Helping Children Handle Challenges: New Book Builds Resiliency at a Young Age

Share Article

Authors Everly and Brelesky's “Rodney Makes a Friend” instills social intelligence; builds character.

Mrs. DeNigris reads “Rodney Makes a Friend” to her second-graders

A new children’s book, “Rodney Makes a Friend” by George S. Everly, Jr, PhD, Gina Brelesky, MPA, MEd and Andrea N. Everly takes the psychology behind building emotional resilience and makes it approachable and teachable to young children.

What does “resilience” mean to you? Most children today face immense pressure to perform in school and in daily activities, and often struggle to build strong interpersonal relationships in today’s digital society. A new children’s book, “Rodney Makes a Friend” by George S. Everly, Jr, PhD, Gina Brelesky, MPA, MEd and Andrea N. Everly takes the psychology behind building emotional resilience and makes it approachable and teachable to young children.

“Rodney Makes a Friend” features Rodney the Rabbit, an ordinary but shy rabbit facing the challenge of making friends on the playground. Children are immediately introduced to the concept of resiliency, or “bouncing back” from problems and from feeling sad or scared. At the start of the story, Rodney is afraid of talking to classmates and does not know how to make friends. Thanks to the help of his fellow woodland creatures, Rodney learns the importance of friendship and how friends make someone more resilient. The story concludes with Rodney being armed with the social skills necessary to make more friends – knowledge he’s able to pass on to his peers who experience his same challenges from the beginning of the story.

Other important lessons in Rodney’s journey include “The Golden Rule of Friendship” – being kind and treating others the way THEY want to be treated. Children are encouraged to build social and emotional intelligence by sharing their feelings, listening carefully and considering the needs of others.

Geared toward children ages 4 – 8 years old, the colorfully illustrated page book includes intermittent “pause and think” moments, making it an interactive experience for parents and children and an ideal tool for classrooms. Free, complementary, printable resources are available for teachers to use as writing prompts and reading comprehension tools to help guide their lessons.

"We are doing a school-wide character building/anti-bullying month and we are incorporating ‘Rodney Makes a Friend’ into our activities,” says Christine DeNigris, a second-grade teacher in Orange County, New York.

“The social tide is changing,” explains author Gina Brelesky. “Face to face interaction is key to building resilience and social intelligence…Rodney makes his friends on the playground – not via an online social network. The book helps with character building at a young age and sets a foundation for later success in the workplace and adult relationships.”

“Rodney Makes a Friend” prompts quality conversations between teachers, parents and children, even if a child doesn’t know what the term “resilient” means. Children are encouraged to pause, think and make a decision versus simply reacting. According to Journeys from Childhood to Midlife: Risk, Resilience, and Recovery by Emmy E. Werner and Ruth S. Smith, problem-solving capabilities, emotional support outside of the family and sociability are three of the top indicators of long-term resiliency even in children living in high-risk environments.

The book is available for purchase along with free downloadable resources for teachers and parents at http://www.ginabrelesky.com. Brelesky is available for media interviews and as a resource on childhood resiliency, learning and development. Press review copies are available by request. Please contact Andrea Lynn at 410-420-2001 or andrea.lynn@fallstongroup.com to request a copy of the book or interview.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andrea Lynn
Visit website