Kids Learn Teamwork Through New Children’s Book
Despite an increase in requirements that high school students perform volunteer work in order to graduate, one author believes that more can be done to teach children, especially younger children, about the power of being a good citizen.
J.A. Osowski, author of the new children’s book The Ant with Red Pants, believes that younger children are a prime audience for stories about volunteerism and teamwork.
“There’s a lot to be said for setting your own wants aside for the greater good,” says Mr. Osowski. “Kids can learn through stories like the one in my book that there is value in helping others and that it can give them a great deal of self-esteem to do so.”
Mr. Osowski’s book, illustrated by Michael and Alicia Smith, is about an ant named Andrew who believes his legs are too skinny for him to be an effective worker ant. Andrew is embarrassed, and so he makes red pants for himself from a spider’s web and red berries in order to hide his legs. But by not participating, Andrew hurts the colony’s chances at survival.
“We can all play a part in making our communities better by participating in volunteer work or by just lending a helping hand when people need it,” says Mr. Osowski. “It may not seem like a lot to just help a neighbor with something, but it adds up.”
For his part, Mr. Osowski is helping his community by reading his book for local elementary schools and children’s libraries, where the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The moral of the story is how children can discover and celebrate their own personal gifts and talents and how they can find a positive role in their communities through these unique talents,” says Mr. Osowski. “It’s a message that has really resonated with educators and even counselors, who feel the book is a great teaching tool.”
In addition to teamwork, The Ant with Red Pants teaches:
-How peer pressure can be overcome
-How self-esteem is key to proper childhood development
-What adults can do to help kids believe in themselves
-What it means for a community when everyone gets involved.
J.A. Osowski resides in eastern Connecticut with his wife, Ann Marie. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. Drawing from his own experiences, he hopes to build children’s confidence as they try to fit in with their peers in today’s society.
Illustrators Michael and Alicia Smith reside in eastern Connecticut with their two children, a boy and a girl. Michael works part-time and cares for their son, who has special needs. Alicia is an elementary-level art teacher in the town of Ledyard.
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