Monday, July 8, 2024

Candlewick Press presents Social Emotional Learning with New Picture Books! [Review & Giveaway]

Social Emotional Learning with New Picture Books!

Foster and teach social emotional learning with picture books that discuss self expression, believing in yourself, understanding your moods, making friends, and learning to be brave. Important reads for little ones to learn problem solving and emotional acceptance.

Just Like Millie by Lauren Castillo | Ages 3 to 7

My thoughts:  A very introverted child is happy playing at home with her toys and being with her mother. When confronted, or given the opportunity to be with other children, she shies away clinging to her known world.

In a wise move, her mother takes her to where a young dog, Millie, is available and the child falls in love with it. Play. Bonding. These lead to outdoor activities and soon Millie sees another child with a dog also. The joy of making friends by Millie soon rubs off on the young girl.

The story is sweetly illustrated using bold black outlined drawings and soft richly toned colors. The child's personality is captured revealing her reticence to interact with others and then her hesitant, yet self-motivated, personally driven reach-out.

Well done children's book.

About the book: A young girl and her mother move to an apartment in a new city. Despite her mother’s efforts to take her out, . the girl would rather play by herself in their cozy home—she feels just fine on her own. Introductions to children her age have her hiding behind her mother’s legs, and invitations to group activities have her in tears. That is, until she meets Millie, a rescue dog who is not too big, not too small, and kisses her arm when the girl nervously reaches out. With Millie, saying hello to new people isn’t so scary . . . and maybe making a friend isn’t either. Through emotionally honest prose and soft, expressive illustrations, Lauren Castillo explores one girl’s shyness and anxiety—and how one dog’s love helps her open up—in a warm picture book that reminds readers of how the right companion can make the world feel like a less frightening place. Secret work: scared

“Millie’s constantly wagging tail makes this story a hopeful read-aloud for any family whose members struggle with shyness.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Earnest Sandpiper’s Great Ascent Written & illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering | Ages 3 to 7

My thoughts: A beautifully illustrated story of shore birds - Sandpipers. This involves a Sandpiper family with young birds ready to learn to fly. But one is hesitant, fearful, and unable to make it work for him. He is strongly encouraged by all and helped. But it just doesn't work for him.

Eventually, a bright balloon with red string attached drifts along and it inspires little sandpiper to leap and jump into the air. But then he becomes entangled in the string attached to the balloon. The string then gets twisted on a piece of driftwood. Impending tragedy approaches.

The story ends with the sandpiper's family helping him get free, so all does end well. The implication is, though, that birds and other creatures are in danger from the material of the balloon and the string. Back material is included to help folks understand the impact these materials have on birds and other creatures.

A lovely book with many lessons. One being that slow bloomers, slow learners, hesitant performers can be encouraged and helped along. Also, the ecological lesson is subtle, yet powerfully implied.

About the book: Gentle text and whimsical, sea-bright illustrations encourage wary fledglings to achieve the impossible, all in their own good time.

"Breathe . . . try . . . jump . . . FLY!"

With trademark energy and warmth, acclaimed creator Timothy Basil Ering delivers another picture book hero for young children to root for and relate to. The time has come for three young sandpipers to soar, but Earnest seems tied to the ground. He has wings and tail feathers just like his brother and sister; what makes him so afraid? Magic will happen, Mom promises, when he's ready. But no matter how much she and Dad coach him or his siblings cheer him on, Earnest's efforts only lead him into danger. Perhaps, with his family's support and a little trust in himself, they'll lead him out again.

Imagine Counting all the Stars by Raewyn Caisley, illustrated by Gabriel Evans | Ages 4 to 8

My thoughts: Imagine Counting All the Stars is a beautifully illustrated and written story of a little girl that is different from other children in that she thinks and treasures shapes, numbers, lines, counting, etc. This characteristic reveals her gifted mind that inclines toward mathematical and geometric. In the story, she is presented as a normal child in a normal school. Her father seems to recognize, at least I think he does, her mathematical abilities.

She is fine in school but one day senses a feeling of nonconnection. Her father schedules a trip to the observatory for Maddie and her new classmate, who surprisingly is also interested in things mathematical.

I love this book for its beautiful illustrations and its gentle telling of a gifted child's thoughts and actions.

About the book: Math makes for an inspiring new friendship in a story of kindred spirits who bond under a dome of billions of stars.

Maddie takes comfort in counting daisy petals and the parallel lines of moonlight pouring through her bedroom blinds. She finds joy in the black-and-white keys on a piano, the tessellations in a brick pathway. Dad understands and encourages her love of math, but Maddie longs for a friend who marvels with the same enthusiasm she does. The other girls prefer dolls to building with shapes at playtime, and when they bake together, Maddie likes to measure, while the others decorate. Always the odd girl out, Maddie finally meets her match when Dad invites new classmate Priya and her mom along on a stargazing expedition to the observatory. The unfathomable number of stars takes Maddie’s breath away—and Priya’s. Perhaps one of them will discover a way to count all those stars one day! Heartfelt text and timeless illustrations tell a relatable story of finding the right friend at the right time and counting yourself lucky indeed.

King Lion Written & illustrated by Emma Yarlett | Ages 3 to 7

My thoughts:  The theme of this story is how a character comes across as mean and hurtful to others when the intent is not to do so, and how this prevents his ability to socialize. This troublesome characteristic is overcome by another individual who is mindful enough to gently engage and befriend the other harsher individual.

In other words, how to be kind and friendly to those in need of a kind word or deed.

While I'm not particularly fond of the rough, bold artistic style that utilizes black line and rough-drawn text, it is effective. The fierceness of King Lion is effectively portrayed in the illustrations, and the bold yet gentle gesture of offered friendship is beautifully and boldly portrayed.

A good lesson in character shaping and social interactions.

About the book:  Why does everyone run away whenever this lonely beast roars “HELLO!” at them? A story about the art of making friends—and the bravery of one kind little girl.

King Lion wants a friend. But the only way he knows to communicate is to ROAR! Waving his paw, flashing a smile, and even cracking a joke don’t help. How can he let the townsfolk know that he just wants some company? Wild with loneliness, the king climbs to the top of a tower and roars his fierce sadness day and night, until one day, a little girl hears him and thinks that perhaps she understands. With charming illustrations, Emma Yarlett’s gently humorous take on how to make friends shows a little empathy goes a long way.

1 Copy of Just Like Millie
Begins July 8
Ends August 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received copies of these books to facilitate a review. Winner's prize copy is provided and mailed directly to the winner by Candlewick Press or it's publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

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