What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada is an inspiring book about confronting problems in a child’s life. I find Kobi’s books to be not only inspiring and beautifully illustrated, but so thoughtful in the way that she is able to present complex information (such as having a problem) so that children can understand. Kobi Yamada is also the author of What Do You Do With an Idea?, which is another favorite picture book of mine.
In the beginning of the book, the character describes how he has a problem. He isn’t sure how it happened and doesn’t want it, but there it is! The boy struggles with how to deal with this problem by ignoring it, shooing it away, but nothing worked. Then he starts to worry about his problem and it became bigger and bigger. The boy worried about what would happen to him because of his problem. Would it take away his things? What was going to happen? The boy tried avoiding it and hiding but the problem never went away until he decided to face it. After facing his problem with some fear, he realized that his problem held an opportunity to learn and grow. The main character became brave and stronger as a result of this problem and became able to deal with problems in the future.
What Do You Do With a Problem? is a book that can helpful for children ages 7 and up and can used in a variety of ways. As adults, we do learn that in order to resolve our problem, we need to face it head on. We can avoid and hide from the problem as much as you want, but the problem will not go away. Various issues comes up with children and having a book such as this one can help give a child the opportunity to look at their problem in a different way and give them a segway to facing it.
Start by identifying the problem. Discuss how your child can face the problem and then after the problem is resolved, you and your child can talk about what they learned. Reading this book can even help an adult think about problems in their own life and how they can face it and what they learned from it. Sharing these experiences with your child can possibly help make a child feel less lonely and insecure about their own problem.
Repeated readings! This book is an excellent example of a book that should be read many times to develop better comprehension. To understand the benefits of repeated readings, click here. Since there are so many interesting aspects to the story, several conversations can occur as a result of reading this book. For example, talk about a problem that the boy may have had. Why was the problem getting bigger when he ignored it? Why did he worry? What does worrying mean? The term worrying in itself can be a helpful discussion with children since children and adults worry but just about different things. I created this worksheet that you can do with your child that can help map out how to solve a problem.
Below is a way to help start the conversation with your child or student: