Review 5 star
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The Magic of Empathy: Theory and Practice is an innovative book that delves deep into the psyche of human communication to help people improve their interactions. Author Dr. Nicole Audet uses her experiences in family medicine to help describe a framework for good relationships—Empathy. Empathic communication means that you approach the other person quietly and objectively, building trust through respectful behavior, sincere efforts to listen, and a lack of interruptions and self-centered reactions. The first half of the book details how to begin using the Empathy practice during meetings, with family and kids, and at any time when the situation might be complicated. The second half contains examples from the author’s life of interpersonal and group communications under sometimes challenging or chaotic circumstances, giving anecdotal evidence of how this method creates real improvement.
This book is really unique and gave me a lot of inspiration. After reading I had much more clarity on what causes flaws in communication and a full toolbox of ideas for how to handle other people harmoniously. Dr. Nicole Audet’s detailed, but very clear, instructions for how to use empathic communication are written with confidence. As the author states, “Emotions are contagious,” and the core theory of Empathy is made more effective by the author’s own open-minded tone while she advises the reader how to rethink their habits. Over the course of the days after reading The Magic of Empathy: Theory and Practice, I remembered clearly the methods and examples demonstrated in the book and began to apply them to situations in my life. With each step, Dr. Audet is systematically encouraging and this makes the book highly interactive, with a real power to change lives.
Review 4 star
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Ted and Ned is a children’s picture book in rhyme. Written by Wendy Sura Thomson, it follows the journey of an ordinary boy named Ted who experiences the joy of finding a pet of his very own. Ted longs for a dog but has no specific plans on how to get one. While biking into the woods with his friend Mike he stumbles on a puppy abandoned in a big black bag. Ted falls in love with the wet-nosed, golden dog immediately, christens him Ned, and takes him home at once. His mother makes sure he’s really serious about caring for Ned, and Ted is sure he can do it. He and the puppy have developed a close bond in a very short time. Ned is here to stay.
Ted and Ned is good for those kids who are clamoring to have a pet. It’s also a nice tool to use to introduce the idea of a new pet to a small child who hasn’t considered this concept yet. Whether they get a dog or not in the immediate future, the experience of hearing Ted’s adventures in Wendy Sura Thomson’s story read aloud will pull them into that moment of instant, wonderful connection that finding your own dog is all about. As a dog owner myself, I warmed to lonely little Ned and how he found a new home with an eager child. Loyalty and long-term commitment are essential for a good pet owner and Ted’s laid-back personality and deep affection for Ned are easy for kids to claim as their own. A story that is delightful for anyone who looks forward to having a dog very soon.
A Jewel on Sapphire is a brisk, action-packed chapter book by Catherine Fitzsimmons. Perky young Mia lives on a futuristic space station—the Terran Exoplanetary Outpost—called Sapphire. Mia is actively involved in a fundraiser for her school. But her mother, the station director, is trying to investigate some strange electrical problems that have hit Sapphire. When Mia finds a cute little alien creature that looks a lot like a dragon, she’d do anything to keep it—and pretty soon it looks like she might have to. Ruby the dragon-alien has been causing the station’s power outages. Once Ruby gets sick Mia can’t lie anymore to hide her new friend and there’s still the fundraiser to think about. What will be the consequences?
Very appealing for girls ages 7-10, A Jewel on Sapphire offers good role models and a positive multi-cultural cast. There is strong underlying creativity in the space station’s world so that living on a spinning tube in space feels like real life a girl like Mia might experience on Earth, a noteworthy accomplishment when the situations are so fantastical. Part girl-finds-her-own-dragon tale and part Star Trek for children, Catherine Fitzsimmons’ story is a pleasant book with a delightful feeling of safety. I liked how people on Sapphire look out for each other and that would make me very comfortable giving the book to children. The idea of finding a creature that eats the electricity in a planet’s magnetic field is also tantalizingly inventive, like many things about the world of Sapphire, and a great launching place for kids to start using their own imaginations.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.