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Saturday, August 18, 2007

My review of Am I Forgiving? by Jeannie St. John Taylor...

Product Description:

Gold Medallion finalist Jeannie St. John Taylor returns with her engaging character, Erik. Erik is afraid that he has lost his best friend when Chuck ignores him and plays in the snow with Todd. To make things worse, Erik breaks his arm when his sled swerves into a tree after trying to avoid their snowballs. Even though Erik thinks he will never forgive them, he learns that forgiving feels better than trying to get even . . . and it makes his friends feel better, too.

My review:

While geared toward children ages 4-8, Am I Forgiving? is an engaging story with an important lesson for kids of any age. It deals with emotional reactions to teasing and the games kids play (like ignoring you when they are with other kids) that hurt feelings. I remember having two friends when I was five and six. We could never all three be friends at the same time, but it was me with one of them or them leaving me out. Must be things kids do at that age. I would've loved to have learned a similar lesson about forgiving or I wouldn't have spent so much time being mad at them for not including me.

Developmentally this is a perfect story to read to any child before they start school or to prepare them regarding friendship problems and how to deal with rejection and teasing. The core lesson in the story is about what true forgiveness is and what it isn't. Having worked with abused kids for many years, I found this particularly beneficial.

There is a parents' guide at the end that gives parents suggestions on how to explain the lesson to their children. It says this... Forgiveness does not require that you to trust or become good friends with the person who you. Excellent advice! This should prevent victimization due to ignorance of the meaning of true forgiveness. And some of the words are hard enough that the story will expand the kids vocabulary, too. But beyond the storyline, the best part of the book is the adorable pictures. The author has inserted random cute animals throughout the pages and some illustrations are downright hilarious!

Am I Forgiving? was published by Kregel Kidzone and is being released August 2007.

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