ABOUT THIS BOOK
My name is Kristina Sargent and I am an Early Childhood Mental Health Therapist in Cincinnati, Ohio. I enjoy working with young children and realize the importance of using books as a means to introduce social skills, identify feelings, and help children learn about their world. Buttons learns to be Brave is a story designed to help children develop empathy, the ability to see how someone else is feeling from the other’s perspective. Empathy is a crucial building block for the further development of appropriate social skills and healthy attachments with others.
To develop empathy, children learn that others have their own thoughts, feelings, likes, and dislikes (as Buttons learns in the story about his friend Penny). Encouraging children to empathize with others by pointing out feelings and offering suggestions of ways to comfort, are great ways to help children develop this skill. The teacher cat in the story points out Buttons' friend's feelings and encourages him to empathize with her ("She looks sad Buttons, what can you do to help her feel better?"). Children also develop empathy as adults in their lives talk about feelings and empathize with their children. In the story, Buttons' grandmother validates Buttons' feelings and uses this as an opportunity to talk about different feelings and how everyone experiences them. Buttons' grandmother also empathizes with him by creating a loving ritual (secret goodbye high five) to repeat every time she leaves him to help him feel safe.