Hello readers! I want to share about a fabulous children’s book that I used with my social skill students to kick off the school year. The book, Has Anyone Seen Woodfin?, by Susan Egner and illustrated by AJ Dewey, has been such a hit with my students!!!
Woodfin is a precocious, adventurous little chameleon who likes to match the vibrant colors of the forest around him. But, his family worries about his safety when winter comes and the effervescent colors of summer fade to muted colors of winter where “ordinary” chameleons remain safe from predators in their camouflaged shades of green and brown. The message is to “be your true self”, and is captivating for children- and adults – of all ages!
As a kick off to my social skill groups with my learners on the autism spectrum this fall, I wanted to find resources that supported a positive self-concept to start the year with optimism and excitement. I work with most of my students for 6 years (Kindergarten-5th grade) – through thick and thin. Some of the situations we work on are “thin” – there are certainly many occasions where I am supporting a child through social misunderstandings, feelings of social failure, and exclusion that sometimes result in subsequent feelings of confusion, anxiety or frustration. As I thought about returning to my students this fall, I wanted to find some tools to promote positive self-concept and celebrate individuality. Woodfin was just the ticket! My students enjoyed reading the stories, exploring the characters on the author’s website, creating crafts about Woodfin, and………..meeting the author!!!!
Yes – that’s right!! You see….one of my own precocious little 1st grade students asked where the author lived. Of course, I turned to the back flap of the book cover to find out. Well, you can only imagine my excitement to learn that Susan Egner lived less than 5 miles from my school!! It took me all of about 8 seconds to hop on my email to contact her! Susan Egner was so gracious and excited to come meet my students the following week and shared a fabulous visit with my special group of kids – complete with Woodfin costumes, an interactive program, and most importantly –she fostered the excitement my students had about meeting a “real” author and reinforcing the message to “be your true self.”
These books are a wonderful addition to any literary library – they can be used to support social/emotional skills as I do in my work, but there are also solid character and setting elements, with a clear story structure to use as an anchor text to teach literacy skills. Check out the Woodfin website at: http://www.woodfin.cc/books.htm
Susan Egner has also published several e-book novels – available on her professional website: http://www.egnerink.com/ . I think I will start reading the 1st novel in a series called, Souls on Board for some “fun” reading if anyone wants to join me in a virtual “book club”. I’ll bring the virtual wine, cheese and crackers….