Sometimes, a large family comes in and all the kids get a book, except there is usually one kid, often the oldest, who gets more. This can create chaos among the younger kids who are big on noticing that suddenly the book purchases are not equitable.
Usually parents deal with this in one of several ways. They either make one child put back a book, causing unhappiness and anger, or in happy instances, they let everyone get one more paperback, causing a slight break in the budget, or some parents just let kids realize that not everything’s going to be fair.
Earlier in the week there was a mom of four kids ranging in age from five to twelve. Each child got one book each. That was clear from the outset with the mom saying, “Everyone gets one book.” When we hear instructions this clear we all do our best to help the kids find that one book he or she will love. In this instance, the little boy wanted two books: Amber Brown Wants Extra Credit and The Donner Party. At first I thought, what an eclectic little reader. I don’t usually think of Amber Brown and the Donner Party being books the same person is going to enjoy. But this little kid was happy about both. All was good until the middle sister noticed the boy was getting two books. The mom dealt with this in the most equitable way I’ve ever seen.
She looked at all of her children and said with a straight face, “Well, honey, everyone can read about the Donner Party.” They left with the whole family talking about cannibals and not one mention of one of them getting an extra book.