Posts tagged ‘empathy’

#MEETTHEAUTHOR

I have begun a new feature on my blog. Rather than simply reading and reviewing family-friendly books for my audience, I will be taking a peek behind the scenes at the writer. After all, we all want to know the mysterious person behind the curtain. So without delay, let me introduce you to the talented Becky Benishek.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Becky Benishek  has a B.A. degree in English and loves to create stories that  help children believe in themselves and also develop compassion and empathy for others. This goes for adults, too! She also writes adult science fiction and fantasy stories. In her day job, she manages online communities that help people connect to people and resources they need. Becky is married with guinea pigs.

About the book:

The Squeezor is Coming!

**BRONZE MEDAL WINNER: Children’s Books – Social Issues, in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest**
**Five Star Readers’ Favorite**

The Squeezor is a monster who just wants to give hugs: Great, big, wrap-his-arms-around-you-twice, squeezy hugs. The trouble is, he looks so scary, even other monsters run away!

This makes the Squeezor very sad. He can’t help how he looks. How can he get everyone to look past his appearance and be his friend?

Then he gets an idea: What if it’s not about what he wants, but about what the other monsters might need? Join the Squeezor in Ghastly Gigapolis as he changes first impressions for the better–his own included.

The Squeezor is Coming! is illustrated by Matt Fiss and is available on Amazon and through MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing. It is also available in dyslexic font.

Review:
“Far too many kids feel as unlovable as the Squeezor, and this story is for them. Benishek’s droll and humorous story will please everyone in the room and maybe especially those adults who are still kids at heart. Matt Fiss’s brilliantly grotesque illustrations make this book one to linger over and read again and again and again. Literally. It’s that good.” –Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BECKY AND HER WORK VISIT:

Website: https://beckybenishek.com
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/beckybenishekMacLaren-Cochrane Publishing (children’s books): https://mcp-store.com/becky-benishek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beckybenishekauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beckybenishek/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckybenishek
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLN82aT3Az157cKCNUvRs9qdWfD83Q4OFj
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16364162.Becky_Benishek
Black Hare Press (science fiction & fantasy): https://www.blackharepress.com/becky-benishek/

FREEDOM AT A PRICE

One Step at a Time

Written by Sara Y. Aharon

Illustrated by Bryn Pennetti

 

Emma loves butterflies. She is elated to find out the new class pet is a beautiful rainbow butterfly.  Even though her teacher has warned the class not to open the lid of the tank, Emma cannot resist. The butterfly finds its way to the top and escapes to freedom.

Emma feels sad and anxious. She confides in her dad, who tells her she must be brave and tell her classmates what happened. His advice is to put one foot in front of another. Emma does just that, stomping, jumping, and twirling her way to school. When she arrives, she explains what happened. How will her teacher and classmates react?

This book teaches elementary school children to be brave and honest. Emma shows empathy toward the feelings of her classmates. She provides a good example for children who are afraid to admit their mistakes. The illustrations are bright and multicultural. Recommended for children ages four through eight.

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A FRESH START

Dexter’s New Home: A Children’s Picture Story for 3-7 year olds about Moving

Written by D L Madson

Illustrated by Rajiv Kumar

Dexter is dismayed to find that hedgehogs have moved into his home, and they won’t allow him to come back inside. Dexter searches the forest for a new home. The next day, Dexter finds a cute house with a fence around it and decides to buy it. The rabbit still feels sad and lonely until the squirrels tell another rabbit named Ben that someone new has moved into the neighborhood. Ben welcomes Dexter with flowers and invites Ben to visit him for dinner. Meanwhile Ben had convinced his friends, James and Molly to bring gifts to share with Dexter. Dexter learns how his new neighbors share many of his interests and he is now happy and secure in his new home.

This book teaches children about having empathy and that something that might seem scary like moving may turn out to be a good thing. The illustrations are lovely and appropriate for the target audience.

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FAST FRIENDS

The Dog Gang Collection

Written by Yael Rosman

This book is a collection of stories focusing on the adventures of three dog friends, Bowie, Cheo, and Zaza. They are different in breed, looks, and personality, but they have one thing in common, they meet to romp and play at the same park with their owners Morin, Benny, and Shila Each of these tales was originally published as a separate story.

Roseman personifies her canine characters. In each of the tales, one of the dogs becomes a lead character. By the time the story ends, children learn life lessons based on the behavior of these canine friends. Readers learn why it is important not to show off, to work as a team, to care about each other’s feelings, and how each of us is special and unique.

The illustrations are colorful and well-executed, but sometimes the text and illustrations don’t line up properly. Readers may be confused because illustrations from the first story are repeated in the third story. This collection runs more than two hundred pages, which is way too long for the age of the targeted bedtime story audience. I would recommend this book as better suited to readers in the six to eight-year-old range.

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RIGHT OR WRONG?

E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About What Matters Most

Written by Ian James Corlett

Illustrated by R.A. Holt

 

The author is a Children’s TV writer and animator by trade. Distressed by the fact that schools no longer include ethics and civics teaching in their curriculum, he decided that he and his wife must assume that responsibility. Many years ago when his children were young, he and his wife decided to set one night a week as a family discussion time. Corlett developed a series of twenty-six stories that exemplified different aspects of moral behavior. Following each story, the children engaged in interactive questions for discussion as well as suggested activities.

The following is a list of the topics discussed in these stories: honesty, understanding, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, tact, politeness, loyalty, gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, empathy, charity, trust, willingness, respect, fairness, acceptance, patience, and effort. There are simple colorful illustrations of a young child like the character of Lucy or Eliot featured in each story. A few famous quotations are sprinkled throughout.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend time getting to know what their children are thinking as well as fulfilling a necessary parental responsibility to guide and form a child’s character and values. Recommended for all ages in the family to enjoy and share.

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GIVING FROM THE HEART

Gift of Gift: Super Amazing Princess Heroes

Written by Sanjay Nambiar

Illustrated by Sedi Pak

A picture book or early chapter book centering on a trio of princesses who use their super powers to accomplish great things. Kinney, Sammie, and Oceania have just completed building a much-needed school in Uganda. Suddenly Kinney becomes ill; Doctor K’s diagnosis is a hole in her heart. Because the hospital in Uganda is not equipped for the surgery, Kinney along with friends return to the United States. When the girls learn that their friend Gift in Uganda has been diagnosed with the same medical problem, they decide to enlist the help of Betty, their mentor, who is the Fairy Mother Superstar Queen. They return to Uganda resolving to use their super speed, super strength, and flying powers along with the doctors and engineers in Uganda to construct a modern hospital. Gift’s heart surgery is successful, and the princesses’ Fairy Mother has a special gift in store for Gift.

This book is beautifully illustrated with bright,  multicultural photos that will appeal to non-readers. The text is done in large print and is easy to read for the beginning reader. While the story is clearly fictional, the lessons of empathy, selflessness, and friendship will inspire little girls who want to be princesses in their own right.

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TINY BUT FEARLESS

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

Written by Karin Kaufman

A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.

This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.

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