My first post was not the one I had in mind, but what I finally ended up posting seems to have struck a chord with people.
I had a completely different list in mind, and a different first blog post in mind, but technology was not working with me last week… though try as I might (over and over and over again–literally losing most of the day)… and so I happened upon the idea of resilience, and how important that is to encourage and instill in our children.
As a mom and teacher, I find kids learn best when they infer things for themselves, by experience, or reading/watching a beloved character going through a similar experience. It’s not just an empathy thing, as wonderful as that is…
It’s more about having the distance to watch a situation play out because kids aren’t directly involved in it. That distance gives kids the safety to try the lesson on for themselves in their own ways, in their own time, with as many readings/viewings as they want.
One of my favorites on the list (and my son’s too) is Giraffes Can’t Dance. Seeing Gerald fall in the first few pages, and then proving to himself and others that he can overcome what he felt was impossible is euphorically triumphant, no matter how many times we read it.
The lyrical language builds momentum and gains power as the story progresses–emboldening Gerald and the readers. The illustrations mirror this progression with a major shift in Gerald’s facial expressions and postures. Not only do they work in perfect harmony, but both keep getting better with each read, making it a book we’re happy to read again and again. (And resilience is all about “going for it” again and again!)
Whenever I have the chance, whenever we see a giraffe in a picture or a play with a toy, I mention Gerald, and my son instantly smiles, because after so many readings, that feeling of triumph and resilience is the association we both make.
If you have any suggestions for other books to inspire resilience, or read any of the books mentioned in these last two posts, feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear from you.