Thursday, 23 June 2011

Good Books for Tough Times

Partnership for Children has launched two free guides with suggestions for popular books for children aged 5-8, and children aged 9-12, to help them open up when they are experiencing hard times.  This is my review for both of them:

The Good Books for children aged 5-8 Guide
The forward in this is by Jacqueline Wilson, and the cover on it shows an adult reading to two children.  

The layout of this is easy to understand, with each section colour coded by a focal topic which the books within cover.  The sections are: 
Difficult feelings (anger, anxiety, jealousy and sadness)
Friendship and difference 
Change (new baby) 
Change (starting school) 
Change (growing up) 
Change (family break up) 
Loss and death.  

As you can see the topics covered are diverse and I know I can think of at least three topics (or more) we could have used this guide for in the past year.  The books for each of the sections are varied.  Some are books you'll probably know on sight, such as Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  

Each book has it's own column with it's picture, author & publisher details, reading age and interest level, as well as a quick review of the book.  There's a good variety of suggestions for the age range the guide is set at, (as well as a couple that are suggested as 3+) with at least one book per year group and it's not full of "self help" type books, but with books that children love to read and have read to them which leaves them with a moral, message or idea which could then be talked about.  As a parent I know there's books in here which we've thoroughly enjoyed, and also some which are staples in our children's reading diets!!  The guide will not only help you choose books for situations when they are needed, but also bring more variety of books to your child.

In a nutshell, I love this idea and the creation of the guides.  I know I'll find it useful for referring to to help our children through tough times.  Sometimes there are things that once a book is read, children will share and talk about and it makes the whole situation a lot more interactive rather than me just talking *to* them ,p  I'm really impressed with the successful collaboration on this.  Although it's published by the Partnership for Children, Book Trust and Zippy's Friends also took part.  

Both guides are available for free via the Partnership for Children's Website.  

The Good Books for Tough Times for Children aged 9-12
This one follows the same format to the one above inside, with two children reading on the cover.  The foreword on this one is written by Michael Morpurgo, who sums it up really well - children love a good book.  Topics the suggested books cover are:
Friendship and difference
Family Issues
Coming of Age
Also recommended (but not currently in print)

At this point I should admit to only knowing about half a dozen of the books in this one - in my defence our children are just outside this age range.  Again, in this guide you'll find a fab mix of books with all the age ranges covered along with an odd 7+ recommended book, so there should be something regardless of reading ability.  Ones I know are Goodnight Mr Tom, Matilda, The Secret Garden and the Harry Potter series..

I highly recommend these as guides to parents.  They are not only great for help in choosing specific books for issues but also fantastic for inspiration on more books to read.  I know our children will be benefiting by me using the guides :)

Source: A copy of each was received for an honest review.


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