Topic 2: Feeling strong on my own
The books we have chosen for our second topic, Feeling strong on my own, explore young children’s growing sense of independence and autonomy. This journey begins from the time a baby is born, from getting to know his body as a baby to grad ually taking over self care in toddlerhood. As they grow older, children gain confidence in their own abilities away from parents, feeling strong while at school and feeling safe at nighttime. Competency and autonomy are two of the most important achievements in early childhood.
Clicking on the titles will direct you to the amazon.com page for each book listed below. Clicking on highlighted words or phrases in the descriptions will direct you to resources and information related to the topics.
For ages 0 to 3
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
One of the lessons children learn while away from parents is that they always return. This simple book goes through variations on the theme of going away and coming back. This is a good choice for very young children who are beginning to experience separation and time away from parents and need the reassurance that after being apart, they will always be reunited with their parents. - Jenn Reid
Look at You! A Baby Body Book by Kathy Henderson
With wonderfully engaging illustrations and simple yet rhythmic text, Look At You! A Baby Body Book is a delight to share with babies and toddlers. One of the most important concepts a baby experiences after attachment is becoming aware of his/her body as a separate being. All of its parts are an amazing collection of things to explore and enjoy. Parents will love reading this book with their little ones as it lends itself to interactive play along with introducing young children to reading together. - Melanie Burke
For ages 0 - 3 and 3 - 6
All By Myself! by Aliki
Aliki eloquently captures a day in the life of a young boy as he masters the functions his parents once provided for him. He illustrates how children care for themselves and their belongings when they feel secure with their autonomy and how this ownership evokes pride and joy. This book is a must for early childhood educators and young children as it supports healthy independence that comes with growing up. - Jennifer Murphy
Goodnight, Me by Andrew Daddo
Goodnight, Me illustrates one of the biggest challenges young children face when bedtime approaches with all the effort, independence and self soothing it takes for them to fall asleep. Just as important, it shows how helpful it can be for little ones to find their own routine and ways to say good night to themselves and their bodies so they can settle into a good night’s rest. - Jennifer Murphy
My Own Big Bed by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Transitioning to a different bed, or transitioning to one’s own bed, is an early childhood milestone that isn’t always easy. It can take an extended period of time, and can involve periods of both progression and regression. My Own Big Bed highlights ways a child can “fix” some of the problems that seem to make having one’s own bed feel scary and lonely. The girl asks herself questions about her new bed, What if I fall out? What if I get lonely? For each question that she asks, she has a fix-it answer. Parents can use this book as a springboard to discuss some of the worries that can come up around nighttime. - Jenn Reid
Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest
As little bear, Sam, prepares for bed, Mrs. Bear reads him a story, tucks him in, arranges his stuffed animals just right, and pours them both a glass of warm milk. All the while, Sam waits for the part of this reassuring bedtime ritual Mrs. Bear has forgotten. With simple, repetitive text that will ease a toddler's fears, the author will delight young ones with humor and warmth in her telling of this universal experience. - Bridget Daniel
For ages 3 to 6
Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes
Her courage falters when brave mouse, Sheila Rae, gets lost and scared while on a new way home from school. It is her sister, Louise, who comes to the rescue, proving her own bravery by leading her sister home safely. Facing fears head-on, bravery, and sibling relationships are addressed with expressive illustrations, humor, and plenty of kid appeal. -Bridget Daniel
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This is a lovely story that I like to use in the classroom, especially in the beginning of a school year. Students have found it helpful to use Chester’s kissing hand idea with their parent before they say goodbye in the morning. It provides a concrete way for young children to manage and tolerate being away from their parent during the school day.- Christa Love
Will You Come Back For Me? by Ann Tompert
Will You Come Back For Me? is the story of a girl named Suki who is going to daycare for the first time. While preschools and daycares can provide interesting and stimulating activities for young children, they can also be stressful or worrisome places for children. Parents can help their children with the transition to school with preparation and communication.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Each year I use this book in the classroom to help children who are struggling to master the difficult task of being strong during separations from Mommy. This book provides reassurance for children that they aren’t alone in their missing mommy feelings and that others experience this type of loss in similar ways. - Christa Love
Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott
Dr. Haim G. Ginott’s Between Parent and Child is another wonderfully written parenting book that has been helping parents understand communicating with their children. This classic book has been revised and updated from its original publishing in 1965, however the basic theme still rings true -- children are individuals that can and should be communicated with through respect and encouragement. I found this book especially helpful when thinking about parenting in the heat of the moment and looking at ways to communicate with my child that were more positive and less emotionally charged. Let’s face it, no one feels good after loosing their temper and I feel that the ideas in this book help me to think before I speak and to think more about the interactions I have with my children on a daily basis. Parents wanting to look at the relationship between themselves and their children will find this book intellectually and emotionally fulfilling. - Melanie Burke
Below are additional titles for the topic Feeling strong on my own:
Baiker, Karen: I Can Do It, Too!
Henkes, Kevin: All Alone
Metzger, Steve: I'll Always Come Back!
Nelson, Valerie: I Can Do It Myself
Senderak, Carol: Mommy In My Pocket
Waddell, Martin: Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?