I Walk With Vanessa tells a simple yet powerful story about kindness. It also happens to be a wordless picture book. Vanessa is the new girl at school and she immediately encounters a bully. When another girl sees Vanessa run home crying, she remains uneasy until she comes up with a plan to help Vanessa.
This is a great social story to use with kids of all ages and abilities to broach the subject of bullying, friendship, and kindness. The power of this story is in its simplicity. Clear illustrations and facial expressions on the characters make the story line easy to follow and interpret. Try listening to your child tell the story.
This will give you insight into how they think about bullies. It can spark an important conversation about what to do in these social situations. As your child interprets the story with you, notice what words they choose to tell the story. Do they have the vocabulary to discuss this topic with you? Language can really empower kids to be more accurate with how they talk and think about a topic, and therefore deepen their understanding of it. So use this opportunity to teach them new words (for example: empathy, compassion, bystander) and deepen their own understanding of how to handle these social situations.
Not sure how to have this conversation with you child? Just look to the back of the book! On the last page, the authors give advice to kids on how to handle bullies, as well as important vocabulary for parents to understand. The beauty of this book is that you can “read” it over and over and continue to gain new insight with your child. Their language will develop as they retell the story and acquire new vocabulary and understanding of the concepts presented. This book is sure to become a family favorite.