3 out of 4 stars
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Thousands of children have fallen prey to kidnapping and sexual abuse, both by strangers and relatives. Records also show that foster children are more likely to be abducted and exploited due to low confidence. Sometimes, the abuse goes on without the knowledge of the child's primary caregivers. Genise Joziah Hope has created the book Raising PEARLS: Prepared, Empowered, Armored, Restored, Loved & Secure Children to equip parents and caregivers with a useful guide on how to increase trust between them and their children. This book also educates children on what inappropriate behaviors look like and other tips to keep them safe from dangerous strangers and abusive relatives.
The author’s explanations were concise and straightforward. Starting from the Foreword, the author only included relevant pieces of information that highlight the importance of the topic of keeping children safe. She also included other resources (links) so that parents can read and further educate themselves on the statistics that she mentioned. I found her approach brilliant, as it imparts a sense of urgency, which is essential to motivate parents to take action and be more involved in their children’s lives.
Hope also included a “How to Use...” chapter that informs caregivers on how to use the book properly. The author addressed this part solely to caregivers, unlike other parts of the book that she addressed to children. The author’s clear instructions to caregivers will reduce any confusion that readers may have while navigating both the instructions and the illustrations. Hope included some illustrations and “fill-it-yourself” pages that will help children interact with the lessons in the book and their caregivers better. The illustrations had no colors, which was a good idea; kids will have fun coloring the illustrations by themselves, making learning about their safety more enjoyable.
While the author referred to this book as a children's book, children cannot use it without the supervision and help of an adult. Caregivers are supposed to use the book interactively. The author addresses caregivers directly, and the parts she addresses to children are ones that the caregiver has to read to them. I advise all parents and guardians to read this book. The information the author passes on is immensely relevant, and the methods she describes will help foster a positive relationship between you and your kids. Readers should note, however, that the author uses Bible verses to pass across messages of God's love. So some readers might not relate to that content. The additional resources (websites and hotlines) Hope provides for kids going through abuse were commendable, nonetheless.
However, at just 69 pages, this book is a little more than a pamphlet. I believe, though, that the author could have been a bit more thorough, regardless of the book’s length. Also, even though I did not find any grammatical errors, the book seemed disorganized. After getting to “Interactive Activities,” I noticed that the author did not use headings to sectionalize most of the topics. For instance, the lesson on safety zones came after the lesson on the importance of codes. The two topics were unrelated, so it would have been better if she used a heading to differentiate them. Despite the “How to Use...” chapter, some readers may still get confused, owing to the book’s disorganization. So I recommend another round of editing, leading me to rate Raising PEARLS 3 out of 4.
Raising PEARLS: Prepared, Empowered, Armored, Restored, Loved & Secure Children
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