Monday, February 21, 2011

From a Child's Heart to a Mother's Soul

The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Age Range: 4 to 8
Tanglewood Press IN, 2006 (32 pp, $12.95, paperback)

Rating 5/5

image from

Audrey Penn’s simple, but powerful text would touch anyone’s heart.  A young raccoon, who is having doubts about the first day of school, decides he would much rather stay home with his mother.  Unfortunately, staying home is usually not an option and Mrs. Raccoon shares a “wonderful secret” to help him feel safe while at school.  A simple kiss on a hand and a touch on a cheek is all that takes for this young Raccoon, Chester, to take a leap into his first journey alone.

Although this book is listed for children ages 4 to 8, I believe any person who has a child within themselves would appreciate the warm feeling you get after reading The Kissing Hand.  The illustrations are simple.  To some, that might affect how a child reacts to a book however, the purpose of the book and the illustrations match flawlessly.  The simplest action, like kissing a hand, can have the everlasting feeling of comfort and love.  Through this secret and heartwarming reassurance, Penn captures the doubt in a child’s mind and the heartache of mothers letting go for the first time.

I highly recommend this book to parents who want to reassure their children, and even themselves, the love that will always be with them even away from home.  The Kissing Hand would be an excellent classic to add to a library in any home or classroom.

Reviewed by Breanna Constable

Some activities, for primary grades, would be to:
1.  Read the book.
2.  Have each child trace their hand, and color (or paint) their hand according to their personality.
3.  Have each child cut out a heart and paste it in the middle.
4.  On the back of their drawn, colored, cut out hand, have each child write what the hand means to them and why they are giving the hand to that specific loved one.  I suggest giving the option of making 1 or 2.

*I believe, through this activity, you learn a lot about the kids and even their families.  Who are they making their card for?  What colors are they using?  Are they drawing pictures?  What does this hand mean to them?* If anyone has any other ideas, I would love to learn from you.