BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bea Reviews The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo and Illustrated by Mike Deas

Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Source: the pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository*  | * affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

A school playground can be a solitary place for a kid without playmates; in one survey, 80 percent of 8- to 10-year-old respondents described being lonely at some point during a school day.

Patty Brozo’s cast of kids brings a playground to raucous life, and Mike Deas’s illustrations invest their games with imaginary planes to fly, dragons to tame, and elephants to ride. And these kids match their imaginations with empathy, identifying and swooping up the lonely among them.

Buddy benches are appearing in schoolyards around the country. Introduced from Germany in 2014, the concept is simple: When a child sits on the bench, it’s a signal to other kids to ask him or her to play.

My Thoughts:

I had heard about the buddy bench concept before but didn't know much about it so when I was offered the book, I said yes. I did have some reservations about it as I tend to avoid message books but the cover gave me hops so I took a chance.

The buddy bench is an actual bench that some schools have placed on their playgrounds. Children who are feeling lonely or unsure how to join in can sit there as a way to let others know they are willing to play. It has worked fairly well, with children inviting the bench sitters. In "The Buddy Bench" by Brozo and Deas, we go around the playground and see children who are playing together and many children who are left out for one reason or another. Brozo did a pretty thorough job of showing a wide variety of reasons why a child might be left out or just feel uncomfortable - one child stutters, another has a cast on his leg, another is embarrassed by holes in her shoes and clothes, etc. There are also ethnically diverse children in the class.

One of the children who'd been left out finds the courage to speak up and ask the teacher what can be done to help children say without words

"...that we all want to play? Sometimes we're too shy, too sad, or too proud? How can we ask without asking out loud?"

And the idea for the buddy bench is born. The children in the class work together to design and build the bench. Everyone helps and the bench is placed on the playground.

The story is sweet and sad, hopeful and encouraging. As a teacher of young children,I found it a bit simplistic but I liked that the children took the initiative and did the work. It was child-driven, not adult-driven, which is so important. Not only does that empower children, but they buy into the whole concept and execution more strongly. And the children reading this book will appreciate it too. The book is also likely to jump start many conversations and discussions between children and adults.

This is a good book for your classroom or school library and for parents to read with their children.

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