I love how authentic literature allows us to explore challenging topics and inspires conversations. There are so many amazing books out there that touch on elements critical to enhancing relational skills among boys and girls – issues at the heart of the Sanford Harmony Program. Beginning today, the first Tuesday of every month will be dedicated to these wonderful and useful pieces of literature ranging from children’s fiction to adult non-fiction. These monthly book posts are not intended to be book reviews, but rather “shout –outs” to fine works that provide opportunities to think and talk about matters that contribute to bringing boys and girls together and promoting healthy relationships.
Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, is a wonderful example of children’s literature that deals with a significant relationship topic – the issue of teasing and bullying. While it may not offer the perfect solutions for dealing with a bully, this story allows for important perspective-taking opportunities and self-reflections for preschoolers through second graders. This great picture book inspires some important questions to ask young kids and encourages valuable conversations:
How did Chrysanthemum feel when her classmates made fun of her name?
How would you feel if you were teased?
Did other kids join in the teasing or did they try to stop it?
What would you do if you heard your friends making fun of someone else?
What would you do if someone did something that hurt your feelings?
Although the characters in this story are mice, boys and girls can easily relate to this subject matter. This book allows kids to explore feelings associated with being teased and develop strategies for dealing with name-calling. And with some strategic conversation guiding, this book can also inspire kids to stand-up for others and resolve to respect everyone’s feelings.
Other great children’s picture books that deal with teasing, name-calling and/or bullying (for the 7 and under crowd):
Purplicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann
Bullies Never Win by Margery Cuyler
The Meanest Thing To Say by Bill Cosy
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
Hooway For Wodney Wat by Helen Lester