Resource review – a book on character strengths
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We recently read Mason's Greatest Gems by Chelsea Lee Smith of Moments a Day. This sweet book is a story of a boy finding out he has “gems” inside (character strengths) that he can find and polish all through his life.
Chelsea adds just enough humor that it kept my kids laughing and listening. This is a strength in a book like this that's bringing up serious topics. If it came off as a lecture they'd just tune me out, but instead the kids were giggling.
They thought Masons was really silly for thinking he had rocks in his tummy.
We enjoyed the adorable illustrations by Elaheh Bos of Plant Love Grow
How we used this book to spark conversation
I'm always surprised how effective it is to add imagination and story around concepts like this. I'm not sure why I forget this key to learning. Stories give a context and framework to talk further.
After reading the book we took turns coming up with different scenarios where we could polish gems – for instance, going up to someone and making a new friend. One of the benfits of doing this exercise was that we realized how each of us can use different strengths even in the same situation. My oldest who loves meeting people said, “Curiosity! and Friendliness!” while my youngest felt more shy about it, and might use courage to do the same thing.
I recommend Mason's Greatest Gems for kids approximately ages 4-8 as a good conversation starter book. (My 10 year old listened, but I think that was because I asked him to see if this story was ok for other kids.) The book includes a variety of free download sheets to keep the conversation going at home or in the classroom.
Are virtues or character strengths something you're talking about with your kids? What other books would you recommend?