Spotlight On: You Choose
Spotlight On gives you the chance to learn more about the wonderful picture books included in this year's Bookbug bags for babies, toddlers and explorers. In the first of this series for 2018/19, we're delighted to turn the spotlight on You Choose by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt. You Choose is currently included in our Bookbug Explorer Bag.
Many years ago, my son received a copy of You Choose, and while we both thoroughly enjoyed reading it together, I was not to know then how pivotal it would be as a resource all these years later. Wordless and near wordless books such as this are now my favoured resource for family support work.
Parents with literacy or confidence worries feel empowered to share in the storytelling
In my role as a childminding development officer, I support childminders to develop resources and techniques to improve outcomes for the children they care for. I find that those working within family support services need inclusive resources the whole family can enjoy together. While text-based books rely on an ability to read and have a pre-determined storyline, wordless books open up a new world of possibilities. Parents with literacy or confidence worries feel empowered to share in the storytelling, as can the youngest of children, by reading visual clues rather than text. I find that wordless books are ideal as an opening activity when working with new families.
You Choose takes you on a journey of choices and preferences. It opens discussion on topics such as why someone may prefer a treetop home to a castle. And this is where this book becomes a magical tool - the Holy Grail of Resources in my experience! While choices are being made, personality traits and mood can be gauged and wellbeing can be assessed. A child progressing from always choosing the crocodile as a pet (so it can eat everyone), to picking the friendly unicorn is a clue as to how their support package is helping them.
The book also helps to showcase topics and related activities which ensure that children remain engaged; for example, moving from talking about living in a treehouse to trying to build one together.
You Choose has proved a valuable resource, especially when working with children on the autistic spectrum. The act of choosing leads to gentle discussion around anxieties and helps raise awareness that people can have different opinions. Children on the autistic spectrum often prefer to choose the same characters and resources on each page, so it can be useful to help them accept change by gently changing some of your own choices and explaining the emotion behind that change:
'I’m not picking the fairy as my friend today as I’m feeling sad. Today I will pick the clown to cheer me up.'
This can lead to useful work on facial expressions and emotions which can be difficult for children with ASD. Inviting children to share their opinions is also a great way to tackle turn-taking issues often presented by children on the autism spectrum (and very young children in general).
Just Imagine and You Choose in Space have also been added to the You Choose family and provide a flexible, inclusive and most importantly FUN solution to support work with children. Which will you choose?