Welcome parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, writers, publishers and anyone interested in having more birthdays!
A is also for Attitudes — many formed when young and affecting our happiness over a long life. Positive attitudes to aging and older people are a gift we can give ourselves, our children, and the older adults we love.
Like racism and sexism in our diverse society, ageism often flies under the radar, and negative stereotypes of age contribute to ageism, even in books for kids.
Important research tells us:
- What we believe about growing older affects HOW we grow old—our happiness, health & longevity
- Positives attitudes to aging have the greatest effect on health if instilled in childhood
- Kids are bombarded by negative images of aging from many sources
- The behavior of even very young children is affected by ageist images
- Later life can hold many good things & happiness tends to increase with age
“None of us, and least of all young people, can afford to face our individual or collective future(s) guided by ageist myths and stereotypes.”
Fran Pratt, the founder and director of the Teaching and Learning about Aging project
C is for Change! Let’s use Positive Aging picture books to change attitudes and show:
- The diversity of interesting older adults—with tremendous knowledge, inner strength & creativity
- Lifelong aging is both normal & natural
- Normal aging is not about stereotypes such as sad, grumpy & forgetful
- Older adults possess skills & strengths because of their years of experience
- We have much in common and much to gain from intergenerational friendships
Beginning January 2015 I’m honored to collaborate with Sandra L. McGuire RN, EdD, gerontological nurse practitioner and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tennessee (bio). A long time advocate for using picture books to educate children about aging, Dr. McGuire has published extensively on aging education.
Dr. McGuire is an advocate of a lifespan approach to positive aging: “Positive aging is a relatively contemporary term. It denotes activities, attitudes, and lifestyles that promote healthy aging and maximize the potentials of life’s later years. If people are to age successfully positive aging needs to be promoted.”
“It is important for young people to have books that portray aging as a natural and lifelong process of growing and developing, Books that focus on death, dying, disability, dependency, disease, and dementia are not included on this list. These topics are not synonymous with aging.”
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