“Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” By Patty Lovell

I can tell my daughter all day long how beautiful I think that she is and hope that it sticks with her and helps her self-image now and in the future.  Unfortunately, later in life, I know that she will face times where her self-esteem is going to be challenged.  I want to prepare her as best as I can, early, to help reinforce in her the feeling of positive self-worth.  Therefore, I want to read her books that have a message of confidence and self-worth.  I want her to see characters, just like her, that believe in themselves no matter what.  I think that sometimes kids can relate and connect to characters in books better than “real” people.  It is like a friend that is always safe and available to them whenever they want to visit.  In books with the theme of self-esteem, children can see situations play out with characters that they grow to love and trust.  They watch as they stand up for themselves, appreciate their own uniqueness, and persevere.  I strongly suggest incorporating books with the theme of self-esteem into your home library. One of my favorite confidence-boosting books is entitled “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” By Patty Lovell.

self esteem melon

At the beginning of “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon,” we meet Molly Lou Melon that is “the shortest girl in the first grade.”  She also has buckteeth, an interesting voice, and can be very clumsy.  All along, her grandmother tells her to stand up for herself and to let her unique style shine.  Molly Lou ends up having to move away from her grandmother and to a new school.  There she is met with a bully, Ronald Durkin, who makes fun of her and calls her names.  She doesn’t let the teasing get to her and she continues to follow her grandmother’s advice.

I have to mention the illustrations by David Catrow.  They add to the charm of this book.  The characters all have crazy hair and funny faces.  Molly Lou Melon is adorable.

“Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon,” like sooo many other picture books, can be used with a large age range.  I read it to my three-year old, but I have also read it with my fifth graders.  With my daughter, I talk about how Molly Lou has special qualities that make her special.  With my fifth-graders, I talk about self-esteem and bullying.

Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS

clifford dog

I remember reading the “Clifford” books, by Norman Bridwell, as a kid, but I do not remember watching the show.  As far as I can find online.  There was a television series around 1988, but the series that my children are sooo into nowadays started in 2003-ish on PBS.  If you are unfamiliar with the story of “Clifford,” it begins with a dog that is considered to be a bit of a runt.  He isn’t expected to grow too much, but because his owner, Emily Elizabeth, loves him so much, he grows to be 25 feet tall.  Very cute!!

The show usually consists of two stories involving the main characters, which are kids and dogs.  There is usually a lesson learned involving important life lessons such as honesty, responsibility, and how to be a good friend.  In the middle, Emily Elizabeth reads a story to Clifford about a dog named “Speckles.”  At the end, there is a lesson of the day that is played out with the characters from the show.

The show states that it is geared for children ages 3-7, however my 1 ½ year old (I know that he shouldn’t be watching, but he does), loves it!  He also loves that we read the books and we have a stuffed animal of Clifford.

I love a good lesson learned in a TV show (see my other criteria here).  Each lesson is learned in a way that it easy for young children to understand.  They do not just focus on the easy lessons, they tackle such concepts of responsibility and admitting when you make a mistake.

One of the reasons that I like the show is how supportive the characters act toward each other.  They make mistakes and some times hurt each other’s feelings, but they always forgive each other.  I can’t stress just how important a lesson that I think this is and it happens consistently in this show.  It is sort of an untold lesson.

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