This is a question I, as someone with a chronic anxiety disorder, ask a lot. I had to sit down and have some long, hard thinks about it when I had a kid, because I certainly wanted her to be safe, but I didn’t want to communicate my own pathology to her.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SAFE from Little Pickle Press would have helped with that. The summary for the book says this:
Children need easy guidelines to help them understand how to protect themselves and feel secure in their environments. Rana DiOrio’s newest addition to her award-winning series explores physical, emotional, social and cyber safety in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversation between adults and children about staying safe.
Wouldn’t that have been useful for me? I think it would have been. This book begins with a few giggles, illustrating some the definitions of “safe” this book is not about. When adult and child are relaxed and familiar with the children they’ll see through the book — and the ubiquitous turtle they can enjoy finding in every picture — the information slips in like the aroma of chocolate chip cookies.
This book would have been particularly useful for my particular child. When the first words she speaks to her preschool teacher are, “I’m tough as King Kong,” you know she isn’t going to listen to “Don’t do this or you could hurt yourself.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SAFE puts everything on an empowering basis. It isn’t about staying safe, it’s about making yourself and others safe. My kid would totally have gone for that. I was always all, “If you do this thing, a bad thing could happen to you,” and she was always all, “No, it wouldn’t. I wouldn’t let it.” This book is about telling your kid she (or he) is smart and strong and wise and has good judgement, so of course he or she will be safe because of course he or she will think in these smart and strong and wise and well-judged categories.
And that’s another thing I like about this book, and that my kid would have liked. The book doesn’t say, “Don’t get into a river with a strong current,” it shows a picture of a river with a fast current and says, [Being safe means] “…respecting the power of things that could harm you.” That would have led to a discussion about things with the power to harm and active ways to show respect (not be afraid of, which my kid would have rejected), and that would have helped teach her to recognize and respect all such things, not just the things I remembered to mention.
A diverse cast of characters, beautiful illustrations and the use of green technology to produce a superior product are also plusses.
WRITING PROMPT: Is your main character fearful or fearless or something in between? Would he or she want to pass on that quality to a young person or not?