How to participate in Picture Book Club …
  1. Get the suggested books from your library or bookstore (local or online). See PICTURE BOOK CLUB BOOK LIST for the complete list of books for each week.
  2. Before reading each of the weekly books to your child, READ FIRST “What Adults Can Learn from This Story.”
  3. Read one or both books to your child as many times through the week as your child wants to hear them and you have time to read.
  4. Consider doing whatever activities you think are appropriate for the age and maturity of your child from “Make This Story Come Alive for Your Child.”


ELLA SARAH GETS DRESSED by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
(a story about children saying “no”)
In ELLA SARAH GETS DRESSED, Ella Sarah awoke one morning, looked into her closet, and knew exactly what she wanted to wear. She said “no” to each outfit suggested by Mom, Dad, and big sister and ended up following her own mind only to learn that each of her friends had their very own fun ideas about fashion as well.
 “What Adults Can Learn from This Story …”
  • Adults need to encourage children to learn to think for themselves and know what they want and don’t want. This will help them deal with peer pressure, be better decision-makers, have confidence in their ideas, and be determined to achieve their goals.
  • Being given choices can encourage your child to know his own mind. Fewer options are best. “Do you want carrots or celery for a snack?” is better than “Do you want carrots, celery, crackers, or peanuts?” and better than “What do you want for a snack?”
  • Children need to know how to say no in acceptable ways. Does this mean you should let your child do anything he wants to? No, “no-saying,” is different from “no-doing.”
  • Think about these ways to allow “no-saying,” but not allow “no-doing.”
    • Calmly insist that your child do what she is told to do while telling her you can see that she has her own ideas.
    • Calmly tell your child he can complain but he still must do what he is told.
    • If your child reacts with a tantrum, stay calm and tell her you won’t let her hurt people or things while she is mad and frustrated.
    • Use your friendly muscles to hold your child to protect him or to move him out of a car or in or out of a store.
    • When giving directions, don’t ask – tell. Don’t say, “Do you want to get dressed?” if the message is “It is time to get dressed.”
    • Don’t use “OK” at the end of a direction. Don’t say, “We’re getting dressed now, OK?” This turns your direction into “Do you want to get dressed?” Only ask that question if it’s OK if she does get dressed and OK if she doesn’t.
  • It is important for children (and adults) to realize that it is OK for them to be who they are and for others be who they are with different likes and dislikes.
  • To be OK being who they are, children need to:
    • Learn to say no at the right times and in the right ways.
    • Know that there are rules that must be followed.
    • Know that there are times when they can make their own choices about things and find joy in making those choices.
“Make this Story Come Alive for Your Child …”
  • Ask your child if he likes what Ella Sarah picked out to wear? Why or why not? Were there things he liked better that the other kids decided to wear?
  • Give your child some examples about times she might want to say no. For example, when offered carrots for lunch or a friend wants to ride bikes. Together, think of ways she could say no politely and without hurting anyone’s feelings.

LET’S GO HUGO by Angela Dominguez
(a story about overcoming fear)
In LET’S GO HUGO, Hugo’s new friend LuLu said, “It’s the Eiffel Tower. We can fly there.” Hugo said, “Um, I have to show you the park before we go …” even though what just an excuse to not fly. Hugo finally admited, “I’m afraid to fly!” Hugo’s owl friend Bernard said, “Well everyone is afraid of something…. If you want, I’ll help you practice.” Hugo and Bernard “… practiced flying the rest of the night. There were many ups… and many more downs.” When Lulu appeared the morning after all of Hugo’s practice, “Hugo took a deep breath, and grabbed on. Off they flew!”
“What Adults Can Learn from This Story …”
  • Sometimes we have trouble admitting we are afraid. We do and say things that make it seem like we are saying “yes’ when we are really saying “no.” That could be called a “Crooked No.” Sometimes we use crooked no’s when we are afraid to say “no.” Examples are making excuses when we are asked to do something, being late, forgetting things, ignoring people and requests, or even becoming sick. Crooked no’s do not help us be responsible people nor do they help us overcome our fears.
  • It is best to know what our fears are all about.
  • If a fear is a real threat, about something that is unsafe, it is best to stay away from what you are afraid of.
  • If a fear is not a true threat and is about something you want and long for, it may be possible to attack the fear head on and try to overcome it.
  • In some cases, instead of overcoming a fear, a person can outsmart the fear and still get what he or she wants. If a child is afraid of big dogs, he could have a small dog or a cat for a pet. If afraid to play ball with bigger kids, he could still be part of a team by being the ball boy.
  • Practice is important in overcoming fear. Sometimes you just need to get used to what you are afraid of. You can practice being in the dark and learn that nothing bad happens, being around dogs and learn how to safely manage them, or swimming in deep water and become sure that you are a good enough swimmer to be safe.
  • Sometimes the need to be perfect can keep people from practicing or trying new things at all, especially things they are afraid of. Perfectionists can often be afraid of failure, and fear of failure is an enemy of overcoming any fear.
  • All learning requires ups and downs. Overcoming any fear will have its ups and downs. The fear can go away – slowly in small steps – but, it will have to be practiced over and over to keep it away.
“Make this Story Come Alive for Your Child …”
  • Ask your child whether she thinks it is safe for Hugo to fly and whether it is a good idea for Hugo to just stay on the ground.
  • Ask him whether he thinks Hugo really wants to fly and whether it is a good idea for him to overcome his fear.
  • Explain that sometimes there are clever ways to outsmart fear and still get what you want. Ask her if she can think of a way that Hugo could get up high to see the Eiffel Tower without having to fly? (For example, Hugo could see the Eiffel Tower by riding in a helicopter.)


Past PICTURE BOOK CLUB postings:


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