Synopses & Reviews
A touching story with an important message, "The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer" pulls on the heartstrings of young and old as it reminds of the importance of belonging for mental and physical health. This book will move readers to reconsider their attitudes toward others.
In this story, a forlorn and hungry refugee dog wanders into the barnyard where common real-life concerns about newcomers are played out by barnyard animals. Portland Pig wonders how this dog will be fed, while others wonder if he's dangerous. "Dogs bite " says Ol' Dot, one of the horses. Ultimately, the characters figure out a way to act compassionately, though they have concerns.
Children and adults alike will cry over the suffering of the refugee dog, and turn a page to feel the fear that some of the Barnyard Buddies have of the newcomer. They will watch courage grow among the animals as they get to know the newcomer, and will see consensus and consent decision-making as each one's voice is heard. They will cheer for the dog as he bravely chases the coyote out of the chicken coup, and gasp when, after saving the chickens, the farmer is still planning to take the dog to the animal shelter.
The story evolves...While it does have a happy ending, many of the children coming to our country or our communities as immigrants, refugees, and newcomers, don't have that experience.
Children benefit from opportunities to think about these difficult conundrums. Most children, quite naturally, hold compassion in their hearts while they consider practical implications. Reinforcing this ability, and putting it in a memorable story helps them recognize the value of their thinking. Further, it helps them believe in themselves and stand up with courage to bully behavior or other tactics of isolation.
The Barnyard Buddies illustrate and talk about both majority rule and consensus-building. The book fills a current, intense need for children to delve more deeply as they begin to grapple with complex problems. Today's kids will need to solve many issues around increased displacement as we face disruptions due to climate change, war, famine, political unrest, and so on.
Illustrator, Jeanine-Jonee brings Penshorn's characters to life. If you've read Penshorn's other award-winning books: "The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace" and "I Can See Peace," you will recognize her amazing talent at bringing life and emotion to each character.
This is a story that stays with children for life. It is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids -- both young and old. Supplied with the Parent and Educator Guide, painstakingly edited for its content by Rebecca Janke, M.Ed, adults will have many tools for creating a more peaceful, inclusive classroom, home, or faith environment.
Reading stories of compassion and peace to young children, who learn to love books because their hearts are filled and their spirits are inspired, helps nurture a culture we all want to live in. We all need to feel we belong. That's the first step toward stopping the next school shooting, the next bully's actions or even stopping the destruction of the environment. Our shared humanity is celebrated by our compassionate actions.
"This tender story shows animals teaching lessons about being human. They teach about how empathy, compassion, and kindness can overcome loneliness and fear. They teach about how important a sense of belonging is for mental health. Lovely " --Sheldon Braaten, Ph.D., Executive Director, Behavioral Institute for Children and Adolescents