

Janie Ray gets a diary from her mom as a gift. She has the same problems most fifth graders experience. Janie spends most of her time with her best friend, Sheila. But fifth grade is full of social anxiety. There are snobs, bullies, teacher problems and family adjustments.

One thing about Janie is very different. When she was seven, she found a medallion. Together with Sheila. she has developed a secret language. Soon they would find a connection to the medallion that would allow them to travel back in time. Janie would learn about the perils of interfering with events and the responsibility of being the keeper of the medallion.

The book is a coming of age novel, mixed with fantasy and preteen relationships. It moves along fairly quickly and ends with a cliffhanger that will lead to the next book in the series. I did not read the series books prior to this one and did not find that a problem.

Recommended for readers ages eight through twelve.

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A HARROWING HOMECOMING

Welcome to Doom Farms (Bonegarden Book 1)

Written by Karsten Knight

Kayla Dunn had just begun fifth grade in Boston when her parents inform her that they were achieving a lifelong dream to buy a farm in her father’s hometown of rural Orchard Falls.

Trouble begins almost immediately. Kayla is determined to outsmart Charlie Slade, whose family has always won the local pumpkin growing festival. After Kayla plants her pumpkin seeds, it rapidly becomes clear these are no ordinary pumpkins.

Monsters, giant pumpkins, aliens, and family feuds pepper the plot of this middle-grade adventure. This book is an exciting page turner. I would recommend it as Halloween party story or a classroom read-aloud as well.

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LET YOUR IMAGINATION SOAR

Where Dragons Fly: Land of Stars Book 1

Written by Hannah Sparks

Illustrated by Katherine Newton

Eight-year-old Ethan lives with his hard-working dad. Ethan is not looking forward to summer when he will be alone six days a week. Ethan does not make friends easily; the neighborhood kids make fun of him because his last name is Broom.

Life changes when Ethan’s dad comes home with a box that he found. It contains two glass dragons. Ethan’s dad hopes they will entertain his son. Ethan does not think much of this gift until he picks one of the dragons up and is transported to a magical land called Steorra. He gets the opportunity to ride on a dragon, meet a talking penguin, and envision a sky filled with stars.

When Ethan’s neighbor, Amelia, comes to visit, she picks up the orange dragon. They are both transported to Steorra where more adventures and new characters await them. Amelia encourages Ethan to be more outgoing. The book ends with the promise of many more adventures.

I would classify this book as a beginning chapter book. It contains just over one hundred pages filled with black and white illustrations. It is also a good choice for reluctant readers or adults seeking a fun read-aloud that can be utilized as a serial bedtime story for younger children.

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#HOW TO FOSTER LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN CHILDREN – #2 – SET AN EXAMPLE

Parents and teachers want children to be independent thinkers. They encourage children to develop their own opinions and have the courage to stand up for them. Whether you are working with children who are yours or you’re a caretaker for someone else’s children, learning how to lead them effectively is important. You may want to lead your kids to practice a healthy lifestyle, develop better communication skills, or something else. In any case, good leadership is a way to reach your goals with the children in your care.

How do you become a good leader for kids? It can be hard to know if you’re not used to it, or if you didn’t have strong leaders when you were a child. Here are some tips.

Set an Example

You’ve probably heard “lead by example,” but that means more than just doing something and hoping your kids will notice and imitate your behavior. It also means being purposeful in setting an example, and you’ll need to stop practicing certain behaviors and pay attention to what you say.

For instance, if you want your children to be patient with others – an important leadership attribute – then take care that you’re patient with them. If you want your children to be able to make decisions like a leader, then make sure you’re not making all of their decisions for them. Don’t be a helicopter parent. Permit your children to make mistakes and learn from them. To lead by example, you need to think about more than just living out healthy, positive lifestyle choices (although that’s important, too). It’s also important to set an example of how to treat others.

Include Them

Whether you are a teacher or a parent, including the children in your care is important to instill leadership. How do you include them? First, let them help. In the classroom, this might be a simple task like collecting papers and passing out papers. Students might be allowed to write an assignment on the board for the teacher. At home, let your children be a part of your daily routines, helping you wash the car and clean the house. After all, these are life skills, and those are the building blocks for good leadership.

Delegate

Good leaders know how to delegate responsibilities and tasks. In your home or classroom, give kids many different responsibilities. You can set things up so that the children in your care have a job to complete, and they have to delegate tasks to others to finish it. A different approach could be to simply explain the task, and give a job to each child to get it done. They will see the value of delegating. Perhaps, you might may explain that many jobs cannot be completed by one person without help from others. Each child participating will still have the satisfaction of helping to get something done.

Allow Them to Help Others

Wherever you can, let your kids help each other without being bossy or bullying. In fact, being bossy is not a good leadership skill. This is important to emphasize when you are working with children in different age groups. Teach them how to help others in an appropriate way, and then set up a scenario where that help can happen. When older siblings learn how to mentor rather than supervise a younger sibling, they learn how to transfer this skill from the family to the outside world. This method works in the classroom or at home with friends and/or siblings.

To Sum Up

Children are like sponges. They soak up what they see and hear in the world around them. Adults are their first role models. Parents, teachers, and caretakers set the example for the youth who will become tomorrow’s future. We will reap what we sow.

