Helping Kids Work Things Out
One of the more delicate and often painful developmental tasks
of early childhood is learning how to cope with fights with friends.
Feelings are very intense. Coping strategies are relatively
unformed. And the perspective time brings hasn't had a chance to
develop. Two recent picture books can be very helpful.
Ever play telephone where a line of kids take turns whispering
something into the next person's ear? Chances are the message will
significantly mutate during the retellings. That's the plight of the
feisty protagonist of Liz Rosenberg's What James Said. She's heard by
quite a complex chain that her very best friend--make that her former
best friend--thinks that she thinks she's perfect. Well she's going
to ignore him. But that makes for a very long day.
Jane Yolan's How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends capitalizes on sense
of humor and fascination with prehistoric beasts. Readers are
presented with the dilemma: "How does a dinosaur keep his best friend
when a terrible fight just might signal the end?" In the first pages
the dinos are seen reacting very badly, much to the consternation of
the human children and teacher observing them. The latter ones show
much better solutions, leading up to, "Good hugs and more
keep a friend, dinosaur."
Both these fine books would make useful additions to school and
public libraries and the private collections of parents like me who
had the audacity to give birth to more than one child.
On a personal note, right after the Village Green dedication and Rick
Charette concert we had Artsapalooza. In venues all over downtown
(restaurants, library, churches, outdoor spaces) we had four sets of
acts. I had Harvest Moon (they make the most delicious soups and
sandwiches) from 7:40. I sang my adaptation of the grinch song:
you're a mean one, Mr. Trump and read a bunch of my poetry. I had a
perfect audience, mostly college and high school students. They were
so enthusiastic, reacting to the elements in my pieces and being easy
to engage in conversation between. I was in seventh heaven. After
they gave me super positive feedback. Even the kitchen staff was
impressed. Like my friend Rick, I know how to captivate an audience.
A great big shout out goes out to all who made Artsapalooza a night to
remember, especially the planners whose diligent behind the scenes
work made the event look effortless.
Sent from my iPod