Lauren Murphy Payne's We Can Get Along
Illustrated by Claudia Rohling
Children's picture book review by Jessica McCarl
As a first grade teacher, one of the biggest problems in my classroom is children who cannot get along. I do not know of any child that can get along with every other child all the time. I’m not even sure that I know adults that are successful with getting along with everyone. Well, I have found a book that can help us all!
We Can Get Along by Lauren Murphy Payne, M.S.W., explains to children how to get along in different situations like at school, in the neighborhood, or on the playground. It is honest in saying that sometimes we get along and sometimes we don’t.
I like how it starts by telling children what happens when we are getting along (talking, laughing, working, and playing). Then, it brings in children’s feelings by stating that when we are getting along we feel happy and safe. Then, it reminds children that when we are not getting along we are fighting, arguing, yelling, hitting, or crying and we feel angry and afraid. This key point of bringing in feelings will help children relate to the book, and this is just the beginning!
Probably the most helpful part of the book is when it goes over how we can get along with others. It stresses to children to remember their feelings to help them make good choices. We all can think about our words, choose what to do, talk and listen, take turns and share, own our words, help to solve problems and work things out, and do our part to get along.
Most children are aware of the Golden Rule and the book brings this in by telling that we all know how we want to be treated and talked to. Therefore, we should choose and treat others the way that we want to be treated. This is such a simple concept but can really make a big impact on children.
Of course, we all know how we do not want to be treated so the book touches on that as well. We don’t want to be called names, teased, pushed, kicked, bullied, or hit. I love how the book stresses that hitting is never okay and that even when we feel angry and afraid and want to hit someone, we can choose not to do that. Children need to be taught that hitting or other physical harm is never okay and is not a solution to our problems with others.
Now, children need to know what they can do when someone hurts them with words or fists, right? Well, that’s the next step in the book. It tells children that they can talk about their feelings, walk away from the person, play alone, or ask an adult for help.
The book ends by discussing friends and what friends are (people we can count on, talk to, people that we listen to, have fun with, and people who are nice to be around). I love how it says that we can have friends who are like us and not like us. We can learn new ideas and try new things with our friends. Even though we are different, we can get along.
This book is a wonderful asset to any child’s library. When I was reading it, I was already coming up with lots of ways that I could use this book in my classroom. One thing that I would recommend is talking about this book with your child. Remind them of your expectations and even tell them how you can relate to the book. They will enjoy hearing that there really are times when we may not get along with everyone but there are things that we can do about that.
I hope that you and your child find We Can Get Along as wonderful and as helpful as I did!
Webmaster's note: We Can Get Along takes a non-fictional approach to successful interaction. For a fun, fictional story that also encourages cooperative play, download my ebook, The Time Balooga Forgot Other People's Feelings. It's a reading and coloring exercise designed to help your child correct her/his own skills!
Read more of Jessica's reviews.
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