Book reviews - books for parents & teachers (page 2)

Here are books that can help parents in bringing up and teaching their children, and books for teachers to use in the classroom. The inclusion of books does not constitute a recommendation from Parents in Touch to apply particular techniques or theories - we have just reviewed a cross-section of the titles which we have been offered for review. Check out our Bloomsbury Books page too, as well as the excellent resources from Brilliant Publications.

My Child's Different: The lessons learned from one family's struggle to unlock their son's potential by Elaine Halligan

The author has written hinestly and openly about her son, Sam, who by the age of seven had been excluded from three schools. Later, he was diagnosed with several conditions ranging from autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) to pathological demand avoidance (PDA), before finally being diagnosed with dyslexia. The book tells the of journey from birth to adulthood; from "difficult" child to budding entrepreneur. There is much in the book that parents will recognise, whether or not their child has been diagnosed with learning difficulties, and they will feel both reassured and empowered. Interspersed throughout the narrative are the reflections and insights of parenting expert Melissa Hood, who illustrates the key concepts from Sam's story and shares practical positive parenting techniques to help parents better connect with their children. I found particularly interesting the contributions from Sam himself providing a perspective that will help deepen parents understanding of their children's feelings, and provide useful reading for young people. An inspiring book with a very personal approach which other parents will find very supportive.

Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating in Children, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions by Gillian Harris and Elizabeth Shea

There can be many reasons that lie behind apparent 'picky eating' and before dismissing it as a fad and lacking empathy for our children, we need to understand the reasons so we can help in the best way possible - and that's where this valuable book can help. A restricted dietary range is common with many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); called Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), it is due to sensory hypersensitivity and can impact on many areas of life. Still it is, of course, important that they enjoy a balanced and beneficial diet. The authors bring their training experience to bear in the pages of this book, enabling the reader to understand the condition and work with it, gradually increasing the range of food a child is able to eat. Plenty of case studies show the principles in action and reassure parents and carers. An easy to read practical guide to an impoortant subject. Clear layout and lots of helpful tips make the book highly accessible and the book is relevant to all children.

My Book about Brains, Change and Dementia by Lynda Moore

As adults, we find dementia hard to comprehend, so just imagine a child faced with a loved one who is impacted by dementia. Written for children of 5 and up, this book speaks directly to the child, showing their concerns are real and can be addressed and understood. The language and writing style used are totally appropriate for the age and bring just the right level of detail. Parents will find the book really useful to share openly with their child, as it shows them just how much children can be expected to assimilate. The opening 'Guide for grown ups' is particularly helpful here. Interestingly, the book includes a diverse audience of characters, showing any family can be affected. This simple well illustrated storybook is an excellent way to stimulate discussion and to begin an understanding of the subject.

All About Ben by Dorothy Markham and Aileen O'Donnell

The subtitle of this book is 'Helping children with attachment issues understand their feelings'. The presentation in story form is a good way to encourage discussion and tthere are plenty of illustrations that can be used to stimulate that discussion and get to the heart of problems. The reassuring story helps children with attachment issues to understand their feelings, to open up to a caring adult and learn how to choose positive behaviours. The book shows that Ben is made up of lots of different 'parts' - to name a few, he has happy, caring, angry, excited, hugging and yelling parts. Ben explains, in simple language, how all these parts are okay, and that a caring adult can help you to understand and manage them more easily. This book also includes activities to help children talk about their feelings, and a simple introduction to attachment theory for adults. This is a book that will benefit children of 5+, their parents and carers, and anyone who deals with children with attachment issues; sensitively written, it gives a good insight and understanding.

Don't Worry, Be Happy: A Child’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Poppy O'Neill

Do you know the signs to look for to be aware if your child is suffering from anxiety? Sadly, it is becoming an increasing problem, hence the current emphasis in schools on helping children to cope with and overcome anxiety. This practical guide is written for children aged 7 - 11 and combines proven cognitive-behavioural therapy methods used by child psychologists in schools with simple activities to help your child to overcome anxiety. These years are important for children - parents, carers and teachers can have a big impact at this age. The child-friendly activities are introduced by Fiz, a friendly and supportive character with whom children can identify. The presentation is highly visual and there are plenty of fun and engaging activities, interspersed with useful tips, inspirational statements and practical information for parents. Children can use the book independently, or with help from adults - but to get the full benefit, ideally I'd recommend plenty of adult input so you can assess your child's issues and find solutions. Shame the book does not have an index.

