‘Hands Off, Harry!’ is One for Social Skills Toolbox

Posted by Big Universe on Nov 17, 2011 6:25:14 AM

Teaching children social skills is very important to their success in life. Unfortunately, many children come to school with few manners, and the etiquette training falls in the lap of school teachers.

Yes, a primary or middle school teacher has to wear many hats: educator, role model, communicator, manager, party planner, referee and even surrogate parent. In order to accomplish these duties, setting a minimum standard of behavior is crucial. It’s in the best interest of each individual child, as well as the health and happiness of a classroom community.

As teachers, you know that nurturing respect for people, property and principle is foundational for a child. Character development is a big goal, and parents and teachers need all the help they can get.

That’s why Rosemary Wells’ new book struck a chord with me. “Hands Off, Harry!” is an adorable, humor-filled children’s picture book with a message. You see, “Harry” has a problem with respecting other classmates’ personal space. See how his teacher, Miss Harmony, and his peers help Harry resolve the discord.

“Hands Off, Harry!” is the first in a new 10-book “Kindergators” series, in which the author and illustrator addresses common social problems that teachers face in the classroom. (See video clip below.)

“The series is about the 10 most persistent problems teachers have told me about over the years,” said Wells in an Authors Revealed interview by Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshop.

[embed width=280]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGAgiXd1BFc [/embed]

“I love teachers, and I try to advocate for them…because not many people do,” she says. “Most teachers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, because there are a lot of parents out there who don’t fully participate in their children’s education and socialization. And, that always becomes a problem for the teachers.

“I don’t believe in judging teachers by the results of tests. I think it is the worst thing that could happen in this country. I know teachers who have been judged in that way and judged ‘inferior’ when they have a classroom full of kids who are almost impossible to teach. So…we need to have different standards. And, I just raise the flag for teachers,” she adds. “I think they are our (country’s) most important professionals.”

Illustrator Rosemary Wells’ career spans more than 40 years and 120 books, including “Noisy Nora,” “Read to Your Bunny,” “Yoko Writes Her Name,” “Max and Ruby’s Christmas Tree,” “Lincoln and His Sons” and many others.

“We had a houseful of wonderful books” while growing up, says Wells. “Reading stories aloud was as much a part of my childhood as the air I breathed.”

* NOTE: BigUniverse.com offers a whole category of books about social development and the dilemmas kids face. Simply go to the Read section and look for the “Browse or Search for Books” drop-down list on the right-hand side of the page. Click the “Categories” tab. An expanded list will appear. Then, click the “Character Education” tab.

* NOTE: You also may like to read the BigUniverse.com blog “Raising Boys: Are Gross-out Books Necessary?”.

Topics: Reading Lists

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