Book Review: Personal Space Camp

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Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook is a humorous book that teaches young children the importance of personal space.

Author: Juia Cook Illustrator: Carrie Hartman
Age Level: 5-10 years
Publishers: National Center for Youth Issues
ISBN: 9781931636872

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Children’s understanding of how their body functions in space develops over a period of time. As children’s social experiences with peers increase they recognize and follow social rules on managing their bodies without trespassing on others’ personal space. Parents and teachers guide them through the learning process, during play, and in the classroom.

Some children, however, require repetitive and explicit teaching to identify personal space and the consequences of not respecting these boundaries. They struggle to grasp that bumping into another student time and again can be annoying and even lead to serious mishaps. During class hours, infringing on others’ personal space can be distracting for students. Teachers spend more time on classroom management than on instruction.

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Julia Cook’s Personal Space Camp is a valuable resource for teachers and parents who want a direct teaching tool on this topic. Louis is a space enthusiast. He is also forever in trouble because his space endeavors result in his crash landing on other students.

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Louis’s teacher assigns him to the Personal Space Camp run by the school principal. Mistaking it to be a ‘Space Camp’ Louis walks in enthusiastically. There he learns space and personal space mean two very different things altogether.

Personal Space Camp addresses the topic in a child friendly way to appeal to its target audience. There is humor, some repetitive language and real life incidents that make it meaningful and age appropriate. The strategies in the book use props to draw concrete boundaries. Hula hoops give children the experience of being in comfortable space. Bubbles of different sizes show kids how their personal space can change depending on the situation. These are excellent strategies to use in the classroom to reinforce personal space for all students.

Carrie Hartman’s illustrations are humorous and catch the reader’s attention. Personal Space Camp addresses a critical behavior without being preachy.

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