I happened to catch Dancing with the Stars last night. It was funny when Olympic gymnast, Shawn Johnson, was trying to teach gymnastics to her professional dancing partner, Mark Ballas. It's a great example of how one person could be an expert in one area, and a total amateur in another.
Don't we all experience times when we shine, and times when we falter? We are only human, after all. It's a lesson that is not so easily learned, especially during those dreaded middle school years. Today, I'd like to focus upon two chapter books by an author who makes it easier for tweens to learn this important life lesson.
When children get to 4th or 5th grade, they all of a sudden start labeling people with such terms as "loser," "winner," "cool," or "nerdy." This is not cool for me or any other parent out there, but it's a fact of life. Anything we can do as parents to make this period of time easier will help our children to become more empathic, caring, and resilient people.
The book, Loser, by Jerry Spinelli, is about the life of a boy named Donald Zinkoff, who is suddenly labeled as a "loser" in 4th grade. He is so comfortable with himself that he doesn't realize how negatively his peers have begun to view and treat him.
If your child has ever teased another child or been teased (pretty much everyone has at some point), I would highly recommend this book. GreenGuy really enjoyed it, because Jerry Spinelli writes in a very real and appealing way.
Jerry Spinelli is the author of many books, but another one that GreenGuy enjoyed, that has a similar theme, is Crash. This time the main character is a gifted athlete, who learns life lessons from an unpopular boy next door. GreenGuy once again loved how Jerry Spinelli wrote this book. The serious topic of bullying and the concept of "winners versus losers" are addressed in a subtle way that readers will find relevant and interesting.
Bullying is a serious topic that needs to be discussed at school and at home. You may not realize that your child is being bullied, or is the one doing the bullying. It's an important topic to discuss, so I highly recommend that you read these books either with your child, or on your own.
There are many forms of bullying. Did you know that watching someone being teased, and not speaking up, is a form of bullying? You don't have to be an active participant. A wonderful picture book that addresses this issue is called Say Something, by Peggy Moss. I would consider this book to be a must read for all parent and elementary school students.
If you suspect that your child is a bully, or is being bullied, there's a web site you should visit, called StopBullyingNow!. This site offers great resources for children and their parents. Take a look, when you get a chance.
We are all winners and losers sometimes. The sooner we discover and embrace that fact, the better off the world will be. If you make a point to read something...anything...with your child every day, it will help him or her to learn that lesson faster.
Please let us know what you think of these books! Comments are always welcome here.
Have a peaceful day.