Friday, March 2, 2012

The Rewards of Sharing

The lesson may be overt in The Rainbow Fish—that sharing is the key to friendship—but for toddlers, it’s a topic that can never be discussed too often. The other two books in My Rainbow Fish Book Box build on the rewards the hero reaps from the friendships he makes and the things he learns from his experiences in that first book.

Remembering how it felt to be left out (by his own choice, but nonetheless…), the silver-scaled hero feels for the striped fish in Rainbow Fish to the Rescue!, whom his friends want to leave out. With the confidence he’s gained from his friendships, he summons the courage to swim down to the depths in search of his last silver scale in Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea. It’s never too soon to learn the rewards that emanate from that first act of friendship—sharing. And it’s one that most kids will have to re-learn over and over again.

If your toddler is already a sharer, there likely have been times when he or she has been taken advantage of by a still-prideful Rainbow Fish–type peer. And if the toddler in your life is going through a prideful Rainbow Fish phase, then these tales offer teachable moments.

I recently got to interview Kevin Henkes, creator of so many characters that lead the way to rich discussions with children (Wemberly Worried; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse) and he said, “I can't tell you how many times when my kids were little, when something was happening, we'd pick a book from a shelf and we'd read.” Henkes added, “I'd be waiting for a particular page to open the door to what was happening in their lives.” Whether it’s a silver scale, half a sandwich, a secret or a book that touches on what’s going on in a child’s life, sharing is a lifelong practice with countless benefits.

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