American Girl Advice Library. Though I’ve never been a huge American Girl fan, this series for tween girls has been very meaningful for my 10 year old daughter. We’ve purchased quite a few of these titles, which help girls deal with everything from self-esteem and strong emotions to organization and relationships with peers. There are both “text” books and workbooks/journals that will appeal to both readers and writers, and the illustrations are appealing and diverse in race, though sadly not in body type.
It’s Not the Stork/It’s So Amazing/It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris (each title is individually linked). When you’re ready to talk to your kids about human reproduction and sexuality, start with these. Though there are many quality books on the market that address these topics, there is no one like Robie Harris and Michael Emberley (the illustrator). The text and illustrations are kind and gentle, informative and clear. In all my resources that I recommend, I prioritize quality, beauty, cleverness, and I insist that the author does not talk down to the reader. These books exceed all of those expectations. This trilogy of titles is the same information, but written for differently aged audiences. It’s Not the Stork is for ages 4, 5, and 6; It’s So Amazing is for kids ages 7 and up, and It’s Perfectly Normal is for kids ages 10 and up. Each progressive book gives a little more detail, a little more information. Perhaps you will only read one, at the time your child wants to know, or perhaps you will revisit the series again and again as your child grows and needs more or repeated information. I read these out loud to both of my children; we worked through one chapter per reading, leaving plenty of time for discussion both during the reading and afterwards. I really can’t say enough about these; if the whole world was treated in such a respectful, gentle, and open manner…. Perhaps that’s the answer to all humanity’s troubles: Robie Harris simply needs to write the world.
Trevor Romain Collection DVDs. This animated series of DVDs covers some tricky topics for kids and tweens, including fear, divorce, bullying, health, homework, death, and cliques. We’ve watched several of them over the years, and made sure my library added the entire collection. It’s good stuff – not condescending, but not unnecessarily heavy either. Just practical, open exploration of difficult subject matter. The films feature stories in which our main characters deal with the chosen topic, and there is plenty of discussion both during the narrative and afterwards.
TED Talk by Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. We discovered this amazing TED talk last year, when Eva was experiencing a lot of stress due to an in-town relocation, new part-time school environment, and months of a house full of construction workers. We did a lot of self-confidence building work that year, and when I discovered this talk, we practiced her power poses for months, every day. It was an amazing experience, and still today when Eva needs an extra boost, she’ll slip into a bathroom and strike a quick two-minute pose. It’s like a shot of espresso, but healthier.
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