Parenting young children is full of challenges. Endless messes, tantrums about seemingly illogical things, and the constant needs of littles who can’t do much for themselves often leave us exhausted. All this before we even make our way to some of the most important aspects of parenting—such as teaching our kids strong values and character traits. In my own struggle to transform abstract character concepts into concrete practical application for my own kids—I have found books to be incredibly helpful. They are the not-so-secret secret weapon in parenting! If you are looking for childrens books on forgiveness, Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy Brady’s new addition to the Otter B Series, “Otter B Forgiving” is the perfect tool to help you teach your kids the lifelong skill and extraordinary importance of forgiving others.
OTTER B FORGIVING MEETS YOUR KIDS RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE
We have all forced apologies when our child has made questionable choices—knocking down their sibling’s tower, saying something rude or hurtful, or not sharing with his or her friend during a play date. Once our child has reluctantly said, “I’m sorry,” the other parent involved, likely coerced their child to say, “I forgive you.” It’s very likely that neither statement from the kids was said with any sincerity, but we move forward hoping that by modeling this exchange for them they will eventually learn how to apologize and forgive on their own. However, we have to learn to experience empathy before we are able to apologize or forgive someone genuinely.
Otter B Forgiving is the heartwarming story of a likable little otter named Otter B and his animal friends. When one of his friends accidentally ruins his new toy Otter B gets angry and continues to hold a grudge. He doesn’t want to forgive his friend because he knows his friend should have been more careful. I liked that the story started here—especially for kids. Children can relate so much to Otter B.
Just this morning my son had worked hard on setting up an obstacle course that his little sister soon destroyed. He was so angry that he was saying hurtful things he surely didn’t mean to his sister, whom he typically adores. I couldn’t make my son apologize right away. He first needed to feel validated that he had worked hard and his sister shouldn’t have ruined his hard work. The first scene in the book does just that for kids. It shows them that we all have experienced this situation in some form or fashion. When something happens to us that shouldn’t have—it makes us upset, and rightfully so. They aren’t alone in their feelings. They feel understood and can instantly relate to Otter B.
TEACHING FORGIVENESS: A DIFFICULT LESSON IN A TANGIBLE WAY
Importantly, the book doesn’t stop there. Otter B hurts another one of his friends by accidentally making her fall on her bike. She forgives him very quickly and Otter B experiences how good it feels when your friend forgives you. He takes that lesson to heart and is immediately compelled to go and apologize to his friend who ruined his toy and offer him forgiveness. Kids can easily understand the roller coaster of emotions Otter B experiences and will tangibly be able to learn the importance of forgiving others.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION ABOUT FORGIVENESS GOING
I love that the authors included a collection of conversation starters at the end of the book to help further the learning with your kids. The authors also offer helpful reflection questions that kids can ponder as they take the lesson on forgiveness even further. Stories are a powerful tool in helping children understand abstract concepts such as forgiveness. The authors do a fantastic job of providing a springboard for parents to help turn this hard-to-grasp concept into something completely relatable.
A CHILDREN’S BOOK ON FORGIVENESS TO READ TIME AND TIME AGAIN
Since first reading “Otter B Forgiving” to my children they have asked me to read it several times a day. We all know repetition is one of the best teachers so it is looking like my kids are going to be experts in forgiving one another in a few more weeks! My younger two, (five and three) especially enjoy the book. They loved everything about it, from the characters to the bright engaging pictures. My son even said, “I like how it teaches you to forgive your friends.” As we read the story my three-year-old made several comments about how Otter B was feeling. She seemed to really connect with him and understand his emotions. We have had wonderful, ongoing conversations about empathy and forgiveness because of this book!
COMPLETING THE OTTER B BOOK SERIES COLLECTION
“Otter B Forgiving” is not the first of the Otter B collection. There are several other books to add to your parenting toolbox (aka your bookshelf). There are lessons on being brave, thankful, helpful, kind, and more! Seeing how excited my kids are about Otter B, I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this engaging series! Be sure to order your copy of this sweet story on forgiveness and grab some of the other titles while you are at it!