I have been trying out some of the free books available on Kindle. (If you haven't signed up for their Kindle Daily Deals e-mail telling you which books are on sale at a discounted price or free for the day, you might want to check it out.) Recently I read two of their children's books that were offered.
Grandpa's Dog Can Talk by Zoe Fox is the story of a young boy named Harry whose family has moved in with his grandfather. The move has caused Harry to change schools and he is having trouble with a bully. He doesn't want to worry his parents because they are taking care of his grandfather. While he is wishing for someone to talk to, he is very surprised to find that grandpa's dog, Llewelyn can talk. Many of us know how it feels to be the new kid in a class or at school. Sometimes having a listener to tell our problems to can help, especially if they also give good advice. The problem in the story was resolved a bit too easily to be realistic, but it would make a good discussion starter for talking to kids about making friends and dealing with bullies. You would just have to remind them that in real life, you may have to try more than once before a new friend is made.
The Knot Monster by Jennifer Hazen Buss is about a girl named Ellie who hates to have her hair brushed. Every morning her mother has to get all the knots out. She tells Ellie there is a little purple monster that parties in her hair all night and that is what causes the tangles. Ellie's plan is to catch the monster to prevent it from making any more tangles. My mother called the knots in my hair "rats' nests" rather than knots. She'd say, "We have to get those rats out of there." If she had told me about a knot monster, I probably would have tried to catch it, too. Might be a quick story to illustrate problem-solving, as long as no one goes home and ties a sibling' s hair in knots.