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Book review: Rosie and Friends One-Of-A-Kindness

{Disclaimer: We are working with Helen Hipp/Rosie the Hippo to review her new book: Rosie and Friends One-Of-A-Kindness. All opinions are ours alone.}

Back to school is in full force and it’s hard to believe that my baby is now a big girl in 1st grade.

But this isn’t a post about school, it’s a post about growing up, and the responsibility that comes with teaching our kids kindness; oh yeah and it’s about a pretty awesome book that does just that.

kindness book

Photo provided by Rosie the Hippo

Sometime in the last year, I noticed a change in how kids were interacting with each other. Whether it was due to the exposure of riding the bus with middle schoolers, or just the natural way of life for kids after age 5, cliques started to become a predominant thing. No, I’m not talking about those friends our littles make at preschool (there is always a natural tendency to form groups based on friendships). Instead, I’m talking about the times you hear that your kid suddenly stopped being friends with someone because they got in a fight with another friend. Or when someone isn’t invited to a birthday party because they weren’t part of the group of kids.

As a parent with a gender-nonconforming child, I am constantly living in a world of fear for how other kids will accept her and how this will shape her future. In fact, I’ll never forget the day Wyatt came home upset because, “No one would play with her,” on the playground and how it felt to see my sweet little 5-year-old (now 6) become a victim of bullying for the first time. But she stood up, brushed it off, and chose to talk to her teacher about the situation. The next day at school, the bullying was addressed and it was amazing to see how her little classmates’ brains opened up and became accepting of how they made her feel and how they worked together to make Wyatt feel integrated and supported again.  

Teaching our children about differences has never been more important, regardless of where they stand on the ‘difference’ spectrum. We won’t always have children with open minds and hearts and it’s up to us to make sure humanity and kindness are words used in our daily vocabulary.

That’s why, when my family had the opportunity to review Helen Hipp’s new book, “Rosie and Friends – One-Of-A-Kindness,” I jumped at the chance. This is a truly lovely book about a rhino who thinks he has to be tough but after an unfortunate accident suddenly finds himself with a new appearance and has to learn how to adjust and accept differences.

This book is the second of Hipp’s Rosie and Friends Adventure series and will be released on November 13th to coincide with International Kindness Day. Hipp’s first book in the series, “A Different Kind of Safari,” has been recognized as one of the top ten autism books by Special Needs Book Review in 2015. Helen is a Vermont author who gained first-hand experience with autism as she helped her son face his unique challenges. At the same time, she learned to overcome the barriers to finding adequate services for her son. Helen received her M.A. in counseling and began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers to their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice focusing on individuals with special needs and their families.

Photo provided by Rosie the Hippo

From the book:

“This book is a creative and fun teaching tool intended for parents, caregivers, teachers, and children who may have felt at some point in their life that they were different from their peers.”

Rather than write the review in my words, I decided to read it to my 6-year-old and share her review instead. Here is what Wyatt (and I) had to say. I asked all the questions, and my comments are in italics.

Wyatt’s “Rosie and Friends  – One-Of-A-Kindness” Review:  

Q: On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate this book (with 1 being “didn’t like,” and 10 being “it was one of my favorites.”)

A: The book made me feel happy. I would give it a 100.

Q: Should we get our own copy?

A: If I had money, I would buy the book. Do you have any money?

There you go kid, spending my money as usual!

Q: How did you feel when the other rhinos laughed at Hornsby?

A: I thought the other rhinos would be happy to have him as a friend. Why were they not? If it were me, I’d tell the teacher. It made me sad for Hornsby. Especially when he lost his horn.  

Q: What did you learn?

A: To be so nice and listen. You need to be nice every day because if you be nice every day, you will never go in time out. Also be nice so people can like me and be so kind to your heart. It’s good to have kind hearts too.

Q: What made you happy?

A: Hornsby got friends which made him feel better. They liked what he looked like and what was in his heart.

Q: What did you like the most?

A: The horn is what I liked the most. I liked it because it was so pretty and he learned to do something different with it. His friends were different, they didn’t know he was a good rhino and he was. I also liked that all the friends were different kinds of animals. They are all nice.

Q: Who is your favorite character?

A: My favorite characters are Hornsby, Rosie, and the Crocodile. They were so nice so I liked all 3 of them and they made me feel good.

Q: Why did Hornsby get hurt?

A: He got hurt because he was not paying attention and trying to play rough. And when his corn (horn) fell off he paid attention a lot. His friends don’t pay attention now.

Q: What did Hornsby learn?

A: His friends learned how to be nice. Hornsby learned to protect himself and to be self-kind and be nice to a lot of people.

Q: Did Hornsby remind you of anyone?

A: All of my friends are kind to me. Rosie was so kind. The crocodile showed the nice book and the monkey was helping too. All of my friends love me like that.

Q: If the crocodile’s strength is to be kind, what do you think yours is?

A: My strength is to be nice. Also, my strength is that I like to make things for people and make them surprises. I like making them toys and I can make them a wooden toy and any toys they like. People like it and it makes them feel happy and love. I also show people that I’m kind. I like to make them my friends. Friends make me happy.

For reference on this answer, Wyatt loves anything arts and crafts and is constantly making things or everyone around her.

Photo provided by Rosie the Hippo

While you may not have read this book (after all, it is just being released), hopefully reading through our commentary can help you see why this book is a great one for our kids in teaching them kindness.

It was a really fun experience to read the book aloud together and then talk and take notes about how it made Wyatt feel. She is still bringing up the story of Hornsby a week after reading the initial manuscript and I’ve even heard her telling her friends about it. Reading this book together is definitely something we will do again!

According to Hipp:

This book is dedicated to the courage that allows all of us to be one-of-a-kind and to the acts of kindness that lead to understanding ourselves and others.”

I couldn’t agree more. Wyatt loved the book and can’t wait to read the hard copy when it comes out. Well done! 

If you want to learn more about this book, you should join author Helen Hipp for her FREE Pre- Launch Party. This is a community event with activities and games for children of all ages on October 15th at the Williston Jazzercise Center.  Activities will include face painting with Hyperfocus Art, dancing, cupcakes and when you purchase a book you will be put in the running to win a Park Safari Gift Card! Click here to RSVP and learn more! 

And if that wasn’t enough, you can now bring kindness into the New Year with the Rosie and Friends Kindness Calendar! Packed with fun for everyone! It includes: monthly kindness tasks, kindness holidays, and a Rosie & Friends coloring page.

Photos provided by Rosie the Hippo

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