After the launch of two successful self-help book series designed to help kids 7 to 11 years of age become responsible, I was bombarded by parent/teacher requests to write similar self-help books for younger children.
While doing research for the new books, I discovered that the main obstacle to young children becoming responsible can be the misbehavior that often stems from not knowing any better. As a result, I began writing books that addressed early childhood misbehavior.
In spite of the obvious need for children’s books about their misbehavior, The Help Me Be Good books did not do well in focus group testing. Why? Because parents were hesitant to acknowledge in a focus group the reality that they had children who misbehaved. That said, it was telling when many of the parents leaving the testing site would inquire “Where could I get these books if I should ever need them?”
Those inquiries contributed to the initial decision to publish the books. But first, the book titles went through a grueling controversy over the potential “turn-off” that the “negative titles” might engender.
Fortunately, it was eventually established that parents dealing with early childhood misbehavior need and want forthright books that get to the point and get the job done. The end result was the enormous success of the Help Me Be Good books–which are currently the best-selling series of books in the Joy Berry Classics Library.
Basic Premise For The Help Me Be Good Books
The normal egocentricity of young children often leads to misbehavior that evokes negative responses from others. Those negative responses can lead to a destructive cycle of negative action and reaction.
The purpose of the Help Me Be Good books is help break the cycle of negative action and reaction. This is accomplished by helping children replace misbehavior with acceptable behavior.
Each Help Me Be Good book:
1. defines a misbehavior,
2. explains the cause of the misbehavior,
3. discusses the negative effects of the misbehavior, and
4. offers suggestions for replacing the misbehavior with acceptable behavior.
Basic Layout And Contents Of The Help Me Be Good Books
Each Help Me Be Good book features the following:
1. 32 pages
2. Each left page of a two-page spread contains approximately one to four simple sentences of text plus a small illustration of the cartoon animal featured throughout the book.
3. Each right page of a two-page spread contains a simple, full-page, color, cartoon illustration.
Developmental Organization Of The Help Me Be Good Books
Children 5 – 7 years of age are naturally egocentric. Even their concern for other people is based on whatever personal benefits can be derived from others. Therefore, preoccupation with personal matters precedes a young child’s interest in social matters.
Given every child’s normal developmental progression from being egocentric to being social, and the natural progression from less offensive misbehavior to more offensive misbehavior, it is recommended that the Help Me Be Good subjects be presented in the following developmental sequence:
Title Descriptions For The Hmbg Books
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Lazy encourages self-reliance as well as helping others.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Forgetful teaches ways to overcome forgetfulness that can cause frustration and inconvenience.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Careless explains the problems caused by carelessness and teaches children how to be careful.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Messy explains the problems caused by messiness and teaches how to be neat.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Wasteful explains the importance of conservation and teaches how to conserve resources.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Over Doing It teaches why overindulgence is harmful and explains how to avoid being overindulgent.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Showing Off explains why showing off is not a good way to get attention and approval.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being a Bad Sport explains the disadvantages of being a bad sport and teaches how to avoid being one.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Selfish explains the importance of unselfishness and teaches practical ways to share.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Greedy explains why being greedy does not work and why it should be avoided.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Breaking Promises encourages keeping promises and explains what to do when a promise is broken.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Disobeying explains why parents tell children what to do and encourages children to be obedient.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Lying defines dishonesty and encourages being truthful.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Interrupting defines interruptions and explains when interruptions are and are not acceptable.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Whining explains that talking rather than whining is a better way to get attention and help.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Complaining explains that complaining is often counterproductive and should be avoided.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Throwing Tantrums explains why tantrums occur and suggests more effective ways to deal with anger.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Teasing explains how to respond to teasing and discourages teasing others.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Tattling defines tattling and explains when it is appropriate and inappropriate to tattle.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Gossiping explains the negative effects of gossiping and suggests it should be avoided.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Rude explains the importance of following the Golden Rule.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Snooping explains how snooping disrespects the privacy of others and should be avoided.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Cheating encourages playing fairly over winning at any cost.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Stealing explains why stealing is wrong and should be avoided.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Bullied explains why bullying happens and teaches how to deal with a bully effectively.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Bossy explains the disadvantages of being bossy and discourages bossing others.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Destructive explains how destruction can be harmful and discourages being destructive.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Fighting explains the negative effects of fighting and suggests better ways to resolve conflicts.
A Help Me Be Good Book About Being Mean defines the harmful effects of cruel behavior and discourages being cruel to others.
Guidelines For Using The Hmbg Books
In order to derive the maximum benefits from the HMBG books it is recommended that adults use the books in the following ways:
Adult Resource: The adult reads the books for information, insights, and encouragement.
Adult-Child Activity: The adult uses the books with the child and encourages the child to question or comment on the subject matter.
Independent Activity: The child is encouraged to use the books independently of the adult for entertainment and to reinforce the subject matter.
Reference Material: The books are placed in the child’s library along with other books and used whenever specific situations need to be addressed.