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Life Lessons for Little Ones: You Can Do Hard Things

A little one’s guide to not giving up

By Jess Sanders & Martina Stuhlberger

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Life Lessons for Little Ones is a new series that contains important life lessons, such as embracing vulnerability, listening to your body and embracing your uniqueness. Jess Sanders is a social worker who has also written Love Your Body and Be Your Own Man.
You Can Do Hard Things is designed to be used as a guide and discussion tool and is based on Dr Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset approach. The premise is that failure happens, it is an ordinary part of life and with persistence everyone can learn to do hard things.
Attractive illustrations throughout show situations where children are making something, sometimes struggling, and sometimes in tears, or depressed, or upset. This is followed by pictures of children happily succeeding after persisting in an endeavor. A variety of activities normally attempted by young children is shown : kicking a ball, drawing and reading.  The text does not tell any story as such but is an adult talking to a child in various situations e.g.  ‘Instead of saying: I can’t kick the football’, you could say: I can’t kick the football yet.’
This is a book for parents and professionals who are working at inculcating resilience and persistence in children. It is not one that children themselves will  ask to have read to them but the colourful illustrations may hold their attention during the conversation. I am reminded of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, a book about a little train willing to try a seemingly impossible task that has appeared in many iterations since it first appeared in 1930. This would be useful supplementary material as children enjoy the story, particularly the refrain  I think I Can which they can chant along with the reader, and its message of persistence and resilience is easily understood.
Affirm Press 2024′.
Jess Sanders


1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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