Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Books for Kids about Social Graces and Habits

These days, it would sometimes seem as though very few people care much about manners anymore, but when you really start looking that simply isn't true.  Manners are just a more formal way of thinking about consideration for those around you and most of us really do want to be considered in our daily interactions.  Here are a few books with the intention of introducing kids to the idea of "manners", you might like to check out.

Emily Post's The Guide to Good Manners for Kids:

Written by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D. this is a modern update guide to exactly what you would expect from anything with the name Post on it (well except post-it note pads and the United States Postal Service).  Great ideas for manners in even the most unique of circumstances.  Each chapter begins with a little introduction - something to consider or an imaginary situation.

What I Like About this Book:  The language in this book is very positive - (even the lists of rules are written as "do" lists rather than "don't" lists).  The book is thorough in presenting situations kids will encounter.  There are even suggestions about how to handle choosing bunks and other summer-camp related challenges kids might face.  The book also mentions safety considerations for kids - such as not saying your parents aren't home when taking a message on the phone.

What I don't Like About this Book:  It is a guide book and thorough, therefore it is long for the truly young and not quite "hip" enough for the age group for whom it might be regularly used.  A parent really will need to require going through this book with their kids for it to get used.

Time to Say "Please":

What can I say?  If I'm doing a list of books about a particular topic and Mo Willems has done a book that fits into the category.  It WILL be included.  This particular book has a bunch of mice reminding kids about a particular set of words that are likely to keep the people around you in a much better mood about helping you out.  It starts out with "Please", but moves on to "Excuse Me" and "Sorry" among others.

What I Like About this Book:

As always, Willems says most of what needs to be said through the seemingly simple illustrations he creates that say far more than any one would expect at first glance.  Of course the book is filled with visual humor as usual.  And the straight forward text is clear and positive without just seeming like a list of "to do's".

What I don't Like About this Book:

What's not to like?  Its Mo Willems!

Whoopi's Big Book of Manners:

Whoopi Goldberg's sense of humor is evident in this short book about manners as she takes you through everything that is "not as bad as" - well, I'll let her tell you.

What I Like About this Book: Really, it is funny - especially to a child's sense of humor and may be one of those picture books your preschooler or early elementary-aged child wants you to read again and again.  It covers the most basic things like "special words" (please, may I, thank you, excuse me), not interupting, and picking up after yourself.

What I don't Like About this Book: There is very little not to like about this one for the very young.  It's funny with engaging pictures and even has that repetitive and predictable thing that young children love so much going for it, but it does give a heirarchy to what is worse and some of the manners covered are just plain important all the time so as kids get to that age where they start figuring out how to "justify" things it stops being a useful book.  

Manners Mashup:

This book is a highly visual take on introducing some basic manners as it is mostly about the illustrations.  Each two page layout is a particular environment such as a bus, the cafeteria, classroom or a friend's birthday party.

What I Like About This Book:

I love the goofy illustrations and the sense of humor those illustrations offer. I also love that it is written and illustrated by a variety of people so each set of rules has a different voice and a different look to it. It really helps to keep learning about manners interesting.

What I Don't Like About This Book:

For the most part, the text is really just an elaborate list of do's and don'ts, but with some of the memorable illustrations, some kids might over look this fact and remember some of those dos and don'ts anyway.

Do Unto Otters:

This book by Laurie Keller isn't about manners! (wink wink).  This book is about a rabbit that has some otters move in and he is trying to figure out how to treat his otter neighbors by thinking through how he hopes they will treat him.

What I Like About This Book: This is such a clever take on the Golden Rule!  It is sweet and light hearted and doesn't feel preachy at all.  The illustrations are whimsically unique with a color palette that feels very similar to "Caps for Sale" but broader in spectrum.

What I Don't Like About This Book: The thing with the bee.  They don't just go around stinging for fun and some kids don't need more reminders to be afraid of bees.  I mean, buzz on! I know, I know, how nit picky can I be right?  Really though, there isn't much not to like about this one.  I'm really scraping bottom to find something here. 

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