You're a Star: A Child’s Guide to Self-Esteem by Poppy O'Neill

Low self-esteem can have a huge impact on a child's life, schoolwork and relationships - but there is plenty adults can do to help boost self-esteem as this child-friendly accessible book shows. Feelings of isolation and anxiety over what others think of them are just some ways a low self-esteem shows This practical guide is full of simple to do activities to improve self-confidence, with many pages in the book for children to complete; I'd recommend plenty of parental input and sharing to get the full benefit. Proven cognitive-behavioural therapy methods used by child psychologists in schools are the basis of the book, which is aimed at children aged 7–11. Throughout the book, children will be guided by Bop, who shares the activties with them. The book is well designed with plenty of questions for children to think about and to discuss with adults; lots for adults to use too, both parents and teachers. Useful tips, inspirational statements and practical information for parents form a large part of this useful book; a book that will be welcomed by many who want to do their best for their children.

Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children by Naomi Walmsley and Dan Westall

Forest Schools are becoming very popular in schools, and rightly so, as they are invaluable in redressing the balance of indoor and outdoor experiences. They provide exciting and stimulating activities, encouraging risk-taking in a safe environment; my attention was initially caught by the generous number of photos in the book, which really show the activities and the children's enjoyment so well. Learn how to light a fire without matches, build a shelter to sleep in, cook on a fire, hunt for bugs and much more. From essential bushcraft basics and Stone Age survival skills to joyful outdoor play. There are four sections - Bushcraft, Wild Food, Nature Awereness and Games. Throughout the book, there are real-life experiences from the authorsThis practical book has lots to offer, both for experienced Forest School practitioners, and for those just setting out; many of the ideas and principles can be used in the school grounds too. Not just for teachers either - there's plenty here for parents to enjoy and to use to encourage their children outdoors. Wherever used, the result will be happy, confident and energised children with plenty of life skills and engagement with the natural world. An excellent practical handbook, packed with inspiration. Published by GMC, June 2018, ISBN 978-1784944032. Find out more.

   

Parent Alert How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online by DK

The importance of online safety simply cannot be over-emphasised; however much we may think we know, there is always more to be learnt in order to keep our children safe. This comprehensive book is a real eye-opener with its thorough coverage of all aspects of the subject. Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams and Will Geddes (an international security expert) were inspired to write this book following the huge success of their video about SnapChat. Cybercrime, sexting, cyberbullying, phishing, cyberstalking, grooming, nude selfies - just some of the dangers facing not only our children, but all of us. As you'd expect from a DK book, it is practical and straightforward to use, with succinct facts, personal experiences, rules and guidelines all complementing the main text. The call-out boxes are perfect for developing conversations with children, and for giving them things to think about. There's no doubt our children are tech-savvy (far more than the adults in many cases), but they are not worldly-wise and are inclined to take things (and people) at face value. It's our responsibility to educate them about their digital footprint and protect them from trolls, bullies, frenemies, and stalkers; by using this book, we will be informed about all these risks. The book emphasises that open communication and a full knowledge of your child's online activity (in an age-appropriate way) is key to protecting them. The book is written in a friendly and approachable manner which encourages reading. Will Geddes gives simple action plans, preventative steps, and advice on how to recognise the warning signs. Parent Alert! teaches best-practice cyber security on social media accounts; what signals might indicate that your child is falling prey to online grooming, bullying, or extortion; and how you can protect your children from danger. It is suitable for parents of all children including teens. It's a book to read through and then to keep on hand to help with any issues that come up. Every parent should read this; every school should have a copy.

The Tiger Mum Who Came to Tea by Uttom Chowdhury

We have all met them, haven't we? The mums who make us feel inadequate because of all the achievements and activities of their children. Jenny is a busy mum, who gets a visit from her friend, the Tiger Mum visits Jenny and is soon boasting of her son's achievements and demonstrating that educational activities come before everything else, making Jenny feel she's not doing enough for her own children. Jenny discusses this with her husband, and together, the two decide that quality family life is more important. This humorous and perceptive look at this tricky subject makes us appreciate the importance of a warm and loving family life; the nessage is clearly expressed and the illustrations give plenty of insight into various aspects of family life - excellent to use as the basis for discussion. It will strike a chord with many a reader.

Conversation Starters for Direct Work with Children and Young People (Practical Guides for Direct Work) by Audrey Tait and Becky Dunn

So often, it's the initial starting of discussion that can be a stumbling block - get over that and conversation often flows. So that's where this excellent book comes in. The problem can be especially acute when dealing with children who have problems and issues in their lives. Adults talking over these issues need to be confident and informed, and this book offers guidance and support. The issues covered are very relevant in our society and include domestic abuse and drug use, mental health issues, adoption and fostering, family illness and bereavement, as well as giving evidence in court. These difficult issues are discussed sensitively and include practical examples and activities. This is a practical and well-written book, based on many years of experience; one that adults will find invaluable when tackling problematic issues, giving them insight and an understanding of the way young people think and enabling them to offer effective support.

