Review Policy

Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster

Author/Illustrator: Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
Book Website:

About This Book: Jonathan James' Whatif Monster asks all kinds of questions to stop him from trying new things: What if it's scary? What if they laugh? What if it's hard? Until finally, Jonathan James has some questions of his own: What if they don't? What if it isn't? What then?

The child-friendly rhyming tale provides the ideal antidote for every child's occasional bouts of self-doubt and fear of trying something new. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Kids can develop a lot of fears and anxiety about ALL sorts of things. It can be really tough sometimes to know how to reassure kids they are safe and everything is going to work out. Well, my load just got lessened thanks to this INCREDIBLE resource Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster AND you can get a plush Whatif monster!! Kids are capable of managing their fears but they need tools exactly like this one to help them through their feelings of insecurity.

I like the simple message in the book.....just try, take the risk, and you will find a positive on the other side of the fear. Kids have a huge fear of failure. I want to hit home with kids that you can still come out on top even if it felt like you were defeated. Keep trying and don't buy in to the negative WHATIF monster. I can see this being used in a variety of helpful ways to counselors, teachers, and parents.  LOVE LOVE this resource.
Find the book and Whatif Plush Monster HERE

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: School Anxiety

Author: Robert Quackenbush
illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Interest Level: 1st Grade

From the Book Jacket: Here is the story of a young boy who is about to enter first grade and doesn't know quite what to expect. Will his friends be there? Will he have to know how to read and spell? What if he can't understand anything his teacher says? Looks like a case of first grade jitters! Robert Quackenbush and Yan Nascimbene tell a reassuring story that is sure to chase away those jitters for any soon-to-be first grader.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: One of my favorite things about this one is the word - Jitters. What a FANTASTIC way to describe difficult feelings like fear and anxiety to a six year old. Most children don't know how to communicate those types of emotions because they are not equipped with the language and coping skills. It makes me think about the importance of emotional intelligence. As an educator I am a big part of helping the inner growth of a child. Bibliotherapy like this is a great step in supporting that growth especially when students are feeling school is a fearsome place. I showed First Grade Jitters to both of our 1st grade teachers and they read it at the start of the school year. Apparently, at the end of the day one of the teachers commented to her students she was nervous about something. "Oh, well then you have the jitters," replied one of her students. This gave me an "I heart kids" moment. It will be nice as the school counselor to use the word jitters as a communication and validation tool.

Dinosaur Starts School
Author: Pamela Duncan Edwards
illustrated by Deborah Allwright
Interest Level: Grades K-1

From the Book Jacket: “What would you do if on the very first day of school Dinosaur wasn’t smiling his big, toothy dinosaur smile? You’d say, ‘Don’t worry, Dinosaur. School will be fun.’”

So begins the story as a little boy helps his dinosaur friend overcome his fears of the first day of school.  All sorts of questions that children might ask are addressed by the little boy - why does he have to go to school, what if he has to speak up and say his name, what if he doesn't like what they serve for lunch?  His answers should calm the tummies of any young student.  And best of all, he explains how to make new friend.  By the end of the day, Dinosaur loves school and can't wait to come again the next day.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I read this a few weeks into the school year with kindergarten classes. I'm well aware there are school anxiety issues going on with lots of different kids those first few days or weeks. This is great to use as a check-in with students. All of the questions proposed throughout the book are PERFECT. Even though the little boy has an answer for each of Dinosaurs worries, I was excited to hear how the kids would respond. Maybe this would be a confidence booster. It definitely was. School jitters decreased!

A Link to These Books and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Reviews: Fear/Worry/Stress Mgmt Helpers

Wemberly Worried
Author: Kevin Henkes
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

From the Book Jacket: Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start. And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Constant worrying is a definite problem. There are children struggling with this which makes me  so thankful for Wemberly Worried and all of it's healing qualities. When I was reading Is a Worry Worrying You? to a group of second graders last year, a few kids raised their hands and said, "Yes, just like Wemberly!" This story has IMPACT. I had never even read Wemberly Worried to the class but the teacher had two copies of it in her book library for her students. I definitely own it now! So through Wemberly I've been helping kids understand it's okay to have a worry here and there. But when we are agonizing over everything small, medium, and big....Houston, we've got a problem! Call me crazy, but I believe kids have the ability to recognize when they have gone over the edge with too much worrying. How? Through the aid of a book like Wemberly Worried. Wemberly also has a coping mechanism and finds a friend struggling with worry too. Don't overlook this one, it's not just another cute Kevin Henkes story. It has healing power.

Absolutely Not
Author: Matthew McElligott 
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

From the Book Jacket: Gloria is brave, but Frieda is absolutely not. Gloria wants to go for a walk, but Frieda absolutely does not. Frieda sees danger in every shadow, and you might, too! But when Frieda cries wolf one too many times, Gloria stops listening to her. Yet...what's that in the bushes? Are the two friends in danger, or is it another figment of Frieda's imagination?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is new to my shelf. I was at my local bookstore and asked for suggestions on stories about anxiety. Don't you love it when the person helping you gets really excited and says, "Ohhhhhh, have you read Absolutely Not?" Um, NO, but lead me to it!!! After I read this story I said to myself, "This is pure genius." So the character Frieda says a big fat NO to everything. She is paralyzed with fear and worry. She worries about all the things that could happen. Her imagination runs wild! In the end, there is a little twist where they are actually put in danger. HOWEVER (big however here), isn't that sort of life? We can't protect ourselves from everything. But there is no need to go around stressing out about it. We have to deal with what comes our way. I want to teach the students these invaluable lessons. Can't wait to present this story to them!

