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The Elephant in the Room is a children's storybook with whimsical illustrations and rhyming verses of positive strategies for coping with grief and loss. The gender-neutral elephant character demonstrates the potential emotions that children may experience when faced with any type of loss such as death of a pet or a relative, a friend moving away, foster care, hospitalization, etc. This book can serve to initiate a discussion or to provide unconscious messages of love, power, and healing. The practical and realistic coping strategies are developmentally appropriate for young children in early childhood and are based in best practices according to research in children's literature and social-emotional development. It is recommended that the book be read daily, as needed, during traumatic events and that the adult wait patiently for the child to initiate a discussion. It is anticipated that The Elephant in the Room will serve as a transitional object for children experiencing grief and loss and that it will help them navigate their unique and individual journey towards healing, concurrently or in the years ahead. This book is a must-have for teachers, grief counselors, healthcare practitioners, therapists, social workers, and librarians. Additionally, it can serve as an important resource for families during difficult events.
About the Author
Amanda Edwards, M.A. has been working in the field of early childhood education for the past 6 years. Her experience includes work with infants, toddlers, and preschool age children, in the education setting, as both a teacher and administrator. She currently holds a membership with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and earned her M.A. in early childhood education from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to her graduate work, she completed her B.A. in child and adolescent development with a minor in family studies from CSU, Northridge. Additionally, Amanda has volunteered as a research assistant studying inner-city foster youth, supported children in the hospital setting, and local community organizations. Her aspiration for early childhood education stems from her personal experiences, providing a strong passion to assist young children whom experience grief and loss. Leslie Ponciano, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist, the Director of Research for Age of Learning (ABCmouse.com), and a professor in early childhood education and applied developmental psychology. She has created, directed, and taught academic courses at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, and CSULA. Dr. Ponciano's research examines the social and emotional development of children in non-parental care such as ECE classrooms and foster care. She also has experience as a social worker/supervisor in foster care, an infant-toddler teacher, and a behavioral specialist. Dr. Ponciano helped to develop the curriculum for Peace4Kids, a community-based organization serving foster children. Dr. Ponciano obtained a B.A. in Psychology from UCI, a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education from the UCLA. Julia Horwitz is a student at Vistamar High School with a love of writing and drawing, both in fine-point sharpie. In her past experience she has helped to orchestrate an arts summer program for students at an inner-city elementary school in Los Angeles. Her written work has been published in her school's literary magazine and newspaper and her artwork has been showcased at the Vistamar School Arts Night (It was at this showcase that Leslie Ponciano first came across her drawings). The Elephant in the Room is her first published illustrated work and has been an incredible experience.