I CAN DO THAT!
by Kayla J.W. Marnach
ages 4 and up
I Can Do That! is also told through rhyme to introduce self-regulation techniques and emotion control methods for children. It is an extremely empowering book that aids families and professionals and empowers children to self-manage when they feel themselves becoming dysregulated.
Sometimes emotions mount or become almost overpowering. This book offers suggestions to kids on how to handle those moments where they feel the uncontrollable desire to fidget, or when everything builds up inside of them to the point that their bodies start taking control. The stressful energy needs to go somewhere, and through these rhymes, kids learn where they might be able to put it.
The author starts with a foreword to parents, explaining very briefly what dysregulation is and gives quick tips on how caretakers can playfully deal with it. All of this centers around building the self-esteem of a child up at the same time. The main message for kids is the 'I Can Do That', and it encourages readers to realize that they have control even if they don't feel like they do.
The rhymes are simple and take a light-hearted spin through how the building emotions might feel, and then, some easy ways to make them calm back down. The exercises are easy to understand and often ones that can be carried out in a way that won't draw any undesired attention (which might end up adding to the stress). The wording is fun and keeps a cheery mood. While most of it flows with a sing-songy ease, there are moments which stumble over the tongue when read aloud.
Bright, simple illustrations accompany the text, which not only pull in but illustrate the various emotions and exercises. Even here, the encouragement is strong so that readers are built-up and not pulled down.
At the end, dysregulation is a little closer described, tips are offered to caretakers on how to be prepared for such moments or how to avoid them altogether. Then, there's a list of questions which caretakers can use for discussions and building awareness with children.
All in all, it's an encouraging tool to help kids deal with moments where stress or building emotions cause them to fidget or more. It's bright, offers easy tips and comes across with enough fun to keep it from becoming preachy or dry.
“This book teaches children simple techniques they can utilize to help themselves calm down during times of distress…I encourage caregivers to read this book with a child.”
Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, TCU
“My daughter and I loved reading this together. She is practicing several of the techniques at school and we have this book in our nightly rotation.”
- Lisa McHugh, Amazon Reviewer
“Can't even begin to say how much I love this book!!!! I am so glad that I read other's reviews and went with it! The techniques and language in this book will be incorporated into my EBD classroom.”
- Amazon Reviewer
MY BODY'S MINE
by Kayla J.W. Marnach
ages 4 to 8
My Body's Mine helps children learn they have the rights to their body. Told through rhyme from a child's point of view this book on boundaries empowers each child to say no when others approach them in ways that make them uncomfortable. It also gives clear instructions on what to do if they are approached in an unwanted manner. The questions at the end of the book provides an easy transition for counselors and parents to open a discussion to prevent abuse or to further explore if abuse has occurred.
Tackling a slightly more difficult topic, this book builds-up kids while giving them some cornerstones to handle such situations, which cause embarrassment, helplessness and confusion.
After a brief foreword from the author, the rhyme and bright illustrations take off with encouraging and clear words — my body's mine. The illustrations show the children hugging themselves, demonstrating borders as well as self-love.
Cheerful rhymes reinforce the idea that a child has full ownership of their own bodies and should love themselves from head to toe. They are special, and this up-lifting message stands at the fore-front. The situations of being touched and how such things come across as icky or uncomfortable never go into detail, but still, are fairly clear enough for younger readers/listeners to understand what they need to watch out for. The rhymes encourage kids to open their mouths and stand up for who they are. Suggestions are made as to who they should seek out, and how they should love themselves enough to say 'no'.
While the thematic can't always be dealt with this easily, this book lays a wonderful foundation for younger readers to help them know what to emotionally look out for. The rhymes keep it cheerful and build-up self-esteem, and flow pretty well.
At the end, there's a longer list of questions to help caretakers address the subject in more detail, so that younger listeners have a greater understanding of the entire thematic. It's a gentle, warming and yet effective way to address a topic which even caretakers might normally feel a little awkward in approaching.
Book Buzz. . .
“I encourage medical and mental health professionals to use this book with clients. I have found it particularly helpful with children who have been through abuse to encourage them for being brave and telling an adult what happened.”
- Jessica Kilpatrick, M.A., LPC
“My son loved it. He made up a rhyme. I love the way it helps you teach your child about protecting their body and telling a safe adult when something doesn’t feel right.”
- T. Wright, Amazon Reviewer
“What a great book! As a mother of three children, it is important to explain this sensitive subject manner over and over through different mediums. Kayla Marnach's book is a wonderful way to encourage children in having boundaries and what to do when they ‘feel yucky.’”
- Heather Van Stavern, Amazon reviewer