Review by esp1975 -- I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn

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esp1975
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Review by esp1975 -- I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn

Post by esp1975 » 12 Aug 2019, 10:28

[Following is a volunteer review of "I Can See Peace" by Julie Penshorn.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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As a former foster parent, I often dealt with children when emotions were running high, when fear, anger, or anxiety were threatening to overwhelm the child, and a tantrum or breakdown was imminent. One of the main skills I wanted to help the children learn was how to calm themselves down in those critical moments.

The children almost always recognized when they were teetering on the edge but rarely knew how to cope. Therapists recommended deep breathing and finding their happy place, basically a meditation technique that allowed them to mentally remove themselves from the stressful situation long enough to calm down.

Finding and going to their happy place was a skill, a skill that had to be developed. It would not work if the children only attempted to go there when they were already in a state of heightened emotion. It was something that had to be practiced when they were already calm, when they were already at peace. And that was often hard to get them to do.

This is why I loved I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn and illustrated by Jeanine-Jonee Keith. This is a book that can be used by parents, teachers, counselors, or any caring adult to help teach children to find their happy place, to see peace. It provides an opening when the child is already calm to have the discussion and creates an opportunity to practice finding their happy place.

The book talks about seeing peace in all sorts of situations. It starts with happy situations. But then it talks about the fact that sometimes peace can be hard to see when something happens to scare or anger the child, and yet, it still encourages the child to look for peace and assures them that they will find it. I can imagine reading this book to a child on a regular basis, and using it as the introduction to then practice deep breathing and going to their happy place. I can also imagine reading it to a child on the brink of a tantrum (or in the midst of one) as part of the routine of practicing those same skills of deep breathing and going to their happy place.

In addition to the message of the book, I loved the illustrations. Not only were they big, bright, and colorful, they were inclusive. Children of multiple ethnicities were shown, as was a child with a wheelchair and another in a hospital bed. The illustrations can help children see themselves in the book, which in turn helps them see how the message of the book can apply to them.

My only complaint about this book came from the electronic format in which I read it. In this format, I could only see one page at a time, and there were some moments/illustrations that covered two pages. The one page at a time format meant it was harder to understand what was going on in those moments. But I have no doubt that that issue is not there with a physical book, and if I were still fostering, I would definitely have a copy of the physical book.

I am thrilled to give Penshorn & Keith’s I Can See Peace my first four out of four stars rating. The message is given in a way that is easy for all children to understand. The illustrations are wonderful. I happily recommend this book for all kids in the toddler through kindergarten age range. And I also recommend this book for all grade school kids who are struggling with anxiety or other periods of intense emotions. As parents, helping our children find peace is one of the best coping mechanisms we can give them.

******
I Can See Peace
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Lindsey Klaus
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Post by Lindsey Klaus » 13 Aug 2019, 15:36

I love how you related this to your own personal experiences with fostering. Our enjoyment of a story is, in large part, tied to how it relates to us as people, so making the connection to your history was a great way to bring humanity to it. I like that the book talks about anxiety and dealing with stress, as these issues start at a young age, and it's much easier to learn how to cope with them early on than figuring it out later in life (or, for some, never learning at all). That's fantastic! Thanks for your review, it's very informative!

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esp1975
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Post by esp1975 » 13 Aug 2019, 17:17

Lindsey Klaus wrote:
13 Aug 2019, 15:36
I love how you related this to your own personal experiences with fostering. Our enjoyment of a story is, in large part, tied to how it relates to us as people, so making the connection to your history was a great way to bring humanity to it. I like that the book talks about anxiety and dealing with stress, as these issues start at a young age, and it's much easier to learn how to cope with them early on than figuring it out later in life (or, for some, never learning at all). That's fantastic! Thanks for your review, it's very informative!
I actually read this book because the reviews I saw of it made me think - Would that have been a good tool for our foster kids? Is this something I can recommend to people I know who are still fostering?
But yes, how we respond to a book's subject matter is definitely has an influence on how much we enjoy it, or what rating we give it.
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Post by nooregano » 14 Aug 2019, 00:26

Like Lindsey, I loved the personal anecdotes you gave about fostering and how it might be relevant to that! I've read many reviews of this book, and so I know what the book is about - but your personalisation of the review gives it something completely unique and rare. I'm glad this book was so good that you to gave it a full rating, esp1975! It really is an invaluable resource to parents, teachers, and children.
"I speak only one language, and it is not my own." - Jacques Derrida

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 14 Aug 2019, 02:59

Sounds like an excellent resource for people working with or caring for children, particularly children who have trouble processing their feelings, for whatever reason. I really enjoyed reading your review, thanks for that!