Difference Not Disorder: Understanding Autism Theory in Practice by Dr Catherine Harvey

Ways of working with autism have changed a great deal in recent years, with greater understanding and a variety of approaches to suit differing needs. This book gives readers a greater understanding of the developing theories on autism and how these have affected the interventions and outcomes in education. The author exposes the myths around autism, advocates for understanding autism as difference rather than impairment, and provides practical guidance on teaching and learning, behaviour management, addressing sensory and physical needs of children with ASD. The positive approach of the book will help all adults who care for children with autism to put autism research into practice, learn from historic mistakes and create the most supportive environment for children on the autism spectrum. Primarily aimed at teachers, the book will give them a greater insight into working with these children; an insight that comes from many years of experience and research. A far greater understanding of the needs of ASD children will result from reading the book, and will lead to improvements in addressing their needs.

Supporting Toddlers’ Wellbeing in Early Years Settings edited by Helen Sutherland and Yasmin Mukadam

Focusing on children from 18 months upwards who are in Early Years settings, the book starts with an interesting overview of the concept of wellbeing. It continues with chapters on home, family, health, development and learning, voice and expressions, early language, meal times and early years settings. We read a great deal about children who are not fully prepared for full time school - applying the practical advice and using the strategies here will overcome that issue. The comprehensive lists of references which follow each chapter will be invaluable for students and those who want to do further research. The guidance is well supported with case studies and examples of good practice from Norway, Spain and the UK, which gives an interesting and varied range of experiences. These are expanded on with reflective thinking exercises and suggested strategies to implement. A practical and user-friendly book which is full of ideas to implement and to stimulate thought and discussion.

Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home by Vicki Psarias

I like the inclusion of the word 'honest' here and in Vicki's site honestmum.com - this is no idyllic picture but frank and honest views to which all mums can relate, with positive outcomes. Juggling work and family is a tricky business but you will find plenty of tips here. Mums returning to work after birth can lack confidence and there are plenty of tips on both preparing to be a mum and on returning to the workplace. The main focus, however, is the increasingly popular avenue of building up your own business from home. In this book Vicki shares how to turn your passions into a business that suits the modern mum's lifestyle - all you need is a table and a laptop. An inspiring read which will motivate and empower women balancing motherhood and work, with plenty of down-to-earth advice, engagingly presented. Vicki Psarias is an award-winning blogger and vlogger; the blog, combined with Vicki's social channels, has an average monthly reach of 1 million.

Bully-Proof Kids: Practical Tools to Help Your Child to Grow Up Confident, Resilient and Strong by Stella O'Malley

Bullying is an issue that many parents fear, but here we have an empowering book that will help parents give their children the tools they need to help them. Practical strategies will empower children and teens to deal confidently with bullies and dominant characters. The practical advice includes how to approach schools over this tricky topic, communicating with the bully’s parents and tips to tackle the modern-day and ever-increasing problems of cyberbullying. The down-to-earth approach will help your child, tween or teen to develop their emotional intelligence and the suggestions will even feed through into adult life. The case studies are very useful in showing some of the ways bullying is carried out, and how the victims coped. An invaluable resource to reassure parents that they are doing the best they can for their children, covering many aspects of the problem and helping empower children and teens when faced with difficult ituations.

The M Word: for Women Who Happen to be Parents by Maia Dunphy

Maia Dunphy is a blogger and TV presenter who is popular for being in touch with how women feel, and identifying with their issues. Now a new mum, her focus has shifted to the pressures of modern motherhood and here she shares her experiences common to so many new mums, including dealing with unwanted advice, sleep deprivation, competitive parenting and even dirty nappies. The serious advice is temepered with plenty of touches of humour and the entertaining cartoons reflect the tone of the book perfectly. It's a reassuring book, that shows new mums they are definitely not alone - perhaps one to pick uo when cuddling a sleepless baby in the middle of the night? It's perfect for mothers everywhere who are tired of the pressure and well-meaning advice to do it all whilst running on two hours’ sleep and wearing baby-sick-covered clothes.

