Category Archives: manners

Teach love with books

reading-together

by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

If there is one thing that the world needs most, especially right now, it is love. Love for our family, friends, and those we cross paths with in our daily lives. Love for the plants and animals of the earth, and for the earth itself. Love for the opportunities we have and the struggles we overcome. And love for ourselves so that we may embrace this life and radiate our love to make this world a better place.

There are many children’s books that explore and celebrate the topic of love. Sharing these stories with children helps them understand and embody the act and feeling of love so that they, too, can share it with the world. These books lend themselves to wonderful discussions about love, kindness, and what it means to care for others.

A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother work together to save and save until they can afford to buy one big, comfortable chair that all three of them can enjoy.

Pinduli by Janell Cannon
Pinduli’s mama has always told her that she’s the most beautiful hyena ever. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra don’t think so. Why else would they make her feel so rotten about her big ears, her fuzzy mane, and her wiggly stripes? Poor Pinduli just wants to disappear–and she tries everything she can think of to make that happen. Yet nothing goes her way. Nothing, that is, until a case of mistaken identity lets her show the creatures of the African savanna how a few tiny words–bad or good–can create something enormous.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Can one child’s good deed change the world?
It can when she’s Ordinary Mary- an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house- who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others, one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage, one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people, including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries, and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually, Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.

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Mind Your “P’s” and “Q’s”

Duckling“What are the magic words?” Do you remember an adult in your life reminding you to say “please” and “thank you” when you were young? Those magic words go a long way in befriending other people.

Having good manners shows others that you see them, care about them, and appreciate what they are doing. Manners are all about respect. “Thank you for the present, Grandma.” “ Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so loud.” “Can you please pass the butter?”

It would be great if our kids were born knowing how to speak politely, but young children have a very small view of the world with themselves at the center. It takes years for children to develop the maturity to think of how their actions are affecting others and to care about other people’s feelings.

The best way to teach your children manners is by your own example, and by giving them the words to say when occasions arise. Reading some of these books about being polite will help too, as you both see what makes each story’s characters have good or bad manners.

“Mr. Wolf and the Three Bears” by Jan Fearnley. Mr. Wolf plans a big party for Baby Bear’s birthday with cake, sandwiches, biscuits, and Huff Puff Cakes (all recipes are included in the book). It’s lovely, until someone crashes the party. Enter Goldilocks! She budges, pushes, is messy, and inconsiderate. Goldilocks cheats at games and is just plain rude! How can Mr. Wolf save the party?

“Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer. This is a kid-friendly dictionary of some choice words that are good to know when learning how to be polite. Each word is illustrated and described in ways children will understand such as, “Greedy means taking all the cookies for myself. –Hee, hee, hee. Yum, yum, yum. Generous means offering some to others. –Please take one. You too. Anyone else want a cookie?”

“How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. First we see how sloppy and careless dinosaurs can be at the table; then we see all the ways that dinosaurs can be very neat and polite when eating. You may see your own little dinosaur in the pages of this book!

“The Duckling Gets a Cookie?!” by Mo Willems. The Pigeon character that stars in many of Willems’ books isn’t in the title, but is featured in this book as the hungry, curious, and frustrated onlooker. How does Duckling get a cookie, just by asking? (Clue: it has something to do with the magic word!)

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December 7, 2012 · 5:27 pm