Monday, May 11, 2020
Are Your Words Sweet and Kind or Mean and Sour?
Bonnie Clark’s new book teaches children
what it means to Taste Your Words
Our words have power and make an impact on the people around us. Some words are nice and kind while others are mean and hurtful. Parents can teach kids about the power of words and the importance of kindness with Taste Your Words (WorthyKids/April 7, 2020/ISBN: 9781546015178/ $17.99), a charming picture book by Bonnie Clark that cleverly illustrates why we should think before we speak.
Clark tells the story of young Amera who is having a bad day. Amera’s best friend, Maddie, ruined her cupcake by accident, and they both say mean things. When Amera brings her bad mood home with her, her mom tells her to “taste her words.” Amera’s mean words taste like rotten eggs, spoiled milk, and lemons! As she realizes that her mean words make her feel bad and others feel worse, she starts saying the kindest, sweetest words she can find.
When Amera notices the difference in the words she uses, her attitude changes, and the whole day starts to turn around. The next day, she greets Maddie with sweet tasting words and an apology. By sharing kind, yummy words everywhere she goes, Amera’s day goes much better than the one before. “I’m sorry.” “I’ll help.” “I love you.” The words taste better and better, like cherries, bananas, ice cream and chocolate.
The idea for Taste Your Words originated when Clark’s three children were small and learning how to use their words to communicate. Clark was inspired by Proverbs 16:24 (NLT) which reads, “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” She explains, “I would tell them to taste their words before they let them out of their mouth. The idea that we could taste our words was fun, and I was surprised at how quickly they understood the concept. There are few things that kids really understand, and one is food, especially sweet treats. It became a game in our home to politely encourage each other to taste our words. The whole family needs reminding! I thought that if my kids can get it, then other kids might also like the idea of tasting your words and choosing sweet kind ones.”
Illustrated by Disney animator Todd Bright, this picture book is an excellent resource for parents who want to teach their kids to think before they speak. It can also be used in classroom and library settings. With humorous text and lively illustrations, Clark and Bright make it easy for even the youngest children to understand the power of their words. Written for five-to-eight-year-olds, the concept of bad flavors being tied to unkind words and good flavors being tied to kind words is something that even toddlers can understand very quickly.
However, Clark also felt it was important to include a mention of adults tasting their words too. There is a moment when Amera’s mom is reminded she needs to taste her words. “While Taste Your Words is a children’s book, the message has never been more relevant for adults as well, especially when it comes to social media. No matter your position or politics, choose your words carefully. Nothing is either/or. People are fearful about different things, and we should all be respectful. Listen and respond with love.”
Readers can go to Clark’s website, bonnieclarkbooks.com, to sign-up for her newsletter to stay up-to-date on book news and events. Parents and teachers can also download coloring pages and activities that go along with Taste Your Words under the “Fun Stuff” tab. There are discussion questions about the book, a kindness activity, and even a Mad Lib game. She also created a YouTube channel for her readings of Taste Your Words, including the American Sign Language version and the #TasteYourWordsChallenge which is sure to get families laughing together and serves as a great reminder to taste your words. (Go to YouTube and search for Bonnie Clark Books.)
“We can never have too much discussion about being kind to each other, starting with our words,” reminds Clark. “We may not be able to control our circumstances or what others say to us, but we can always choose to be kind and considerate.”
About the Author
Bonnie Clark loves books that make her laugh, cry, or think for a long time. She has always enjoyed words and writing, but she has a special affection for picture books. Weekly trips to the library with her kids is one of her favorite things to do, and even though her older two are on to chapter books, they still enjoy listening to mom read a picture book.
When Clark isn’t writing and raising her kids, she does yoga, reads books, and drinks lots of coffee. Her favorite place in the world is ANY beach. She lives in Canton, Georgia, with her husband and their three children.
Learn more at bonnieclarkbooks.com or follow her on Facebook (Bonnie Clark Author), Twitter (@bonclark), Instagram (@bonnieclarkbooks), and YouTube (Bonnie Clark Books).