Fun Games and Activities for Children with Dyslexia by Alais Winton

The subtitle of this book is 'How to Learn Smarter with a Dyslexic Brain'. Full of practical and easily-implemented ideas, this book will be welcomed by parents, teachers and children aged 7 to 13. Dyslexic herself, Alais Winton shows the positives of being dyslexic, giving lots of suggestions that make learning - and even spelling - fun. Children with dyslexic tendencies (and their siblings too) will enjoy the wide-ranging practical and creative activities for children and teens to use, which include Spelling Sculptures, Say It, Play It! and Hear it, Sing it, Beat it! The games and activities use the four different learning styles that work best with dyslexics - thinking in pictures, in movement, in music or socially so adults will find there is plenty for their child, regardless of learning style - and they may well find styles they didn't feel appropriate do in fact work effectively, thus increasing their own knowledge and teaching skills. The amusing cartoons by Joe Salerno will appeal to visual learners. There is a practical and helpful section with advice on how parents and carers can aid learning. An excellent book which will build confidence in children and help their adults give them the support they need - and make it fun.

Child Protection in the Early Years: A Practical Guide by Eunice Lumsden

Sadly, this is a topic of increasing concern to Early Years practitioners, who have a highly responsible role in identifying and monitoring vulnerable children in their care, due to their regular contact. This is an accessible guide which is easy to read, down-to-earth and not scare-mongering. The creation of a safe and supportive environment for these vulnerable children is essential and practitioners are helped to provide this through the book. We need to understand the impact of early childhood trauma and this practical aspect is given excellent coverage. The identifying features of abuse are clearly described - and may include some readers have not thought of. The practical exercises, case studies, and reflection points are a great asset in showing practitioners how to act and support the children in their care. Current legislation , policy and procedure (but remember they are ever-changing) are clarified in clear, concise language. The book is ideal for sharing amongst staff in any Early Years setting and it would make an excellent basis for training sessions.

Maria and Me: A father, a daughter (and Autism) by Maria and Miguel Gallardo

Miguel Gallardo is father to a 12 year old autistic daughter, and his book will resonate with other parents in the same situation, giving them confidence to face the challenges presented, and especially when travelling. The comic book style is used effectively to engage both adult and young person (although I prefer the use of lower case writing to make for easier reading for those who may struggle). It tells the story of a week-long holiday in the Canary Islands. The book sensitively tackles the issues Maria faces, with practical solutions showing how Miguel responds to challenges, as well as other people's reactions. Written with plenty of humour, this reassuring book helps to show how Maria sees and experiences the world in her own way and that she is her own unique person, just like us all. An excellent read, both for families with autistic children and to help others understand the challenges they face.

Storytelling and Story-Reading in Early Years by Mary Medlicott

Young children love to be read to, and we should do all we can at this receptive stage to foster a love for stories, books and reading. Well-told stories significantly improve young children's early communication and literacy skills. The book emphasises the importance of preparation, being aware of the nature of the audience, and the effective use of props - always important for young children, to keep them engaged. There are plenty of examples of the type of stories that work well, accompanied by follow-up activities that work well for children aged 2 to 5. The author gives practical advice on how to cater for all learning needs, such as children with hearing impairment or learning difficulties, and children who are learning English as a second language; these are very useful and will be welcomed by readers of the book. The author writes with great enthusiasm and from a strong base of experience, to bring us a book that will inspire all those connected with young children to increase their use of stories to good effect.

Fun Games and Physical Activities to Help Heal Children Who Hurt by Beth Powell

The activities in this bok are designed to develop children's brains by strengthening muscle memory and and building of bonds. Taking us aside from the high tech world in which we live, these no-tech, physical games, strategies and activities can be done by anyone, anywhere, without specialist equipment. Ideal for children who have experienced neglect, abuse and trauma, these "real-world" experiences draw on therapeutic, trauma-focused-care play principles and promote positive attachment between child and caregivers. The book shows how particular activities contribute to healing the neurological and psychological damage that trauma has created. It also advises on helping children to problem-solve by acting out situationss in real life. The questions at the end of each chapter are valuable for reflecting on what has been learnt and how to apply that; the personal experineces help reassurance and credibility, showing the impact of the activities in the real world. A useful book for gteachers, therapists and parents which takes a refreshing new approach that can be utilised in many areas of childhood.

