Building Self-Esteem Through Picture Books: Sofia and the Heartmender

perfect-pic-book-badge-e1325891994293

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

The holiday season is upon us…I know that many bloggers have been reviewing holiday-themed books.  Here’s one that looks like a Christmas-type book, but what it celebrates is a child who learns to speak up for herself and overcome her fears.  This ties in with Universal Children’s Day which was started by the United Nations almost 60 years ago this week.  Millions of children all over the world lack the basic rights they are entitled to…nourishing food, clean water, an education, a safe environment in which to grow up in and parents who believe in them and are able to provide these things.

Building Self-Esteem Through Picftue Books,Show Me How,Positive Parental Participation

Sofia and the Heartmender

Written and illustrated by Marie Olofsdotter

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing (reprinted 2007…original edition 1995)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Speaking up for oneself, self-esteem, overcoming fears, respecting onself, creative expression, night terrors, parental support.

Synopsis:

From Amazon and Book Review:

”Sofia’s heart is broken in two when adults refuse to take her fears seriously. Parents and teacher alike trivialize the shadow monsters that follow her, but a wise dog guides her through a magical world where she meets the Heartmender. During the journey, Sofia confronts her fears, which then disappear, and the Heartmender heals Sofia’s heart with moonlight. Back in the real world, stronger with renewed self-esteem and confidence, Sofia makes her feelings known to the adults and asks that they be respected. Olofsdotter has created a rich and inspiring story by carefully crafting a dynamic between text and illustrations. Richly colored and exquisitely detailed, the illustrations add information and evoke the mythical time and space where the wounded self is healed. A book to be enjoyed at various levels by young and older children alike.”

Why do I like this book:

I love the message in this story…a child learns to overcome her fears and speak up for herself, gaining a positive self-image.  This is a story about a strong capable young girl and would be a wonderful book to help parents understand how important it is to listen to their children and take what they say seriously.   It also points out that teachers often expect children to ‘color within the lines’…instead of encouraging creative expression in every child.  I also love the illustrations and ethnicity of the characters…from the look of the main characters and the surroundings, I get the feeling that the story is placed in Mexico or South America.

Related Activities:

HEARTMENDER ORNAMENT #1

If you are looking for a VERY easy heartmender ornament, try this one.

heart-ornament-tissue

Photo courtesy: http://www.apples4theteacher.com

You will need: 1 piece of red construction paper, 1 piece of red tissue paper, several cotton balls, glue, scissors, piece of ribbon, hole puncher.

  1. Cut the red construction paper into a heart shape.
  2. Pull the cotton balls apart and glue pieces around the heart edge.
  3. Tear the tissue paper into small pieces.  Crumbple each piece and glue inside the heart shape.
  4. Punch a hole in the top middle and thread the ribbon through so the heart can be hung up.  Make sure you put your child’s name and the date on the back of the ornament…in later years you will look back and remember when it was made.

HEARTMENDER ORNAMENT #2

If you want a heartmender ornament that is a little more complicated, please visit: http://www.craftideas.info/html/swedish_paper_heart.html

You will find materials needed and a video tutorial.

Christmas_Paper_Craft_-_Swedish_Heart_Paper_Christmas_Ornament

Photo and instructions courtesy: www.craftideas.info

show me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft (like the diorama above) and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!  My website is still offering free shipping AND a beautiful hand-crafted fabric bookmark…limited time only!  Offer ends December 30th!create a peaceful home,www.positiveparentalparticipation.com,free bookmarks,show me how build your child's self-esteem

Universal Children’s Day: A Plea for Children’s Rights

Photo courtesy of: http://www.siteunspecific.com/?p=1936

Today is Universal Children’s Day.

On December 13, 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children.

It also recommended that this day be devoted to promoting the welfare of the children of the world.

Then, on November 20, 1959, the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

And, in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was held.

During the last seventy years, there have been lots of meetings…lots of declarations…lots of conventions…and lots of talk about the rights of children.

So why are there are still millions of children living in poverty, denied the right to a safe home, clean water, adequate nourishment and an education.

Children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill often has creative writing prompts and contests to inspire and motivate…last week she encouraged us to choose a special day or holiday to write about.  I choose Universal Children’s Day…and, although the poem is not a bright and sparkly one, it truthfully relays my feelings.

Universal Children’s Day

In a hospital bed, a young girl fights for her life (to get an
education is the right of every child).

Charred wood structures, the remains of homes destroyed by
terrorists (to live in a safe home is the right of every child).

The cries of the little boy whose feet are bruised and
blistered because every day he walks three miles to gather the family’s water from a tainted pond (to drink clean water is the right of every child).

The gall of bitterness (to be brought up in a spirit of tolerance,
friendship, peace and universal brotherhood is the right of every child).

Tenderly touching and soothing every child’s heart…if only I could.
(to grow up in an atmosphere of love and understanding is the right of every child).

Universal Children’s Day

 

There are many worthwhile organizations, working diligently to remedy this situation.  Some give food, others help build homes and wells, and many send volunteers to give medical or other assistance.

As we sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, perhaps we can ponder how each of us can help in this effort.  It doesn’t matter whether you reach out across the ocean and donate money, goods or services to children in other lands, or you concentrate on local children’s issues.  Let’s follow the advice of Nike and “JUST DO IT!”  The children of the world deserve it!

Another thing our children deserve is our time and our positive parental participation.  Family life during the holiday season often assumes a frantic pace.  Here are a couple of tips that may help keep things in balance and harmony:

  • Don’t over-schedule activities…less is more.
  • Do eat healthy…avoid too many sweets or processed foods.
  • Don’t over-spend…no one needs the latest electronic gadget or toy.
  • Do take time out to walk/exercise…it’s a natural mood-enhancer.

 

I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  If you haven’t already seen the Thanksgiving related YouTube videos I recently did, here are the links:

http://youtu.be/jMvyNgM2wiM

http://youtu.be/16smIG3Vdoc

http://youtu.be/AkgA-AW5Rl4

I’ll be sharing Christmas/Hanukkah related stories and crafts for the next few weeks of Show Me How Picture Books and Crafts for Kids…next Sunday: Gift Bear for the King!  I hope you’ll check it out…and pass the word along.