Being Frank

Title:  Being Frank

Author:  Donna W Earnhardt

Illustrator:  Andrea Castellani

Description:   Frank learns that “being honest” can be tricky business.  A wise grandpa suggests that “more sugar and less pepper” is often the best way to go…


    • Social skills, especially being honest yet kind
    • Emotions
    • Body Language
    • Perspective Taking
    • Inferencing/Predicting
    • Narrative Language

Why I Like This Book:   This book provides a fun and engaging way to discuss a nuanced topic.  I really appreciate the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” that is introduced in this book.  Also, the illustrations are fantastic!

Ideas for Use:   

  •  This is a great book to introduce the topic of being honest and kind to kids who may have difficulty with this concept.  There are several scenarios presented which offer opportunities to discuss how the other person might feel and to brainstorm another approach.  The introduction of the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” then provides a way for kids to apply this same approach to new situations.
  • In a group setting, this book is wonderful for acting out.  Kids can work on body language and facial expression to relate their emotions, both when their feelings are hurt and then later when they feel validated.
  • This is also a great book for discussing Social Behavior Mapping (Garcia-Winner).  Frank certainly feels much happier when his friends are happy with him because he treated them more kindly..
  • Once kids have the experience of acting out the book and they are familiar with “more sugar less pepper,” have two kids at a time act out a brief scenario.  Include the other kids by having them give a thumbs up if the child is honest and kind and if not, have the audience say, “more sugar less pepper.”
  • This book is also great to use to work on figurative language.  The idea of “more sugar less pepper” can be explored both literally and figuratively.  Then additional idioms can be explored by generating brief scenarios that would incorporate both the literal and figurative meanings.
  • The scenarios in this book are also good for inferencing and predicting.
  • The narrative structure and story retell can be made more fun by using the Story Grammar Marker App from MindwingConcepts.  This app gives kids the chance to be a newscaster and to tell the exciting story of Being Frank.  Kids can even record their “newscast” and share with others over email!

Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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me first

Me First

Title: Me First

Author: Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Description: Pinkerton the pig always has to be first. No matter what! He learns a lesson that “being first isn’t always best.”


  • Perspective Taking
  • Figurative Language
  • Narrative Language
  • Social Skills

Why I like this book: In our social groups we have many kiddos who HAVE to be first.  A good silly story to address the concept. Also a great story for language flexibility, and narrative skills.

Ideas for this book:

  • Discuss and demonstrate the body language when Pinkerton pushes past them to be first. Use thinking bubbles (a white board, regular paper) and discuss how those characters feel and why. What are friends thinking of Pinkerton? Problem solve ways to cope when you aren’t first.
  • A great story to tie to discussion around personal body space. We have used after reading Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook. Practice lining up in a group, managing space, and using words to negotiate who is “first” and next in line.
  • “sandwich” vs. a “sand witch” is demonstrated in this story, as well as “care for” meaning want vs. taking care of. Great example of language flexibility. The author makes a great picture of what Pinkerton was thinking vs. what actually happened. Tie to discussion around idioms and other figurative language. For more examples (check for age appropriateness of course) see Proverbidioms app. Also can pair with other figurative language stories reviewed on all4mychild. Click on “figurative language” on our home page for more.
  • Great for narrative skills. Have students “retell” the story using the pictures to help. I use with Mindwingconcepts “Braidy,” to help students identify story grammar elements.

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Curious George’s First Day of School

Title: Curious George’s First Day of School

Author: Margaret & H.A. Rey’s

Description: Curious George gets into trouble again on his first day of school. However, his friends come to the rescue.


  • Emotions/Body Language
  • Friendship
  • Pretend Play
  • Story Retell
  • Figurative Language
  • Wh-Comprehension

Why I like this book: Curious George is always a hit with kids. This book can be used with a variety of ages based on your goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • A good story for the beginning of the school year. There is a range of emotions in the story (which is what our kids are likely feeling:) that is great for discussion. Excitement, nervousness, frustration, etc. The pictures provide great body language as well. Have students “act out” different emotions, and discuss why they may feel that way. Discuss strategies for how to cope with the negative ones.
  • When George inevitably gets into trouble, his friends jump in to help him.  A great lesson for students about helping their friends in need, and how “many hands make light the work.” Brainstorm other ideas for how to help friends and/or the class during the year (i.e. pushing in chairs, helping other clean up quickly, wiping your table after a snack, etc.) Great to introduce the concept of “teamwork.”
  • For younger students, a great story to “act out” with small objects. Have them act out a child (or a monkey) going to school. Incorporate a teacher and other friends. Help them sequence events, add dialogue, etc.
  • For older students, a great story for retelling. Pair with MindWing Concepts “Braidy” to identify story grammar elements.  A good story with multiple “kickoffs.”
  • There are a couple examples of figurative language: “having a ball” and “well-balanced snack”- both for which George interprets literally. For older students could tie to other idioms and figurative language. For younger students great to point out and discuss.
  • Tie to curriculum around “well-balanced” snacks. Brainstorm other healthy snacks and have after reading the story.
  • During and after reading, incorporate “wh” questions throughout. Why is George in trouble? How can you tell? What will happen next? Why?

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Fiona’s Luck

Title: Fiona’s Luck

Author: Teresa Bateman

Description:  In this Irish folktale, Fiona uses her smarts to trick a selfish Leprachaun king who has taken all the luck of the land.


  • Narrative Language
  • Abstract/Figurative Language
  • Perspective Taking
  • Trickery

Why I like this book: An entertaining story that can address any number of higher- level language goals

Ideas for use:

  • Identify the Story Grammar Elements (characters, setting, etc.). I use with Mindwingconcepts “Braidy.” Multiple “kick-offs,” etc.
  • A great story for perspective taking and “trickery”- what is Fiona thinking vs. the villagers and the leprechauns.  Use thinking and speaking bubbles to assist with understanding
  • Teach/discuss similes and metaphors. Great for reasoning. What do you think the simile means? Have students create their own similes and metaphors.

Submitted by: Meghan G.Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Pirates Don't pic

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers

Book: Pirates Don’t Change Diapers

Author: Melinda Long

Age: Early Elementary

Description: While Jeremy’s mom is running an errand, his old pirate friends come for a visit and are forced to help Jeremy take care of his baby sister.


  • Narrative Language and Retelling
  • Reading Body Language
  • Figurative Language
  • Prediction

Why I like this book: The illustrations are amazing. Kids love the humorous story. Who doesn’t love silly pirates?

Ideas for use:

  • Great narrative structure for the discussing and teaching the Story Grammar Marker elements(clear characters, setting, initiating event, events, resolution, etc.)
  • Use with “Braidy” ( to help students retell the story. A good example of multiple “kickoffs” (1)pirates show up, 2)can’t find the map) See the Mindwings concepts website for more information on this amazing narrative tool.
  • Examples of multiple meaning words/figurative language (rock, babysitter). See if kids can come up with other similar words (i.e. duck, carpool, etc.) Have them draw “both” meanings.
  • Discuss the amazing body language in this story (i.e. boy holding stinking diaper). Draw thinking bubbles- what are they thinking? Why? How can you tell?
  • Have kids act out the body language and the story. Could use a pretend play boat and people, or have the kids act themselves.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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