During a recent library trip, I saw two brand new books (ages 2-6) by Stuart J. Murphy: Percy Plays It Safe and Good Job, Ajay! The vibrant colors and adorable characters prompted me to check them out. Both books are part of a new preschool series whose purpose is to aid children in developing life skills that are crucial for success at home, in school, and on the playground. The books conclude with discussion questions and a visual aid that reinforces critical life skills.
At the website devoted to this new series, you can view more information and videos describing the characters, the books, and the objectives. There are currently two other books in the series: Emma’s Friendwich and Freda Plans a Picnic.
Good Job, Ajay! (Emotional Skills: Building Confidence)
Ajay loves playing ball, but he has difficulty throwing it well. Percy and Freda come over to help him practice. To build up his confidence, they reminisce about other tasks he initially was apprehensive to try, such as talking to a teacher and swimming in a pool. His friends remind him of the steps he took to overcome his fears to enjoy those activities. With the help and encouragement of his friends, Ajay continues to practice throwing the ball until he masters the skill. At the end of the book, a simple Venn diagram illustrates how children build confidence. In addition, there are discussions questions about Ajay’s feelings, interactions, and choices. Finally, connections are made to the listeners’ personal experiences on trying new activities and building confidence.
Percy Plays It Safe (Health and Safety Skills: Playground Safety)
Percy plays at the park nearly every day. He loves to swing, to slide, and to run while imagining he is a monster. Unfortunately, he does not always play safely on the equipment or carefully around others. He inconsiderately bumps into others on the monkey bars and runs through children’s creations in the sandbox. He also crawls up the slide and goes does head first! Percy does not think about the consequences of his actions or the rules at the park. When he gets hurt jumping off a swing, he is finally willing to stop and to reflect on his actions. The next day Percy does all his favorite activities, but he learns how to do them safely and considerately. At the end of the book, do and don’t pictures are side by side for children to talk about. In the discussion questions about Percy’s experience, it is suggested that the listeners act out how to play in prudent ways and to discuss how to play safely.
For information on Stuart J. Murphy’s educational Math Series, check out this previous blog entry.