The children’s book Words Are Not for Hurting is all about words: nice words and not so nice words. Children learn that they can control which words they choose and even what to do once they say those not so nice words. The author states that millions of words are made out of only 26 letters of the alphabet. We have many choices of words to say to the people we know. My daughter read this book intently and actually was apologizing for calling me a name the day before!
Children see words that are really short and then really long. Nice words, loud words, and more are mentioned with examples of each. We see children speaking to each other using their words. Your words belong to you. You choose what to say and how to say it. Your words can hurt or your words can help. Then words that are helpful are mentioned. We see children being cooperative and friendly in the pictures, taking turns and sharing. Then words that are hurtful are shown with a group of children who aren’t being very nice to each other. Refusing to play with a child, calling names, talking about one’s clothing are a few of the ways not nice words are used. The reader is asked to think about how they feel when they hear these kinds of words….pictures of children showcase these feelings of anger, sadness, fear, confusion, loneliness, and more. But how does one feel when they are the one who spoke those unkind words? What can you do once you have said something like that? Apologizing for the words is a good start. But what do you say to someone using those hurtful words? Tell them words are not for hurting or tell a grownup about the teasing incident.
The back of the book has four pages of tips for grownups on activities and discussions to have with children. One part is about our body language and how to act out body language for children to understand. The last page has a list of books on this subject for children. This 33-page book has around four to 14 words per page and some of the text is done in dialogue with the characters in the book. I loved the different examples in the book of each scenario so children can recognize what is happening similarly in real life. The brightly colored cartoon illustrations are full page with solid color backgrounds. Children of many races are shown in the pictures, girls and boys. As simple as the pictures are, you can really tell when each child is happy or having other emotions. Even though I did not appreciate some of the not nice quotes like “You’re stupid” and “Your clothes are ugly” as I do not want my daughter picking up even more bad things to say, this was a small part of the entire book. Overall we both enjoyed this book and examples of nice things to say are included too. This children’s book is recommended for ages three and up.
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