We Ask Permission

Free Spirit. (We Say What’s Okay). Feb. 2022. 36p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781631986758.
PreS-Gr 2–How can a child know whether it is okay to touch someone, even when they can’t quite put it into words? Jovan is just trying to be friendly, but his classmates don’t see it that way. When Jovan surprises Jackson as he is building a tower, Jackson is startled and bumps his new creation, making it topple to the ground. When Jovan tries to hug Deja while she is working with an adult, she pushes him away and tells him, “Get off me!” His teacher explains that people can’t always articulate what they are comfortable with, and offers some body language cues that will help Jovan see if it is okay. Jovan and his friends make a little game out of this and become body language detectives, learning how to pick up signals from the people around them. This title covers an important social skill that is often difficult for children to learn. The classroom and the activities that students are engaged in are authentically appropriate for early primary grades and will resonate with young readers. Jovan’s struggle with personal boundaries is also truthfully described, as are the mixed reactions that often come from other students. As a classroom read-aloud, this might not have enough plot points to hold general interest, but as a lead-in to a social skills lesson or social story, it could be very useful.
VERDICT Purchase for collections that use literature to teach social skills.

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