What Does It Mean To Be Safe?

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.

Highly recommended.

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?

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “What Does It Mean To Be Safe?

  1. tony

    November 15, 2011 at 10:26am

    This looks like a great addition to the series. The message seems timely and practical, especially around cyber safety in the era in which we now live. I wish this message were more broadly distributed when I was a youngster.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 15, 2011 at 4:20pm

      When I was a youngster, “cyber safety” meant “watch out for those evil robots from the Saturday morning television shows”. lol!

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  2. Rana DiOrio
    Twitter:

    November 15, 2011 at 11:45am

    I really appreciate your perspective, Marian. The book is meant to empower children and their grownups to live rich, full lives while being mindful of safety. Thank you! ~ Rana

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 15, 2011 at 4:21pm

      That’s what I like about it, Rana–the empowering slant. #4 daughter always chafed at being limited in what she could do by safety issues. This book puts it in the opposite light, of liberating you to do more by being savvy.

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  3. Maryann Miller
    Twitter:

    November 15, 2011 at 1:24pm

    Enjoyed your comments about the book. You are so right about how the message comes through is such a friendly, engaging way. Better than any lecture from an adult.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 15, 2011 at 4:22pm

      #4 never suffered lectures gladly. lol! There’s a lot of room with this book for open-ended discussion. I like that.

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  4. katy

    November 15, 2011 at 10:45pm

    I loved your review mostly because of your personal, Mom comments about #4! I had a “let me see, don’t tell me” child too! These are the ones that move and shake the world! Here’s to the mom’s that are by their side…or trying to keep up with them! Thanks for the great review of a great book!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 16, 2011 at 7:11am

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting, Katy. This crazy kid stuck her finger in a fan because we told her not to, that it would cut her finger off. Fortunately, it was a small fan and we were just as happy to be proven wrong, but it didn’t do much for her attitude or our credibility. :/

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 17, 2011 at 8:18am

      Steve, I think you’re right. I like the way it stresses the child being in control, making safe behavior an active, powerful thing, instead of stressing the child’s weakness and vulnerability.

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  5. John

    November 17, 2011 at 4:30am

    Keeping children safe is a primary responsibility of parents. While taking my kids out on a vacation I give them various guidelines on how to safe but they rarely follow the instructions. I think I need to get this book to discover a way to talk to them and convince them on what is really not safe. Thanks for sharing!
    John would love to share..Selected Ex Girlfriend QuotesMy Profile

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      November 17, 2011 at 8:19am

      John, you’re right about that, but some children sure do make it hard for us to protect them! Our youngest’s day wasn’t complete unless she could make my eyes bug out at least once.

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  6. Dianna
    Twitter:

    July 23, 2012 at 1:35am

    Hey, the book seems amazing. Keeping children safe is our responsibility and we have to do this duty.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      July 23, 2012 at 8:12am

      You’re so right, Dianna! What I like best about this book is that it doesn’t try to scare kids into not doing particular things. It empowers them by showing them a way to evaluate all situations and actively choose safe actions. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. πŸ™‚

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  7. Nicole Kelly

    November 16, 2012 at 6:59am

    Guiding children from their childhood is very important in my view. As it is the root of their future. So, if we take care of the roots then the fruit will be sweetened.
    Nicole Kelly would love to share..Service & RepairMy Profile

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