Like many early childhood educators, I adore picture books...well, maybe it's more of an obsession, really. I consider myself well-versed in what makes a good children's book and can quickly determine if an author truly understands kids (or not). Many authors unknowingly belittle children by oversimplifying storylines, leaving their work quite hollow. This is especially true with children's books that cover difficult topics, such as death, divorce, and illness. We often underestimate what children comprehend and what they can handle, so we take the reigns and present a cute little story with a cute little ending. Life does not always feel so cute. Life can be scary. Our children deserve stories that address what they are thinking and feeling. By creating those books, kids may feel less alone.
Flood is the story of a family who must abandon their home when a violent storm approaches. The gorgeous illustrations show the family during various stages of the process, including the moments during the storm itself, as the family anxiously waits for the flood to subside. The story ends as the family returns to their broken home, rebuilds, and begins a new, more peaceful chapter of their lives. It's clear that Alvaro F. Villa understands kids.
As Roxanne from Books That Heal Kids explains, "this is a really smart and non-threatening approach to help children open up about their feelings and fears after a traumatic event" (Book Review). Kids need to know that they are not the first to experience such tragic events.
I strongly recommend this book to all elementary school counselors and educators. Not only do you get this exceptional story, but you also help Capstone make a substantial donation to Save the Children's domestic emergency fund, which, as Capstone states, will help "children and families during times of severe crises and natural disasters with food, medical care, and education." Plus, at the official Flood site, you can download a free copy of the Reader's Guide (right) that has tips for reading and discussing the story. Enjoy!