As you may be aware The Duchess of York has been in the press recently but that is not what I am writing about today. Today I am writing about her books, specifically the Helping Hand series that she has authored and partnered with illustrator Ian Cunliffe to bring attention to significant issues facing every day kids. The four titles that were sent to me by the publisher ( or as my son tells it ” The UPS man brought me books!” ) deal with bullying, strangers, new sibling and going to school for the first time. I haven’t been paid or even asked to blog about this, just sent the books to check out free of charge.
Helping Hand Books: Ashley Learns About Strangers is all about wondering off and realizing too late that your parent is no where to be seen. The book addresses not just the emotions both parent and child experience but also the action a child should take in that situation. Ashley finds the security guard and asks for help, and is reunited with her mom. Something I wish the book included and failed to was telling a child never to leave the store if they are lost. In all the presentations that police have given to children in my years working with them that was always stressed. Never leave the store in an attempt to look for your parent. That said the tips at the back of the book for parents was helpful and even though in my post partum state I started crying thinking about this ever happening I am glad to have this book in my home library.
Helping Hand Books: Emily’s First Day of School is a a timely book for the coming months when many children of varying ages will be entering school for the first time . Although the book doesn’t specifically tell us Emily’s age she seems to be entering kindergarten since there are older children at her school , but this book will work with any child entering school or even going to a new school. I liked the story but it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was very predictable and I was hoping it would be a fresh take on this theme. My son liked it but of the 4 books it’s the only one I have read only twice. My main issues with the book is that while Emily seems to be entering kindergarten the daily activities seem more like preschool. The tips at the back of the book are great , I especially like the one that suggests parents practice routines like independently going to the bathroom, washing hands , putting on their coat etc… However the story doesn’t reflect these practical and useful suggestions, and I wish it did.
Helping Hand Books: Matthew and the Bullies both impressed me and left me wanting a little more. Overall this book does a good job addressing bullying and how it feels and how to deal with it. In it Matthew is bullied by 2 boys in his class and reluctant to tell his teacher or mom about it. That is the part I liked, I think the author did a good job portraying the feelings of a child who is bullied and wants to fix it themselves, feels shame but is also not sure how to fix things. I also really loved that the bullying affected Matthew by making him afraid to give a presentation to his class, it reminds readers that bullying isn’t just something that happens and stays on the playground. Where I wanted more was the resolution, it seemed too easy but perhaps that is in order to have children see that adults can and should get involved. My son learned a lot from this book and like the one about strangers I am glad i have it as a resource.
Helping Hand Books: Michael and His New Baby Brother has been read 200 times in the past few days. Okay maybe not 200 but at least 50, no lie. My son loves this book, I am sure because he has been a big brother for a whopping 22 days and can relate intimately to the story. What is interesting about this book is that it doesn’t focus on the pregnancy at all, which most books about new babies do. Instead it’s all about Micheal and his transition, and I like that at the start it even says that he wasn’t too interested in his mom’s bump. I think this would be a great book for families facing a new birth with siblings who are not interested in umbilical cords,the uterus, and going with mom to the OB. That said my son was way into all aspects of his sister’s arrival and still really enjoyed this book.