Tag Archives: learning

Best Books: The One and Only Ivan

In a world where we are being faced with bullying, loneliness, and school shootings it is hard to completely understand the fears, isolation, and loneliness that children and teens are dealing with. As adults we see the world as it is, but children are still learning how the world functions, and how to deal with the emotions that result from living in that world. Sometimes children need help to understand those emotions.

Katherine Applegate’s book, The one and Only Ivan introduces a lonely and isolated Gorilla that has lived in captivity for 27 years. Ivan meets a baby elephant named Ruby that has been taken from the wild. Throughout the novel the two interact on a human level, they share their fears, their hopes, their dreams. As readers we get to see the world from Ivan’s perspective. It details the essence of childhood. The limits of understanding, the boxed in protection that becomes a cage, the loss of innocence as the real world takes shape around them, but through it all is a friendship and humor that helps them to navigate this strange world. The world that Applegate has created allows children to place themselves in Ivan’s place and follow him on his journey of self-actualization and his quest in to the real world of adult-hood. Throughout this journey the readers are able to confront their own emotions and reconcile their own experiences with loneliness and isolation.

The book brings humor, joy, and sadness as it tells the story of Ivan and Ruby. Readers will enjoy the friendship and humor as they learn some deeper lessons. It makes for an excellent read, and if parents read it as well it can open up doors and opportunities for discussion about what kids are really going through today.

Best Books: She Persisted

You may be wondering why we are highlighting two books this month. Well, the answer is simple, because they pair well together, and they are important books that all boys and girls should read.

This month we want to highlight the books written by Former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton. She Persisted, and She Persisted Around the World, are two books about important women that have influenced our world here at home and abroad. Why is it important for boys to read books about women that have changed our world? Because one day those boys will become husbands, they will become fathers, and they will work and learn in this world alongside strong women. It is important for boys and girls to see women succeed, thrive, incite change, and be seen as equal to their male counterparts. When women thrive, men thrive. We live alongside one another, and we work together. So when one person makes the world a better place they do not make it better just for them, they make it better for everyone. The ripple it causes throughout civilization touches everyone.

The She Persisted books each highlight important women who have incited change in education, science, civil liberties, healthcare, and literature. The books show the strength and the determination it takes to continue to drive forward in a world that tells you no. This is a message every child needs to learn. Although things may seem tough, and we may struggle, we should never let that stop us from doing something we want to do. We need to keep moving forward. These books make a great gift. Try reading them together with our kids and start a discussion on the importance of trying, learning, and not giving up.

She persisted around the world She persisted

Sibling Rivalry: Normal or Bad?

I have three brothers. One older, and two younger. My entire childhood was spent with at least 2 boys if not three in my house at all times. I was never an only child. I always had a friend to play with, and I ALWAYS had someone to argue with. My Mom always joked that she could never have all four kids happy at the same time. There was ALWAYS an odd man out.

It is normal to have some rivalry and arguing going on between siblings. After all, we are human. No matter what we find ways to be different, ornery, and selfish in one way or another. The more time we spend together the more we will find a way to cause an issue with someone. It happens in every facet of life. Work-life, home-life, and in our relationships. So why would it be any different with our siblings?

Sibling rivalry does not need to be a bad thing. Here are a few ways it will help to have a “little” sibling rivalry.

1. Arguments are arguments. They can be settled, it is a way for kids to learn and practice being adults and having to deal with not seeing eye-to-eye with someone else. We should let these smaller disagreements be teaching tools to show kids how to find a middle ground. But we do not want to see them escalate into full-blown physical fights. Conflict resolution is a very important life-skill. So as long as no one is trying to kill or maim someone else, let those little squabbles be the teaching tool they are.

2. Nurture the positive! When you see your kids getting along well and doing nice things for one another, praise them for it! Give them opportunities to do good things for each other. When one has a birthday or reason to celebrate like a graduation take the others to find them a special present, or make them a special card. Promote their ability to praise one another and see each other’s strengths. This can also help them to see their own strengths and see the importance in showing the people we love how much they mean to us.

3. Spend some alone time with each child. This can be difficult, but it really only takes a little while. You don’t have to disappear with each kid for hours or days. Sometimes 15 minutes or half an hour is all that is necessary to make each child realize how important they are. Go for a walk, let one child help you make dinner. Sit with them and chat about their day. By showing them how important they are as individuals they will spend less time fighting over your affection and will spend more time building their own relationship with each other and with you without fearing that they are not as loved as their sibling.

Sibling rivalry is normal in many ways. It is when it gets to be too volatile that we need to pay attention and intervene. So watch and listen, but try not to worry too much.