In the future, I will add children's videos about social, emotional, and behavioral learning that are fun and research-based. There will also be a section for nature videos links, nature photography, and children's picture books about nature. My YouTube site is EarthFamily for Kids Dr. Perz.
As a school counselor, I was always looking for and buying children's books to read to my students. I found that it was often hard to find books that acurately taught relationship skills like empathy, listening, and anger management using strategies and skills that are real-world practical and work not just at home but also in schools. I found myself adding skills and vocabulary words that were missing from books--and I finally started writing my own stories at home in the evenings. Around that same time, my mother had a stroke and I became her caregiver while working full-time. If she became ill, her main symptom was sleeping excessively--and many doctors could not believe that--in her late 80s--she was normally awake, alert, and completely with-it--which often made it hard to get her the medical attention she needed! So I started imagining her as the main character in stories in order to create books featuring her to show doctors that she had a vital, loving, and meaningful life. She is my inspiration for Mrs. Santa Claus, Mrs. Holiday, and Mrs. Cupcake. She was and is my inspiration for the loving, kind, nurturing grandmotherly character who watches over Bunny Friends in many of these books. She died in 2016 at 92, but many of the relational and leadership skills that I researched and studied in my Ph.D. leadership studies--are also skills that she lived and -modeled for me. My hope is that the love she quietly gave me and so many other people will live on in these stories and inspire children of all ages for years to come.
Social, behavioral, and emotional learning is a vital part of child development and adult effectiveness. As a school counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, it is important to me to teach these skills. My children's picture books weave fun, magical, and whimsical stories with friendship and communication skills, conflict resolution, anger management, leadership, character, cooperation, empathy, compromise, consensus decision-making, forgiveness, and many other crucial skills to help children learn how to relate to themselves and others more effectively. In some of my books, vocabulary words are included at the end to help give children language for their experiences and the relational leadership skills they are learning. As a school counselor, I have learned that kindergarten students are so energized by dinosaurs that they know the words Tyranosaurus Rex and other dinosaur names--so if they can learn dinosaur names at age 5-6, they can also be inspired to learn words like empathy, vision, cooperation and compromise--IF they are inspired enough! That's what I hope to do! Through children's videos and kids books, children can learn relational skills that last a lifetime!
I have always loved animals and nature, but more recently, nature photography has become a passion for me--partly to cherish and appreciate the wonder of natural world and its ecosystems--and partly to help raise awareness of how important it is for us to protect it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations. This love for nature inspired me to include nature photography in many of my children's picture books and to create children's videos about nature and the wonder of the natural world. The imagination, creativity and sheer whimsy of the diversity of insects and animals in nature is hilarious, beautiful, and mind-blowing. My mother's favorite Christmas scene one year was a winter forest scene with squirrels and rabbits and deer and chipmunks and birds. My grandmother retired in a little gingerbread-like house with squirrels and dwarf statues on her lawn. Every visit meant trips to feed the ducks and helpings of blueberry or peach cake fresh from the oven. I have tried to bring this love for nature and adorable, nurturing sensitivity to my kids books. Today nature and our ecosystems are changing but still viable enough that we can absorb their healing and be filled with their magic, beauty, wonder, and passion. I hope that we can be inspired by that passion to do what we can to give back to nature as it gives moments of peace and reflection to us--so that our world can be a beautiful and peaceful place for all people for centuries to come.
I try to weave into my stories ways for parents and professionals to talk with children about feelings, communication, behaviors, relationships, leadership skills, and character. From time to time, I will add tips for reading or discussion to certain books HERE--in an effort to keep the books short enough to read to children K-5 in one sitting.
Crystal's Rainbow--This story can be read to children K-5 because the skills involved in paying attention to our emotions and bodies are skills that we practice and use all of our lives. For younger children if you wish, you can leave out pages 16-19 and start back up with the blue type on page 19. Those pages (16-19) are examples that can be read later to help younger children learn and reinforce the skill--because it's a skill that takes practice. Learning these skills can help children be less impulsive and reactive and make better, more intentional choices that more effectively meet their needs.
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