BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: How do you know what's good?

While there are many places (especially on the internet) where you can read book reviews, how do you really know if it's a good book or not when a single book might receive anywhere from one to five stars?
The answer: read the reviews of a book-addicted teacher librarian.

** The age recommendations are guidelines only; whether or not a certain book is suitable for a particular child depends on multiple factors, including their maturity, reading level, interests, and in some cases their experiences.
** While the ratings are largely based on my own personal appreciation/enjoyment of the book, they are also influenced by my experiences as a teacher and the potential attraction for the target-aged child (acknowledging that what one child may love, another may find exceptionally boring). A rating of 5 indicates the book is likely to be popular with the majority.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Ant Patrol - books to teach social skills (PB)

This series came across my desk the other day, and I think they are worth sharing. This series, Ant Patrol, is primarily for parents and teachers to use with children who may require additional help with social skills, particularly those with ASD (but not exclusively).

They are published by M.A.ST.E.R, which has additional information and resources on their website.
They are also available from SkillBuilders, a site with extensive resources for building foundational skills, from socio-emotional to physical, etc.

The stories revolve around a colony of ants. Different ants have different traits.

 - Felix the Fire Ant struggles to control his temper and easily flies into a rage when things don't go his way.
 - Wilbur the Worry Ant is fearful of new experiences and is hesitant to participate.
 - Me-Me the Self-Focused Ant can only see her own perspective of things. She expects everyone else to do the things that she likes to do.
 - Hugo the Socially Unaware Ant also struggles to see others' perspectives. When another ant falls over, Hugo laughs because he thinks it looks like fun. He struggles to understand emotions in others.
 - Iris the Inattentive Ant can't concentrate. She is constantly day-dreaming and struggles to focus.
 - Alfie the Hyperactive Ant just can't sit still. He has so much energy and doesn't think before he jumps into something. He has a lot of trouble waiting for things.

Throughout the stories, big leader ants, Hoppy the Helpful Ant and Sergeant Ant, guide the other ants through life. Hoppy helps the other ants with their difficulties and teaches them ways to be more socially aware.
The books include significant information to help parents and teachers to guide their own children in learning the same lessons.
Some tips include focusing on breathing, being aware of and monitoring their own emotions (e.g. level of anger, and what situations may provoke angry feelings), and learning to tune in to others' feelings.

AGE: 4-8, with adult guidance.
RATING: 5 stars.

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