PS. Go to the author's website for a lesson plan on optimism vs pessimism. Great to go with book!

Roly Poly Pangolin
Author: Anna Dewdney
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

From the Book Jacket: Roly Poly is a little guy, and the world is a big place. So many things frighten him, even teeny, tiny sounds! What's a little pangolin to do? Roll up tight into a ball and wait until it's safe. But when Roly Poly finally peeks out, there's another ball peeking back - and it looks just like him! Could two be more fun than one? The author of the beloved Llama Llama books introduces an endearing new character who is sure to enchant children and help them explore the world more happily.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I read MANY children's book blogs, one of my favorites is THE PLANETESME PLAN - The Best New Children's Books from Esme's Shelf. That's where I discovered this great book Roly Poly Pangolin. And yep, Roly Poly is one scared little dude! This is going to be perfect for kindergarten and 1st grade. I see a lot of separation anxiety in those grades. It's rough being pulled away from parents and put with a bunch of adults and kids we don't know. Some kids adjust no problemo and others have a tougher time. I am planning on exploring shyness, fear, and friendship with this delightful story. If only there was a Pangolin puppet!

When My Worries Get Too Big!
Author: Kari Dunn Buron

About This Book: The thought of "losing control" can cause major problems for children who live with anxiety. Now, parents, teachers and children have a helpful tool that gives young children an opportunity to explore their own feelings with parents or teachers as they react to events in their daily lives. Engaging and easy to read, this illustrated children's book is filled with opportunities for children to participate in developing their own self-calming strategies. Children who use the simple strategies in this charming book, illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to focus on work - or play!

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I was planning on doing a separate blog post on this book but I want to talk about it now. I've been using this as a social story to teach kids how to cope with stress and put their anxiety in it's place. This is a tool I use in collaboration with parents and teachers. It makes no sense for me to teach this by myself if we're not all using it as a united front. I've used it in small groups and individually. There is a five point stress scale and it is awesome and helpful to children. Kids who are on the spectrum or have anxiety disorders could really benefit from reading this every day. I've seen a lot of success with this social story. Share it with the parents first and see if they would be on board to use it as a tool. Very grateful for this one. Helps me be a better school counselor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: Yoga Calm for Children: Educating Heart, Mind, and Body

Authors: Lynea Gillen, Jim Gillen
Interest Level: Grades K and UP

About This Book: The ultimate guide for parents, teachers and other adults who want to introduce yoga to children, as well as help kids manage stress, build social skills and create lifelong fitness habits! Lavishly illustrated, Yoga Calm for Children includes 60 practical, easy-to teach activities, as well as alignment and safety principles and "emotional first aid" tips. It shows school teachers and counselors how to integrate Yoga Calm activities with regular class work and modify them for specific classroom situations. And it inspires through stories from the authors own experiences of helping kids learn, grow and thrive with Yoga Calm. Specially designed for use in K-12 schools and therapeutic settings, Yoga Calms principle-based approach makes it effective in any environment and with a broad range of ages, populations and abilities, including children with ADHD, anxiety and other disorders. [This] beautiful book...offers a clear program for introducing educational activities and curriculum that address the whole child, rather than just the academic mind.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been practicing yoga off and on for years and have appreciated all of it's healing benefits for my mind and body. The emotional boost I feel afterwards is a great reminder of how important it is to have a wellness habit. So when I was given the opportunity to attend a yoga workshop aimed at helping children, I got my yoga mat ready!

Within the first hour of the workshop I began asking myself, 'How have I been working with kids for so many years and not discovered the power of using yoga as a strategy to emotionally strengthen children??' Over the course of the day, we learned how to combine simple yoga with effective counseling techniques to use in small groups or classrooms. There were so many 'a ha' moments I thought I might explode. I've been teaching kids how to breathe and get calm for years....counting to 10..taking breaks...blah blah blah. Apparently, I've been missing a few ingredients for a true calmness recipe. One of my favorite breathing techniques was -Volcano Breath (it's all in the book).

I returned to school today and did an activity called, The Mindful Walk with a 3rd grade class. Of course I had a few kiddos thinking this was silly time. But within minutes we were all walking peacefully around the classroom counting our breathing and clearing our minds for positive thinking. Afterwards, a student who often suffers from frustration asked me if they could come to my office during recess to practice the calm breathing. Um, how cool is that!?

Yoga Calm is a wonderful resource that enhances social/emotional skill building, breathing techniques, and simple EASY yoga poses. We all know how important movement is to help students in the classroom environment. Incorporating yoga into schools is a total NO brainer. I'm going to continue my journey and hopefully work on being a Yoga Calm certified instructor in the fall. It's that good!

Check out Yoga Calm's website for more information. I also love reading their blog. Watch this school in Minneapolis using Yoga Calm.

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: Is A Worry Worrying You?

Author: Ferida Wolff
Illustrated by Marie le Tourneau
Interest Level: K-5

About The Book: This book addresses children's worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem-solving. Addresses common childhood worries—a bully, a first day at school, and a monster residing under the bed—with the not-so-common worries—an eagle making a nest in your hair, a rhino walking down the street, and a herd of elephants waiting for their tea.
Why It's On My Bookshelf: I love using books that take a funny angle when dealing with a universal issues. The author does a great job of balancing humor while defining 'worry' for children. Is A Worry Worrying You gets kids to open up. More than ever before, children are WAY overstressed.  As I read the story, I will hear from my audience: 

I'm worried my parents are getting divorced.
I'm worried my brother is going to beat me up.
I'm worried about my new stepsister.

The book offers strategies but it also hints at not letting your worries through the door in the first place. Love that.