I have been meaning to write a post in praise of Pat Palmer’s and Betty L. Shondeck’s wonderful books on self-esteem and bullying, and it wasn’t until Psychology Today beat me to it that I was reminded. As the review suggests, there are plenty of books available on these subjects, but Palmer’s simple-yet-innovative approach, together with Shondeck’s charming illustrations, elevate these to “must-have” status for any child clinician.
Liking Myself approaches issues of emotion and self-esteem with a simple philosophy: “Feelings are our good friends”, and we should treat them as such. Divided into six parts (“Liking Myself”, “Feelings”, “Feelings Talk”, “Allowing”, “Body Talk”, and “Letting Go”), the book gives children the tools for developing self-awareness, managing emotions, and letting go of negativity. Palmer stresses assertiveness and a healthy, attentive mind-body relationship, and reminds us that it is okay to like ourselves. This charmingly-illustrated, hand-lettered edition is loaded with ideas and exercises to improve self-esteem and well-being.
The Mouse, the Monster, and Me is an excellent companion to Liking Myself that applies Palmer’s principles of assertiveness and self-appreciation to the issue of bullying. This book helps children identify passive (“mouse”) and aggressive (“monster”) behaviors in themselves and others, and discover their own true and assertive “me”. Palmer effectively illustrates the value of knowing yourself (your strengths, rights, responsibilities, and more) in situations when you are faced with criticism and other threats to your self-esteem. This edition also includes a note to the young reader by the author.
Like all great children’s books, these classics hit home for kids and adults alike. I have been using them in my practice for years and was very excited about these revised editions. Both are available at ChildTherapyToys, along with many other books on feelings/self-esteem and bullying.