School Readiness and the Characteristics of Effective Learning by Tamsin Grimmer

We hear a great deal about the problems teachers encounter when children start in Reception and just haven't mastered the basics they need to benefit from school life, so this is a really important topic. By understanding the situations children find themselves in, Early Years practitioners are better placed to help. This book explores the concept of school readiness by analysing what the term means for children and how we can define it in the context of the characteristics of effective learning. The book is full of practical ideas for promoting playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically, all of which will deveop the school-readiness of children. It also usefully looks at the issue from the perspective of schools and examines how we can ensure schools are ready to receive children and suggests ways in which preschools and nurseries can work collaboratively with schools and engage parents and carers to ensure a smooth transition. The book takes a well-rounded view that extends beyond the Early Learning GOals to look at the child and the ssituation as a whole, and the practical examples will guide and inform.

Using Picture Books to Enhance Children's Social and Emotional Literacy by Susan Elswick

I was really interested to see this book, as its focus is using well-known characters from children's literature as a basis for helping children to deal with emotions. When we think about it, children;s books cover every possible emotion, oftenhandled in ways that children will understand and respect, so the characters provide the perfect opportunity to explore and help with managing emotions. We know children can struggle with expressing emotions - and even understanding them - and this can have a major impact on behaviour, so any ways to help are valued. This fascinating book is for teachers, therapists, counsellors and parents. Some of the books cited are less well-known than I would have liked, but more popular books include The Berenstein Bears, Rainbow Fish and Holes which are used as a basis for practical activities that enable children to express and manage these emotions. Social-emotional literacy training helps students develop important life skills and this book offers an introduction to social-emotional literacy, followed by activities related to emotions such as empathy, friendship, grief and self-esteem, aiming to embed this literacy training into daily school and home activities to increase children's chances of future success. The ideas are interesting and could easily be extended into texts children are using in class.

My Anxiety Handbook by Sue Knowles,‎ Bridie Gallagher and‎ Phoebe McEwen

It's a sad fact of modern life that we need books like this. Our young people are suffering levels of stress never before experienced - or recognised - and this practical book will give olenty of practical ways to help. The book is specifically aimed to help teens 12 - 18. Recognising that anxiety is a normal human emotion that many people face will help teens to understand and accept, going a long way towards helping. The book helps young people understand the ins and outs of their own anxiety and helps them to challenge the difficult patterns they may get into. Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself, it is a relatable and straightforward guide. As well as providing tried-and-tested advice and exercises that are proven to reduce feelings of anxiety, it includes empowefring recovery stories from young people who have managed their symptoms successfully, and these will resonate with readers, giving them cause for optimism. Additionally, there are practical chapters on sleep, exam stress, transitions, and seeking extra help, this is a go-to guide for any tween, teen or young person living with anxiety. An excellent and approachable book which addresses many concerns.

Giving Children a Voice: A Step-By-Step Guide to Promoting Child-centred Practice by Sam Frankel

Children - the most important people in the classroom - need their voices to be heard and this insightful guide will help practitioners take account of that. Taking the issue one step at a time, this book empowers teachers to make the best use of children's potential to advocate for themselves. By honouring and harnessing the involvement and contributions of children, social workers and education professionals will be able to improve their daily practice and positively transform key spaces within society to create environments where children experience a sense of belonging and purpose, full of potential benefits for both adults and children. It's a practical book, from which practitioners can take as much or as little as they want to improve their practice, buidling from a solid foundation. Good use is made of a wide range of case studies which really show the principles at work.

Starving the Exam Stress Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donnelly

The subtitle of the book sums it up perfectly - a cognitive behaviourat therapy workbook on managing stress for young people. It's a title that will immediately draw the attention of parents who want to help their teens manage the stress of exams, and a title that will draw in young people. The immediate impact of the book lies in its user-friendly presentation, with cartoons, speech bubbles and plenty of space for readers to write in. The book is based on the fact that fear feeds fear, and the more stressed and worried young people become, so the exam stress gremlin gets bigger and bigger. But the book clearly shows that he can be stopped. Starve him of stress-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours and stress will fade away. Packed with engaging activities, this self-help workbook explains what exam stress is, how it develops and the impact it can have - providing the reader with an understanding of their own exam stress. Rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy, it is also bursting with strategies to help the reader manage their exam stress by changing how they think and act. Teachers will find this an excellent book too, helping them support their pupils. Practical, friendly and approachable - highly recommended.

Achtung Baby: the German Art of Raising Self-Reliuant Children by Sara Zaske

In Germany, children have greater freedom that many other Western countries. Through her own family's often funny experiences as well as interviews with other parents, teachers, and experts, the author shares the many unexpected parenting lessons she learned from living in Germany. Achtung Baby reveals that today's Germans know something that other parents don't (or have perhaps forgotten) about raising children to be self-reliant. It is a book that will really make parents think about why we act in the way we do, and it provides plenty of stimulating food for thought and challenges for preconceptions. Parents everywhere can use the thoughts and ideas to encourage them to think about the freedom their own children have. Interesting and insightful, it's a fascinating look at one family's way of life.

Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety by Dawn Huebner

It's a sad reflection of life today that children's anxiety is a real and increasing cause for concern. What starts off as a minor concern has a nasty of habit of escalating very quickly into something far more serious and as adults, we need to do all we can to stop this in its tracks - and that's where this practical book will help. One of the problems with worry is the behaviour it produces, which can spiral into a way of causing even more worry. Outsmarting Worry shows 9-13 year olds, and the adults who care for them, a specific set of skills that makes it easier to face and overcome worries and fears. Practical proven techniques are presented in language immediately accessible to children with an emphasis on shifting from knowing to doing, from worried to happy and free. It provides an excellent springboard for discussion and helps the recognition of problems. The lively presentation, not too text-heavy, and with cartoon-style illustrations, makes this a very accessible book.

The Forever Letter: Writing What We Believe for Those We Love by Elana Zaiman

This is not a book about 'ordinary' letter writing. It is a very unusual book about the 'forever letter', a message to impart your values, articulate your feelings, and deepen relationships. Elana Zaiman transforms the little known Jewish tradition of writing an ethical will into an important tool for anyone to use. This simple and engaging book shows you not only the origins of this tradition, but also gives specific, practical guidance and encouragement on writing your own letter. You ll discover the author's personal stories; examples from her forever letter workshops; and related wisdom from literature, philosophy, and psychology.

Developing Empathy in the Early Years: A Guide for Practitioners by Helen Garnett

Research-based and full of practical applications, this is a book that really brings the child to the forefront of how practitioners care for children. Empathy allows us to connect with others, helping generate happiness and success; it is something we all need to develop so there is plenty here for us all to learn from. Children have the power to grow and re-build their natural empathy and this is an excellent trait to develop from a young age. This guide is for early years professionals, providing them with the tools to make empathy the foundation for their work. It reveals where the roots of empathy lie, how to prioritise it in practice, and how it manifests itself in young developing brains. It is well written and easy to follow, with plenty of background material. The book is well supported by extensive references which will help those who want to look into the subject in more depth.

I Don't Like Reading by Lisabeth Emlyn Clark

Harry doesn't like reading - he prefers to be active, playing football, climbing trees, and being with friends. He worries about reading, until his teacher explains that Harry has dyslexia, which makes things like reading and writing particularly hard for him. This picture shows how specific strategies for reading with dyslexia help Harry and give him back his confidence. Although the book is a picture book for children, I have reviewed it with books for parents and teachers to bring it to their attention, as it is valuable for helping children understand dyslexia.

Inside Out Parenting: How to Build Strong Children from a Core of Self-Esteem by Holan Liang

This practical book takes a new look at parenting, turning around many pre-conceived ideas. It works from the premise that what comes from within is important, and that the key is building a core of self-esteem, resilience and social ability.The book blends science from a research and professional point of view, memoirs and hands-on anecdotal evidence, bringing a very readable book. It doesn't claim perfection but offers a balance of top tips and failed attempts. Liang offers an empowering and holistic approach to parenting that champions building a strong base of 'inside things' so that the 'outside things', such as achievement in musical exams and academia, have a strong foundation and core of security, giving them a deeper meaning for your child. A fascinating approach which has much to offer.

Autism in My Family by Catherine Faherty

Sibling relationshios can be challenging at the best of times, but when one child is autistic and demands a great deal of the family attention, life can get tough for the rest of the family. This interactive workbook is specifically designed for siblings of children with autism. Ii can be hard for these children, especially when young, to understand autism, but this book does an excellent job, by introducing the experience of autism in simple language. It shows children that they are not alone, and through activities that identify differences and strengthen relationships, siblings will be empowered to cope with challenges in a positive way, whilst offering support to their autistic sibling. This book focuses on understanding and supporting a sibling while developing individual emotions and identity. The pages are designed to be drawn on and personalised by the child, letting them feel in full control. Ideal for young children aged 8-12 who have a sibling with autism, the activities can be completed with a parent's guidance or on their own. Full of resources, strategies, and exercises, this workbook can support professionals working with children and facilitate healthy sibling relationships. An excellent book which is really practical and supportive; excellent to see such a book for young people.

