“Work together.” “Make sure everyone has a turn.” “Please share.” As a parent and teacher I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve uttered those words. But while repeating them (over and over when needed) is a great place to start, it can feel more like a list of rules than concrete tools for interacting with others. What do we want kids to actually do when they “work together?” How do we teach kids to be skillful at both speaking up and listening to one another so everyone succeeds?
These five books are a wonderful place to start. Each one gives a different, engaging and a times humorous look at the importance of working together:
- Swimmy, by Leo Lionni
This is a wonderful tale of how one little fish hatches a plan with a group so they can safely explore the big wide ocean. It is creative, visually rich and emphasizes the need to work together.
- Duck and Goose, by Tad Hills
What is brilliant about this book is that the two main characters have to work to get along. As they work toward a shared goal they begin to see each other’s strengths. A fun read!
- The Biggest Snowman Ever, by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Jeni Bassett
Desmond and Clayton, two resourceful mice are competing to make the biggest snowman ever in Mouseville. It is a fun story of how much more can be accomplished when the two join forces.
- Stone Soup, by Heather Forest
A classic tale of a village who thinks they don’t have enough food to share with two hungry travelers until each person realizes they can share one carrot, one potato…The idea that when everyone makes even a small contribution, the results are large is wonderfully told.
- Yoga Friends: A Pose by Pose Adventure for Kids, by Mariam Gates + Rolf Gates, illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
We wrote Yoga Friends to help kids share this fun and healthy exercise with friends. In partner yoga poses children naturally develop communication skills along with balance and flexibility. Both partners have to work together, and help one another, or they can’t stay in partner boat or tree. Also when doing yoga poses with someone else, even if there’s a lot of wobbling, there’s always tons of laughter! (Each pose is accessible for two children or a child and adult).