by Jenny Graham
Home schoolers, parents and teachers, is there a pre-teen/young adult who you would love to broach the following topics with but don’t know how:
What better way to open up discussions than by the well-written fiction book Two Kids by Richard Levine . This book gives you an opportunity to focus on topics such as relationships, puberty and death and how life isn’t easy.
From the beginning as a female adult reading the book, I was reminded of the awkwardness of being in my body when it was changing and how aware I was of every comment made, every item of clothes I put on and every step I took. The author wrote the scene perfectly when he introduced the main female character, D.C. attending her cousin Becky’s party.
The author has used a range of POVs (point of view) to tell the story. Both genders are given a chance to tell their story. This gives the opportunity for both male and female readers to know they are not alone in their own thoughts and also a chance to see the perspective of the opposite gender.
It is also a good reminder for adults who are reading the book, of the pre-pubescent stage, and to be sensitive and mindful of what you say to them….unlike D.C.’s aunt who enjoys having a laugh at her expense.
This book gives readers the chance to think about the different relationships in their life, blood relationships such as those with siblings, parents or cousins or relationships with male and female friends. The author not only has views from pre-teens but also from two 6 year olds, giving the added perspective on how different ages react.
Often students/children need to be taught how to connect with others to form a relationship outside the family. Looking at each other’s strengths and hobbies are examples given in this book and one that can be explained in class situations.
Give your child a chance to talk when they have read books, watched movies or seen situations that may be confronting. Let them know you are there for them and speak to them about setting up a network or strategies if they feel sad or need someone to talk to. At times you as a parent or teacher may not be what the child needs.
Two Kids deals with death from many perspecives and how it affects the lives of those around them.
Discuss sadness in others, the signs to look for, agencies in place, and how to be a good listener.
While death, puberty and relationships are the main themes throughout the book, there are some great minor themes which can be discussed with your grade, child, student or even grandchild.
The author uses a lot of nicknames throughout the book. From Bingo Bio Man to Captain Strangedad. It presents an opportuntiy to talk with students about humour. Are you using humour at the expense of someone else.?
Nicknames can be given to people as a form of endearement such as Runner Boy or to mock someone’s personal features such as Bo-gen-a-tor.
Thoughtfulness needs to be taught to children and reminded to many adults. This book does both with many examples of adults being unthoughtful to the stage of development a child is going through or their feelings at the time.
This book provides many opportunities to show how one person’s comments which they may find humorous has an affect on someone else. Gives children and adults a chance to remember to think before they speak.
I can’t write an Educational Review on Two Kids, without mentioning the great headlines that are scattered throughout the main male character, Rob’s chapters. There are many opportunities in class settings to look at headlines and try to make your own headlines from incidents that happen at home or at school.
Tommy and Charlie’s review
I usually ask for my boys thoughts on the books I review, however as they are only 5 and 7, this book will have to be missed. It has been a great reminder for me as a mum to what my boys may be going through in their pre-teens and a book I will put on the shelf for them to read when they are older. Let’s hope I don’t become Captain Strangemum!
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