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WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT

Kid Legends (True Tales of Childhood from the Books Kid Artists, Kid Athletes, Kid Presidents, and Kid Authors

Written by David Stabler

Illustrated by Doogie Horner

This book will inspire children to address their fears and reaffirm their aspirations. It is divided into three parts. The first part explores difficulties overcome by J.K. Rowling, Peyton Manning, and Charles Schultz before they became successful. The second part discusses the struggles of Pablo Picasso, Muhammed Ali, and Ulysses Grant during childhood and how they overcame their handicaps to achieve fame. Part Three examines the role that family life played in the early lives of Jeff Kinney, John F. Kennedy, and Gabby Douglas. Before closing, the author and illustrator reveal facts about themselves

The illustrations are rich in detail and humorous. They are fun to look at and read. This book is perfect for middle-grade readers who are dealing with the same type of issues, bullying, family and peer relationships, and self-esteem. The book also provides an opportunity for jump-starting group discussions.

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MISHAPS AND MAYHEM

Down with the Dance (Middle School Mayhem)

Written by C.T. Walsh

This book is the first in a new series. The story opens on the first day of middle school for Ben. He is smart and clever but haunted by his older brother, Derek. Derek is just eleven months older. Unlike Ben, he is athletic and popular.

Middle-school readers will delight in the colorful characters like Mr. Buthaire, the principal students love to outsmart. Ben desperately wants to take Sophie to the Halloween Dance but there is a plot to derail it and destroy Ben’s plan. The book contains lots of humor, sibling and peer rivalry, and smart kids determined to outsmart the adults in their lives.

This book is a good choice for readers in grades four through six, though reluctant readers and many young adults will also find it an interesting read.

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SIZING THINGS UP

Short or Tall Doesn’t Matter at All

Written by Asaf Rozanes

Mia is very short. This distresses her because her classmates often make fun of her and exclude her from activities.

Mia reveals her problem to her father. He tells her a fairytale about the sun and moon and how they became friends. One day a situation unfolds at school that proves to the other children there is value in being small. The other children learn an important lesson from Mia. They now understand she also has many special talents. Size does not matter.

This picture book is written in rhyme. It works, for the most part, but the story would have been just as effective if written in prose. Recommended especially for students in the six to ten age group but an important lesson for middle-school students as well.

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FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Celestina, the Astronaut Ballerina: A Kids Read Aloud Picture Book about Space, Astronauts and Following your Dreams

Written by Donald Jacobson

Illustrated by Graham Evans

Celestina is a little girl with big dreams. Her aspiration is to become an astronaut. Unfortunately, her friends at school belittle her and adults advise her to downsize her expectations. Why doesn’t she become a ballerina instead?

After a time, Celestina gives up on her dreams and settles in to learn ballet. That changes one day when a new teacher arrives. She counsels her class to dream big. Celestina returns to her real goal. Now she works hard and studies hard. Will she achieve her dream to become an astronaut.

This book includes lots of multicultural characters and vibrant illustrations that are appropriate for the elementary grade target audience. The book reinforces the image of a strong female role model and builds self-esteem in young girls.

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#WARMING UP…

Kai and His Magical Bobo (Kai Panducorn Book 2)

Written by Kathy V. Tran

Illustrated by Aiki Tran

Kai comes from a magical family. His father is a panda from a warrior family focusing on strength and bravery. Kai’s mother is a unicorn from a family entrusted with maintaining peace and balance. Today he is excited and nervous. Five-year-old Kai will begin school.

Kai stuffs Bobo, his blanket into his backpack. Bobo gives him courage and the strength to be a brave adventurer. Mrs. Kathy introduces him to the other children. When a handicapped fox walks into the room and falls, Kai does not join in the laughter of the other children. He decides to cheer him up. Kai will soon learn that the children have fears like his own. What does Kai find out about himself? Can Kai translate what he learns to the wider community in which he lives?

The illustrations remind me of Manga-style cartoons. The text is a combination of dialogue and character thoughts. I would recommend this book to parents of children beginning nursery school or kindergarten. Children a little bit older can use the discussion questions at the end to explore mindfulness concepts and read the text independently.

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SECRET SANTA

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Written and Illustrated by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This Christmas themed story adds a nice touch to the Sophie Washington series of books. These chapter books are geared to middle-grade readers. The black and white line drawings enhance the tale and provide added incentives for beginning readers.

Sophie is now a sixth-grader at Xavier Academy. Her younger brother, Cole, is sometimes a thorn in her side, but she loves him dearly. Sophie steps in to protect him from a new neighbor who is bullying Cole. The main part of the plot involves a series of Christmas gifts that mysteriously appear on Sophie’s doorstep. The signature says from your Secret Santa. Sophie is puzzled. She and her girlfriends try to figure out the mystery. Then she learns that another boy in school is also receiving gifts. Sophie’s grandmother helps them to solve the mystery when a clue emerges. The giver is certainly not anyone they might have suspected.

This book is a beautiful story portraying the true Christmas spirit. Lots of wholesome family values, like supportive family relationships, bullying, and preteen angst are addressed. I highly recommend the book to lift holiday spirits. If you enjoy it, check out the entire Sophie Washington book series.

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