Tue. Apr 7th, 2020

Read 4 Fun

Read the short reviews, read the book, comment

Hugs Are for Kids

3 min read

Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Today I am Mad by Michael Gordon has this classification on its Amazon page: Anger Management, Kid’s Books, Baby, Childrens, Ages 3 5, Emotions. So why am I reading this? There are three reasons. I like to occasionally see what materials are available for learners just starting out. I am sure all of you do also. As I watch TV feel-good shows, parents show up to discuss the importance of teaching materials young people can access. What books can parents buy for their children that are appealing and deliver a positive social message? If you (any reader out there) are serious, said concerned person must dip their toes in the pool of available resources for young people. For me, that includes books. It is not enough to look only at book covers. You might think you can judge a book by its cover or even in the first few pages. If I had done that with this book, my review would have differed from the one you see printed here. Read the books you pontificate on. (I am a contrarian about ending sentences with a preposition). So much for reason one and I can comfortably descend from my soapbox rant about people who post reviews without reading the book.

Reason two is much shorter. I received an author alert that the book was available; I had previously posted a review about another of the author’s works. Reason three is the shortest yet. For one day, the book was free. It is now USD 2.99 but can be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited membership.

I liked the page at the beginning with the “This Book Belongs To” and then space for the young owner to fill in name and other desired data. First, it probably involves the parent and gives practice in printing. Second, my young ones have a pride of ownership and knowing that something belongs to them. That does not contradict the message of sharing central to the book. Ownership and sharing of community toys are not contradictory ideas.

Pages One through Four set the scene between Josh and Tom. Although Josh initially “wins,” I like Page Five when the setting becomes somber; the weather seen through the window even seems sad. Josh and Tom play well together for a while until Josh returns home for the “cookie” incident. Then there is a chance for Josh to review his counting skills as his emotions subside. Josh learns that exercise makes him feel better. When Dad returns home, the importance of parental approval and support is illustrated.

So much for practice. Now it is time to export Josh’s skills to other societal settings. Josh returns to school, notices a conflict situation in the making, and decides to help others with hugs. This is the point where this book ends, and my disagreement starts.

I suggest that physical contact, demonstrated in this book through hugs, can be culturally inappropriate. I rejected this approach when I was as young as the huggee. I reject it at my advanced age as the hugger. This book got all the way to the last page before the hug happened. I was ready to give this a thumbs-up five Amazon star rating until the hug. For now, because I liked the illustrations, I give it four stars.

On the positive side, because this book put the hugs on the last page, there is an opportunity to expand the book with additional pages that could rescue Josh and friends from unwanted physical intimacy.


5 thoughts on “Hugs Are for Kids

  1. Unwanted physical intimacy = hugs??? Whereas there are many psychological nods for hugs, there are fewer disadvantages, too. I shan’t get into the details here.

    1. I think I understand and you are right, no need to get into details here. When I see something like this work, I try to think of cultural norms that might be offended in a multi-cultural setting. I am an ardent opponent of an expanded PC police and those overly sensitive who can make everything into a micro-aggression. However, I think it should be noted that there are those who do not like physical contact in any way, to include hugs. Teaching young people that hugs are some sort of emotional equivalent to Paracetamol could result in some awkward exchanges.

  2. When I was teaching, I once (and only once in my career) hugged a student who was the first one into the room on the first day of school. I hugged him because I was surprised and pleased to see him, and because he was repeating the class (I’d failed him the previous year), and because a few kind words I’d said to him the previous year had dramatically and surprisingly improved his behavior. He’d been a troublesome kid, and his improvement let me see there were troubles in his young life. The boy was very surprised at my greeting, and the second year he managed to pass. Touching students is now a big no-no, and even then I realized I shouldn’t have done it, but I think it might have helped him in a small way.

    1. I am sure what you did helped the student. During my younger days as a student in primary school, I witnessed instances where teachers occasionally hugged a student or gave some physical touch of reassurance. When a high school teacher (male) gave my sister a reassuring hug, the story did not end as well.
      It is sad that there are all-encompassing rules that leave no room for a variety of approaches. This has lead to horror stories at the US southern border where caregivers working at child holding facilities and who are responsible to immigration supervisors are not allowed to hold or touch crying children but are only allowed to observe them crying. From my perspective of living in a majority Muslim country, I tend to think of cultural taboos and the consequences of unknowingly giving offense.
      I did not complete my practicum to get a high school teaching certificate in California. With core courses completed and an MA in Political Science, I was allowed to substitute teach, something I did during my off-duty days as a Sheriff’s Deputy. I intended to do this pending an assignment of a master teacher, then I would complete my practical teaching requirement. On one such assignment, an 11th-grade student threatened to shoot me if I refused to change a grade. He assured me he had the necessary weapon in his locker. Although I never carried a weapon into the classroom (it was in my car) I always had a badge concealed under a sweater or jacket. My response was to touch the student vigorously just prior to arresting him. After calling for backup, my colleagues and I then did a search of the school.
      I left the idea of public school teaching a few months later when I was offered a job in Bangkok. I am sure I will not return to finish my practicum.

      1. Dealing with the public is difficult–not just for teachers but for people in many jobs. Too bad we can’t hold up a sign that says “I’d hug you if I could.” 😉

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