Picture books aim to help children with social, emotional learning

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“LIKING MYSELF,” by Pat Palmer Ed.D., illustrated by Sue Rama, Boulden Publishing, April 2, 2011, $12.95 (ages 5-11)

Do you like yourself? Do you know why? Why not?

“Liking Myself” helps kids explore their emotions in a healthy way. Written by Dr. Pat Palmer, a psychologist and founder of the Assertiveness Training Institute of Denver, this book gives kids the guidelines to make healthful choices for themselves.

Divided into six parts, “Liking Myself” focuses on liking yourself, feelings, feeling talk, allowing, body talk and letting go. At the end of each part, children are asked to take some time and go over what they’ve read.

One of the parts that stands out is letting kids know that no matter what sex they are, it’s OK to show their emotions. Also of note are the interactive writing activities and games.

“THE MOUSE, THE MONSTER AND ME: Assertiveness for young people,” by Pat Palmer Ed.D., illustrated by Sue Rama, Boulden Publishing, April 2, 2011, $12.95 (ages 8 and up)

“The Mouse, the Monster and Me” picks up where “Liking Myself” leaves off. It helps young readers identify aggressive and passive behaviors in themselves and in others.

Through the book, readers learn to identify their strengths and the power to make choices for themselves. Rights and responsibilities, asking for what you want, saying “no,” dealing with criticism and compliments, and being yourself are also addressed.

The bulk of both “Liking Myself” and “The Mouse, the Monster and Me” is fun and informative. Most children would probably never really notice they’re actually learning something.

The one drawback, however, is the front pages of both. There’s a lot of “justification pages” — pages that tell what kids and adults are saying, a note from Dr. Louise Hart and recommended reading for grown-ups. It’s a lot to wade through at the beginning and some of it would have been fine at the end rather than the beginning.

Neither book is a traditional picture book. Rather, they are more interactive and cater to learning about oneself. In many cases, they also make an excellent selection for ongoing family activities.

© 2011 – 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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