A Girl Like Tilly: Growing up with Autism by Helen Bates

If you really want to know how it feels growing up as a girl with autism - and to have a really positive spin on it - then this is the book for you. Based on true life experience, it is the story of a girl who is bright yet is struggling at school, hates the unexpected, struggles with friendships - and isn't even sure if she's a girl or a boy. Life is hard work. Growing up undiagnosed, Tilly finds life increasingly difficult and withdraws into her own world. With vividly expressive illustrations and minimal words, this story is a valuable and accessible tool for helping children aged 7-13 and their families understand female autism, and will also be immensely helpful to readers interested in understanding better how autism manifests in girls. Ultimately, it is a positive and upbuilding read which will give anyone, autism in the family or not, a better understanding - and hopefully early diagnosis and help..

Adopting: Real Life Stories by Ann Morris

Real life experiences cannot be bettered when discussing such an important topic - theory is all very well, but it is the people who have been through the experience of adoption, whether as adopter or adoptee (or working with adopted children), which gets to the heart of the issue. With more than 70 real life stories, this is a book which covers a huge range of experiences, all excellently and sometimes poignantly, expressed. They read easily, written as stories and take the reader on a journey through every stage of the adoption process. It includes chapters on adopting children of all ages as well as sibling groups; adopting as a single parent; adopting as a same sex couple; adopting emotionally and physically abused children; the nightmare of adoption breaking down; contact with birth parents; tracing and social media and more. The range is exceptional, and there really is something for everyone. Even as one with no experience of adoption, I felt enlightened by this very readable book.

Striker, Slow Down!: A calming book for children who are always on the go by Emma Hughes

I choose to put this book with books for adults, as it really does merit adult input and sharing to help children get the most out of it. Told as the story of Striker the unstoppable cat, children will relate to the character without feeling threatened. Striker never slows down until a bump to the head brings this busy cat to a standstill. Will Striker finally listen to his mama and learn to make time for a little calmness? With its lively and child-friendly illustrations, this picture book for ages 3-6 aims to teach busy children about the benefits of taking time to sit quietly and clear their mind. Touching on the principles of mindfulness, it provides the perfect introduction to the differing feelings of chaos and calm and encourages children to find balance in their increasingly busy lives. Simple and effective.

Better Play by Alison Woolf

Play is absolutely fundamental to learning in schools, so I was delighted to be asked to review a book which focuses totally on play - and play right into adolescence. Better Play will help teachers to think about how supporting play in schools can make for better relationships and for better learning - and it's packed with ideas that can be used to encourage sceptical peers to make play part of their everyday routine. Play in schools certainly does not cease to matter after the Early Years, as this book shows. Reading this book will remind you that play matters for everyone, and is important for different reasons at different times in our lives. Are you unsure how to support play in and out of our classrooms? Better Play! offers practical strategies for school staff across Primary, Secondary and Alternative Learning settings. It helps with supporting emotional well-being and under proper supervision can help to counteract bullying. It's a shame (speaking as an indexer) that the index has errors - it does undermine a book's credibility. However, this is an excellent book, clearly laid out with consistent topics through the chapters - an excellent staffroom resource.

Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens, and Families by Susan Kaiser Greenland

Mindfulness is a real hot topic at the moment, and whether or not your practise the techniques, this book is bound to have some ideas that teachers and parents can put to good use. The book contains sixty simple games to develop attention and focus, and identify and regulate emotions. Playing games is a good way for children to develop their focusing and attention skills. Susan Kaiser Greenland has had a lot of success bringing mindfulness to the classroom, and in this book she shares her experience, showing how parents, caregivers, and teachers can cultivate these qualities at home or in a school setting. There are plenty of variations on each game, giving teachers and parents lots of ideas to customise the activities to their needs.

Yoga Way to Radiance: How to Follow Your Inner Guidance and Nurture Children to Do the Same by Shakta Kaur Khalsa

Shakta Khalsa is a world-leading expert on yoga. This comprehensive book uses ancient wisdom, inspiring stories, and helpful practices like yoga and meditation. It claims to show the reader how to reclaim the authentic self and how to nurture the same in children through conscious parenting and teaching. Each chapter uses yoga-based tools to help the reader embrace their inner guidance, live with wonder and joy, and mirror that to children. Learn how to be mindfully present, trust your intuition, and honour the authentic self. With Shakta Khalsa's guidance, it offers one way to discover the keys to building a rich, happy, and ever-evolving existence for you and the children in your life.

