"Book Review"
Friends And Relations

An outstanding selection of activities and discussion topics are presented to educators in the resource book: `Friends and Relations: Using Literature with Social Themes, Grades 3-5' by Carol Otis Hurst and Rebecca Otis.

This book is #4 in a series of great books for exploring social issues with children. It was published in 2000 by Northeast Foundation for Children.

The book selections themselves are excellent. In the authors' words, they are "works of art". I would read all eight selections to my classrooms. What a time saver for busy educators!

Be sure to take some time to read the introduction. The authors have a true grasp of children's needs, motivation and feelings; indeed, a grasp of the soul of a child.

They suggest assigning roles prior to the discussion to help with structure and planning ahead. Mediator, storyteller, quote collector, summarizer are a few. They demonstrate a high level of understanding children as they urge us to pick and choose, undertake or discard an activity based on " your group of students and their needs at the time".

I found the suggested activities to be the treasure of the book. A busy educator could open to the activities listed for each book and find several to implement instantly and easily, no preparation needed. With a little time and your lesson plan book, a curriculum of great depth, variety, creativity and soulfulness is at your fingertips.

Reviewed by Charlene Wilkinson
Grade School Teacher