Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, as Elton John lets us know in his 1976 hit by the same name. If only Sir Elton had the advantage of reading the picture book, How to Apologize, by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, perhaps he could have found a solution to his relationship struggles.
How to Apologize is a MUST HAVE for every classroom, Pre-K-12 and beyond! Little ones need to be taught HOW to apologize and older students (some adults too!) benefit from reminders on this important life skill. How to Apologize uses examples of mistakes that are often made by people using animals as the main characters, provides specific examples of how to apologize and ultimately, if possible, fix the mistake. Even the youngest readers will understand the emotions of the characters based on the outstanding illustrations. There are great examples of how to say I’m sorry and how NOT to say “I’m sorry. ” The story doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts of an apology like saying sorry to someone who is mad at you or to someone you don’t like. Being sincere is an important part of an apology and one that many people struggle with at times, not just children. The specific examples regarding a sincere apology will be relatable and humorous to students. As an adult, I found them quite funny! Finally, the story explains WHY it is important to apologize, a lesson that everyone, big and small can benefit from.
As part of building a classroom community during our first week of fourth grade, I am going to share this book with students. In addition, I plan to show this video by LaRochelle and Wohnoutka. Students will love watching the author and illustrator engage in an interaction that requires an apology among good friends and the steps to make that apology sincere.
Learning to apologize and saying, “I’m sorry,” in a sincere way is a lesson that needs repeating. I am certain that I will be using this book several times this year in large groups, small groups and even on an individual basis. I just hope it won’t have to be that often. If it is, there is certain to be A LOT of Elton John playing in my classroom!