The Parents' Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties: Information, Advice and Practical Tips by Veronica Bidwell


It will be a worrying time for parents when they are told their child has learning difficulties, but this reassuring book will help and guide them so their child can have the best possible outcome. It's an eminently practical book, with plenty of advice and practical strategies. The case studies which appear liberally throughout the book not only offer practical advice which is tried and trusted, but also show parents that they are not alone. Part one introduces a spectrum of SpLDs, including poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty - it's comprehensive and thorough. It explains clearly what each difficulty is, how it can affect a child's learning and how to help a child to succeed despite their difficulties. Part two includes a host of tips, tools and strategies to support your child's efforts in areas such as reading, writing, spelling and handwriting, as well as advice on motivation, confidence and managing life's setbacks. The author is an experienced Educational Psychologist and she writes directly to the parents, ensuring they fully understand the issues discussed. The book is not just for parents, despite the title - it will also prove invaluable to teachers who are increasingly finding they are dealing with children with a wide range of SpLDs within mainstream classes - it will help them to differentiate lessons and motivate pupils with SpLDs. Clear, easy-to-read - definitely a must-have for all parents who want to understand their child's needs fully, and give them all the support they can; the information of each SpLD is really comprehensive and enlightening; it will also help parents when speaking to teachers - and teachers when speaking to parents.

The A to Z of ASDs: Aunt Aspie's Guide to Life by Rudy Simone


  "The A to Z of ASDs is a one-stop shop for adults on the autism spectrum in the form of an alphabetical guide to an array of challenging topics. From anxiety to zen meditation, compassion to self-esteem, dating to socializing (and everything in between), Aunt Aspie's wisdom and witty one-liners offer helpful advice for serious subjects. With tried-and-tested tips, Aunt Aspie shares some of the tough life lessons she's learnt so you can avoid making the same mistakes, and make informed choices on the issues that matter. Sometimes philosophical, often light-hearted and always informative, the practical information in this book will help you to navigate tricky life issues, and enable you to think through the more challenging questions facing people with ASDs." Product information from publisher.

Successful Social Stories for Young Children (Growing Up with Social StoriesTM) by Siobhan Timmins

You may be asking "What are social stories?" "Social storiesTM were created by Carol Gray in 1991 to help teach social skills to people on the autism spectrum. They are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why." They are acknowledged as a very successful way of teaching concepts and social understanding to children with autism spectrum disorders. The problem is, however, the writing of successful stories - and that is where this book is so valuable. With its clear and engaging presentation, the book introduces a range of ways of thinking about the issues your child finds difficult; this is a valuable insight and really helps parents understand this disorder which can be so hard to comprehend without expert help. The book includes 32 illustrated stories created by Dr Siobhan Timmins for her son during his early years, with helpful explanations of how she did it, and what the underlying thinking was behind each set of stories, so adults know just what is right for each situation. The author explains how the stories build upon each other to help the child to understand further, more complex topics, and how to see the connections so that you can best help your child. From basic skills such as learning to listen, wait and share, to common fears, this book takes the mystery out of creating effective Social Stories™ and clearly demonstrates how to put together a cohesive set of stories which your child can understand and relate to. The personal approach, based on the author's own experiences, will really resonate with parents who will find the book easy to read and act on.

Secret, Secret by Daisy Law

Just put yourself in a child's place and imagine how confusing secrets can be. This book gives parents an excellent way in to discussing secrets of all sorts with their children. The book is told through simple rhymes which accompany far more complex pictures. It shows children that there are big secrets, small secrets, ones you'd never tell, ones you want to tell, ones you keep locked up, or hidden under your bed. There are ones that make you smile, and others that make you scared. It is the pictures that will really stimulate discussion, as the each tell a story whilst leaving options open. The book explores the different types of secrets children may have, and encourages them to feel confident to share their secrets. It will be perfect for adults, teachers and parents, to facilitate discussion with any child aged 3-7 who has trouble opening up and provides a great opportunity for discussing the things we should and shouldn't keep secret. The book also includes a section at the end for adults on how to respond to disclosures. Subtle yet powerful.

Flying Starts for Unique Children by Adele Devine

Giving all children a good first impression of school can make all the difference to their entire school experience; it's just as important for children with SEN and autism but there is less guidance out there to help teachers. This book will really help teachers who are increasingly dealing with SEN and autism in mainstream schools as well as within special schools. It covers essential topics such as working with parents, supporting transitions between home and school, helping children with sensory issues to cope in a stimulating classroom, teaching waiting and patience skills, using visual teaching methods, understanding behaviour, promoting independence and much more. Case studies and practical examples show exactly how a truly inclusive classroom can be achieved, by demonstrating how a range of situations are experienced from the child's perspective. Designed to be perfect for dipping into and referring back to as problems arise, this book is a fantastic resource for busy educators. It is full of case studies, and these practical examples are particularly useful.

 

 

 

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