If you are looking for books to help you and your kids discuss important life lessons, I would encourage you to check out the Cooper and Me series, written and illustrated by 13-year-old Alexa Peters and her mom, Monique Peters. These books make a terrific springboard for conversations about important topics.
“Cooper and Me” tells the story of a little girl who is not looking forward to going to school. She thinks things will be okay if her dog, Cooper, a large black Labrador, goes with her. However, that is not possible. She and her mom talk about all the fun things that will happen at school and she is still unsure. She just has to have Cooper with her. In the end, her mom comes up with a creative solution. At the end of the book, there is a place for the child to write about their experience at their first day of school. Plus, a life lesson section, connection questions and discussion questions to help facilitate discussion about school and being afraid.
In book two, “Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure”, Cooper and his friend, Bella, are out playing in the snow when they discover they are lost. Now what? This story sets the stage for a discussion about making good decisions and what to do if they get lost. The end of the book includes a place for children to write information about themselves and safe people in their lives. Plus, a life lesson section, connection questions and discussion questions to help facilitate discussion about making good decisions and strategies to implement in case they get lost.
I like these books for a couple of reasons. First, they are written by someone under the age of 18. Kids like to hear kids read. Kids like to hear kids sing. Kids like to see what other kids are doing. What an encouragement to other aspiring authors and illustrators it could be to see a book written, illustrated and produced by a young person! Second, these books talk about things that kids can relate to OR need to talk about with their parents. It can be difficult to start a conversation about getting ready for your first day of school or what to do if you get lost, but reading books creates a natural segue into those kinds of conversations!
I would also encourage you to go beyond the books and check out the Cooper and Me website. It offers a comprehensive, interactive virtual community.. They offer printable games and activities related to the stories, information about the people (and dogs!) involved in creating the Cooper and Me series and information about the reading standards and common core education standards pertaining to the books on the Parents page and Schools page.
GIVE BACK! For every book you purchase until December 21st, another copy will be donated to the Today Show Toy Drive when you use the code “BUY1GIVE1” at checkout. Plus, $1 of every Winter Adventure book sold through February 2012 will be donated to the Lustgarten Foundation, America’s largest private foundation dedicated solely to funding pancreatic cancer research.
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