Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Child Psychologist Explores The Choices In Childrens Books - Kindle, IPad and Paper Books

Which book format is the best choice for your child: Kindle, IPad or paper book? In many areas, the electronic tablet is a wise choice. However James Beverly, author and child psychologist believes that, in some important child development areas, the paper book is still king

It cannot be disputed that electronic tablets can bring a myriad of wonderful things into the lives of our children. They can offer children a wide variety of excellent early learning programs that are complete with well designed reinforcement displays. They can be wonderful additions to any family. But if parents and grandparents do not exercise good judgment, they can be a subtle thief that can rob children of many important family experiences.

"If you ask the average parent or grandparent," stated James Beverly, "if they have discussions with their child about important subjects – or if their child can come to them with problems – the answer will usually be “Of course!” Really? Notice that I said “discussions” – not lectures - or one-way sessions – but discussions. Having meaningful discussions with a child or grandchild is a developmental learning process. It does not happen by itself and it takes a bit of practice and patience to do well. Children are not little adults and you should not assume that they know how, or are automatically somehow comfortable, sharing their innermost feelings and fears with you. A child views a parent as the absolute authority with all of the power. They are trying to figure out the rules and what they do that pleases or angers you. Deep down, they are cautious in this regard. A wonderful place to practice and learn these discussion skills is to utilize children’s books. Reading to/with your child also provides a strong bonding experience."

"I believe that the act of sitting and reading to a young child in your lap almost requires a real paper book to be done properly. Children help turn the pages and point to the illustrations. They help hold the book. When the story is finished, many times they want to hold the book themselves and turn pages. They usually watch as their favorite book is returned to their bookshelf. Have you ever enjoyed the marvelous sight of a young child holding their favorite book and seriously pretending to read to their teddy bear or favorite doll? It is one of the most adorable sights you will ever see."

Where to start: First of all, select a book or story that has something in it that can be discussed. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Most children’s books are basically cute images with little or no substance.

Beverly believes that reading to your child from their own book is a wonderful bonding experience that teaches so many meaningful things and opens the door for real conversations about important issues. Trust in talking to you about difficult subjects happens. Learning to listen and feeling safe to ask you questions are critical events to a child’s learning and feeling of acceptance and safety. What is important is that your child can have your undivided attention and feel comfortable talking about what is on his or her mind.

"There are some wonderful children’s books out there," continued Mr. Beverly, "so find something that is interesting to the child, and if possible lends itself to meaningful discussions about common childhood issues or fears. Also - before you select a book or story - read it first and then ask yourself the question 'is there something in this story that I would really want to discuss with my child - something that might be beneficial to him/her?' If the answer is 'not really' - choose another book."

"Also be careful in the children’s books that you select. Does the book lend itself to any meaningful discussions? Like most things on the market for children, most of them are simply not up to par – and in some cases they are very inappropriate in the direct or implied violent or social content. Always read the book first before you read it to your child. Check who recommends it? Anybody whose opinion you value? What will your child learn from the book? Avoid the superhero, violent content stories, and the other nonsense that the media tries to glamorize for your child. Most of them are simply not appropriate. Always read the book first before you read it to your child. So find the time to read to your child and discuss the stories. Remember to choose the stories wisely. You will develop better communication skills with your child and build fond memories that will last a lifetime."

James Beverly is the author of the 'Seamus the Sheltie' series of children's books. The books are available at, Barnes and Noble, Itunes, most bookstores and at Mr. Beverly's website. Mr. Beverly recently appeared on The Children’s Authors Show. The interview is available at his website. Mr. Beverly is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at More information (including some secret places for kids) can be found at his website.


James Beverly received his Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University and his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo Ontario, Canada. He was then invited by Dr. John Basmajian, the Dean of the Medical School at Queen's University, to join his research team. James spent the next two years enrolled in the Medical School at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario where he was involved in research projects involving physically handicapped children.

Since then James has worked in the field of mental health as a therapist and administrator in nine states for over forty five years. He has presented at a number of national and state conferences and he has been nominated for a variety of state and regional awards for innovative clinical programming. James retired in 2010.

During his many years of service, James worked directly with a wide variety of distressed children and their families in a variety of institutional and community settings. During this time, James became acutely aware of the poor communication that existed in many of the families, which led to a lack of meaningful family values being instilled in the children. It was apparent to James that there were very little written or easily available materials available for parents and children to assist in these tasks. These experiences laid the foundation for a series of books for children and their parents that was designed specifically to fill these values and communication gaps in a pleasant, fun, and non-threatening manner.

Following the success of his nationally award-winning book 'The Adventures of Seamus the Sheltie', James continued to receive many requests from parents asking if he would please write additional stories for them that would deal with some specific and difficult topics that they were having problems with trying to discuss them with their child. These requests led James to the publication of his two most recent books, 'More Tales of Seamus the Sheltie', and 'Seamus the Sheltie to the Rescue'.


James Beverly