I’m a Great Little Kid Series

I’m a Great Little Kid series

Today I’m sharing three books of the new I’m a Great Little Kid series, co-published by Second Story Press and BOOST Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention. Never Give Up, Reptile Flu and Fifteen Dollars and Thirty-Five Cents, are the first of six planned picture books for kids aged 5-8 to teach important lessons about communication, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Many of the same characters appear in each book. Written by Kathryn Cole with colorful illustrations by Quin Leng, the series will have a Facilitator’s Guide, which will be published with the final book in the series.  This is an important series that can be used to teach character education in the classroom.

Never Give Up9781927583609_p0_v1_s260x420Never Give Up: A Story about Self-esteem

April 2015

Synopsis: Nadia looks on as her friend, Shaun, struggles to ride his bicycle in the park — with training wheels. A group of kids laugh and tease Shaun about riding his “tricycle” and watch him take a spill. Shaun picks up his bike and tries again and again, each time crashing.  Nadia feels badly that she isn’t a good friend and doesn’t stand up to the taunting, but she offers to help him. Determined to not to give up, Shaun manages to impress his friends, win their respect and feel like a king.

Reptile FluuntitledReptile Flu: A Story about Communication

May 2015

Synopsis: Kamal is studying reptiles at school. His teacher announces a surprise class trip to visit a reptile show at the museum. Everyone cheers, except Kamal. He’s terrified of live reptiles, especially snakes. But he’s even more afraid of admitting his fear to anyone, including his teacher. What if his friends tease him? He unsuccessfully tries to get out of the trip by telling his parents and sister about his fear, but they are too busy to listen. At the last-minute Kamal finds a way communicate his fear with surprising results.

Fifteen51hWwUW+0KL__SY498_BO1,204,203,200_Fifteen Dollars and Thirty-Five Cents: A Story about Choices

September 8, 2015

Synopsis: Joseph and Devon are good friends at school. Joseph spots money on the playground and yells to Devon, “I’m rich!”  Joseph wants to keep the money, “finder keepers.” Devon thinks someone may have lost the money and wants to take it to the office and help find its owner. They spot Claire and Lin searching the playground; Lin was crying because she lost her money. During class, the teacher asks why Lin is so sad. Joseph shoots Devon a look to not tell. Will Devon be able to convince Joseph to do the right thing?

Kathryn Cole has spent a forty-five-year career in children’s books as an illustrator, art director, editor, designer, and publisher at Scholastic, OUP, Stoddart Kids and Tundra Books. Her experience along with 13 years of volunteering for BOOST give her a strong understanding of the issues children face every day. She is co-managing editor at Second Story Press in Toronto.

Qin Leng has illustrated a number of children’s books. She was born in Shanghai, China and lived in France before moving to Montreal. She always loved to illustrate the innocence of children and has developed a passion for children’s books. She has created art for many award-nominated picture books.

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid

Daniel Stefanski, Author

Hazel Mitchell, Illustrator

Free Spirit Publishing, Inc., 2011, Nonfiction, Self-help

Suitable for:  Grades 4 and up

Themes: Communication, interaction, inclusion, friendship

Opening/Synopsis“Say hi.  I want to be included just like anyone else.  I may be different, but I am a person, too.  People are different in many ways: Skin color, eye color, hairstyle, background, beliefs, you name it!  It feels good when people say hi to me, wave, and notice I’m here.  Please don’t ignore autistic kids just because they’re different.”  Daniel Stefanski is 14 years old, and has written a biographical, self-help book of his experience as a kid with autism.  He’s okay with his autism,  but also wants people to know that he is “artistic, handy, funny, helpful, generous, creative, curious,  a talented golfer and good at building and fixing things.”  He wrote this book to “help kids without autism to feel comfortable around kids with autism. ”  He hopes fewer kids with autism will feel lonely.

Bravo Daniel!  You have written a remarkable guide for kids.  Your book should be read and discussed in every school classroom.    How to Talk to an Autistic Kid is written for any child, teen or adult who comes into contact with a kid with autism.  Like Daniel, I don’t like using labels, but it is necessary in sharing his story.   The book is funny, poignant and true to Daniel.  Illustrator Hazel Mitchell  (click on link) has done a beautiful job of capturing Daniel’s personality and the complexities of autism in her artwork.  Her expressive illustrations fill each page and help readers understand what Daniel wants you to know as he navigates through life.

Why I like this book:   Daniel gives kids and teens the tools they need to develop friendships.  This is the first time I’ve read such practical advice from a teen with autism.  Daniel has done an outstanding job of explaining to kids why he doesn’t look at them; how his words get jumbled in his head; why noises, smells and lights bother him; why he struggles with understanding figures of speech like “go jump in a lake;” why he has difficulty understanding facial expressions of anger, surprise, frustration, and boredom; and why he becomes obsessed with certain subjects.   Daniel offers excellent tips to help kids interact and become friends with autistic kids.  He always urges kids to be respectful, kind, thoughtful, helpful and patient.

Like all kids, Daniel has big dreams and goals.  He wants to go to college and learn about computer animation, invent computer games for kids with disabilities and beat his step-dad at golf.   He wants to travel and write more books.  “I will always have autism, but that doesn’t mean my future won’t be great.”   I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Daniel!

Free Spirit Publishing is a leading publisher of self-help books for kids and teens.  They address tough topics such as teen depression, ADD/ADHD, kids and anxiety, grief and loss, juvenile justice, bullying and conflict resolution.