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The Best Way to Teach Kids Social and Emotional Skills

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.

*First, I’d like to thank Boys Town Press for sending me these books. While the books were given to me, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

One of the best ways we can teach our children values and skills is through literature. We can teach kids to think ahead to the consequences of their actions by discussing the decisions of literary characters. Kids are much more receptive to these lessons when they are taught this way, rather than through a lecture after they have messed up.

That’s why I’m excited that I learned about these books from Boys Town Press. Kids will love learning how the characters handle common struggles. With unique, engaging pictures and amiable characters, these books are sure to become favorites. In fact, I wish I had had them as a teacher. They would’ve been a great resource for helping kids through problems.

Green-eyed Goose

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

Green-eyed Goose

Boone is an adorable little duckling who envies his siblings for being able to do things he can’t do. The story begins when Boone sees his brother fly for the first time, and is angry that he wasn’t the first one to learn. Feeling upset, he leaves his siblings and meets up with some friends. Bird, Beaver, and Otter help Boone to realize that he can be happy being himself. Boone now knows that he has lots to be grateful for, so he doesn’t need to be jealous of his siblings.

Empathy is My Superpower

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

Empathy is My Superpower!

Amelia is a young girl who doesn’t understand how to show empathy. She is annoyed that her brother cried during the night and kept her up. Her mom gives her 3 steps to show empathy: “1. Think about how others may feel. 2. Come up with ways to show them you understand. 3. Offer any help or assistance you can.” Excited about this new concept, Amelia dresses up as a new super hero: Super E! She leaves to school determined to show empathy whenever she can. She practices showing empathy with 3 different classmates. The next day when Amelia throws up in school, she is the one who needs some empathy. Two surprise superheroes show up to save the day!

What's in It for Me?

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

What’s in It for Me?

Norman, nicknamed Noodle, is tired of always being told what to do. His mom, teacher,  coach, and piano teacher tell him what to do all day long! All he wants to do is play his video game, and he doesn’t understand why he needs to do all the things he is asked to do. When he tells his mom about his frustration, she explains that getting things done helps to make us feel good! Instead of thinking about how he is bossed around, he can think about all the things he is getting done! When Noodle decides to focus on his accomplishments, he feels much better, and he still has time to play his video game and go outside!

Time to Get Started

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

Time to Get Started

Blake struggles with getting started on things he needs to do. Sometimes he doesn’t want to do them, and sometimes he isn’t sure how. He learns that taking initiative is easier when he follows the four steps his mom gives him: “1. Focus on what needs to be done. 2. Figure out what’s stopping you. 3. Come up with a plan and get started. 4. Ask for help if nothing else works” Blake uses these steps to clean his room and finish his math during school. He even teaches his brother, Braden, how to take initiative when Braden doesn’t know how to start a school project.

Freddie the Fly: Connecting the Dots

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

Freddie the Fly: Connecting the Dots

Freddie the fly often gets in trouble, but sometimes doesn’t understand why. The bus driver told him to sing a little louder, but got mad when Freddie did that. After another confusing encounter with the lunch lady, Freddie has a talk with the principal. He learns that sometimes he needs to pay attention to what people do with their bodies to understand what they really mean. Freddie spends the day using the tools from the principal to understand what people really mean.

Lou Knows What To Do: Doctor's Office

Photo provided by Boys Town Press

Lou Knows What To Do: Doctor’s Office

Lou is going to the doctor’s office. He wants to know what will happen, so he uses his magic bubble wand to show him the future. The book talks about what generally happens at a family doctor, dentist, and eye doctor. Lou knows that he might feel nervous or scared when he visits the doctor, but that he can tell someone when he feels this way. Knowing what will happen at his doctor visit makes Lou feel confident.

Tips for getting the most out of these books

  1. Ask questions before, during, and after reading the books. Some examples of great questions to ask are: “Have you ever felt like Noodle before?” “What should Amelia do next?” and “How do you think Freddie feels?”
  2. Each book has a parent guide at the back. Read them. They have some great ideas!
  3. Look at the Boys Town website for downloadable activities that correlate with the books.
  4. Talk with your kids about characters in the books when it is relevant to their lives.
  5. Find words your kids don’t know, talk about what they mean, and use them in conversations.

The Boys Town Press books are great on their own, but I became even more excited about them when I looked into the organization. Boys Town works to help families in need through”in-home family counseling, health care, and programs to rebuild at-risk schools.” When you purchase these books you are also donating to their cause. All of the proceeds go to the Boys Town organization. What could be better than that?

Looking for more ideas to make reading time meaningful? Head over to this post about how to help your children love reading with you.

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