Happy New Year ... no birthday just food for thought. As always I am looking for ways to use literature with children to increase their empathy and I need to get at the boys young before they stop reading any fiction because I believe that it is reading fiction that develops empathic readers. Therefore I really savoured Elizabeth Farrelly's article in the Sydney Morning Herald and began to think about what I could do differently this year in classes to make a bigger impact. There goes my thinking time for the next three weeks!
I thought I'd share two books though today that will make you smile and which offer a myriad of avenues for getting very young children to look closely at feelings, theirs and others'. Both are by European authors and illustrators but available in English. Both appear simple because of their minimal text but they are deceptive and thus somewhat ageless.
Happy by Mies Van Hout. Have you ever seen so much expression on a fish? This Dutch author's website is available in English and she has ideas for what to do with her book. One of the teachers at my school has used it very successfully for art and in circle time. My staff had great fun sharing and comparing the French and English version of this book and deciding whether the translation was precise. We now need the original Dutch version and a Dutch speaker to translate so we can discuss it some more.
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey. This cover illustration doesn't do this book justice. It has beautiful die-cut pages which show the heart decreasing in size. I haven't seen the original French version of this book.
Happy birthday Olivier Dunrea. His series about Gossie is ideal for preschoolers and talking about feelings too.