Children’s

Sara The Buck­et Filler: A Sto­ry About Show­ing Kind­ness and Being Happy

Riv­ka Fish­man; Miri­am Sin-Shalom, illus.
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By – May 21, 2018

In this sto­ry, a wise teacher helps young Sara deal with neg­a­tiv­i­ty from a class­mate. Morah Ilana uses a clever anal­o­gy to explain the girl’s behav­ior: Buck­ets aren’t only for sand. Each of us has a buck­et, but it’s invis­i­ble. The buck­et holds all the good feel­ings we have about our­selves, about oth­er peo­ple and the world….When our buck­et is full of good feel­ings, we feel hap­py, when our buck­et is emp­ty, we feel sad or angry.”

As Sara goes through her day, she feels sad and a lit­tle angry as her buck­et emp­ties. She learns that one of the best ways to fill up your own buck­et is by fill­ing oth­er people’s buckets.”

Buck­et fill­ing” is a tech­nique used by ele­men­tary school and preschool teach­ers to help chil­dren under­stand that we can increase or decrease our hap­pi­ness through our actions. Each time we do some­thing kind, or make some­one feel good, a bit is added to our buck­et and theirs. Neg­a­tive actions take a bit out of the buck­et. Being kind to oth­er peo­ple is a skill that can be learned.

This is a wel­come addi­tion to the bib­lio­ther­a­py list. It is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 to 8 and also works well as a read-aloud both in and out of a classroom.

Sandy Lan­ton, a for­mer teacher, earned a BA in Psy­chol­o­gy and an MS in Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion from Queens Col­lege. She is the author of Daddy’s Chair (Syd­ney Tay­lor Award), The Hap­py Hack­ers, Lots Of Latkes, Still a Fam­i­ly: A Young Child’s Book About Divorce (Git­tle Hon­or­able Men­tion), and The Lit­tlest Levine (named one of the best Jew­ish Children’s Books of 2014 by Tablet Mag­a­zine). Her work has appeared in mag­a­zines as well as sev­er­al antholo­gies. When she isn’t writ­ing sto­ries or vis­it­ing schools, Ms. Lan­ton likes to cro­chet, line dance, play bridge and pick­le­ball, spend time with her grandchil­dren, and read, read, read.

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