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Post by LinaMueller » 14 Aug 2019, 05:35

This book seems to be very useful. Not every parent knows what's best for their children, sadly. It can be really difficult to learn effective ways on how to cope with an anxious kid. Great review, esp1975. I deeply appreciated your insights. :tiphat:
Heart! We will forget him!
You an I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you're lagging.
I may remember him!

Emily Dickinson

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Post by Nivi Gideon » 14 Aug 2019, 13:45

I recently reviewed the same book and feel happy that we share the same views! Wonderful review

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Post by Tomah » 14 Aug 2019, 14:57

Thanks for the great review filled with your own personal experience! I'm now much more certain that this book can help parents, guardians, and teachers in developing a child's emotional intelligence.

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Post by Fazzier » 15 Aug 2019, 09:21

The skill that this book is trying to instill in children is very fundamental. Often, dealing with the frustrations in life may be daunting, and equipping children early enough with the skill of finding their own happiness may help them cope up with the life hurdles in their later lives.

I really enjoyed reading your review. Thank you so much, esp1975, for such a wonderful analysis of the book!

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Post by corinaelena » 15 Aug 2019, 09:46

I would really love to find a residency spot in pediatry and these kinds of books really interest me since I might have to work with children in the near future. Thank you for the review!

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Post by 1MomentOfTruth » 15 Aug 2019, 12:35

I am very grateful for your review of this book. Out of my eight grandchildren, four are special needs who love to read books. This book is an avenue into allowing them to access tools on their level, it allows them to take control of their situation. I have chosen to share this book with each of them so they can become proactive, not reactive. Thank you again for a lovely review!

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esp1975
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Post by esp1975 » 15 Aug 2019, 15:21

1MomentOfTruth wrote:
15 Aug 2019, 12:35
I am very grateful for your review of this book. Out of my eight grandchildren, four are special needs who love to read books. This book is an avenue into allowing them to access tools on their level, it allows them to take control of their situation. I have chosen to share this book with each of them so they can become proactive, not reactive. Thank you again for a lovely review!
I am so happy you feel this book will be able to help them. I know I wish we'd had it with a couple different foster kids.
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Post by Kelyn » 15 Aug 2019, 18:21

I also read this book for review and was equally impressed with it. Although using it in the mental health field did occur to me, I never even thought about using it in fostering situations! I agree that would be an excellent use for the book. Thanks for the detailed review and your unique insight!

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Post by rumik » 16 Aug 2019, 09:54

I am always so impressed with the breadth of knowledge you display in your reviews. I know quite a few children with anger management issues, so I might try this just to have a better idea of how to help them calm down in stressful situations. It always warms my heart to see how much more inclusive children's books are getting now. Thanks for the thoughtful review as always. Also, congratulations on finding a book that deserves 4 stars!

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esp1975
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Post by esp1975 » 16 Aug 2019, 10:08

rumik wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 09:54
I am always so impressed with the breadth of knowledge you display in your reviews. I know quite a few children with anger management issues, so I might try this just to have a better idea of how to help them calm down in stressful situations. It always warms my heart to see how much more inclusive children's books are getting now. Thanks for the thoughtful review as always. Also, congratulations on finding a book that deserves 4 stars!
I think it helps that it is a children's book, so there are a lot fewer places to "mess it up" and make me want to take away a star. :P

It also helped that when I read the book, I could see an instant application for it, even if I no longer foster. I do think using this book with kids who have anger issues (we mostly dealt with anxiety) would be great. I think the key is to start with it when they are not in the middle of an outburst, but instead in a calm time, and to practice breathing and going to their "happy place" then. That makes it easier to get to it later when emotions are running high.
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