Hands are Not for Hitting

Written by Martine Agassi, Ph. D.
Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen
Published in 2000

Why we chose this book:
T learns from examples in books, and we have found it helpful to reference some of his favorite characters when dealing with difficult situations. Lately, he has been reacting to "no" by swinging his fists at his father and me. We want to encourage more positive reactions to anger and frustration, so I've requested several "no hitting" books to help us help him.

Mom's Review

Alternatives to hitting are recommended for expressing and processing one's feelings.

There are two editions of this book, one for children ages 0-3 and one for children ages 4-7. I selected the edition for older children, as the cover illustrations for the younger children's edition looked more babyish than T. The book describes what are good uses for hands and then explains why people might sometimes hit. Healthy alternatives to hitting are recommended, such as talking, listening to music, jumping up and down, or writing about one's feelings. Questions are also posed to the audience to help children process their feelings. T enjoyed the book, and even asked for it as his bedtime story. I thought it hit the target perfectly with tone and content, but could have effectively conveyed its message in half the time. I am attributing the length to the intended audience's age.

Son's Review
(age 3 years)

While reading:
Mom: It says "I can tell a story with my hands."

Son: I can draw a picture! I'm going to go draw a picture now!

Son, pointing to a boy pictured: What does he say?

Mom: He doesn't say anything, but look at his face. How do you think he feels?

Son: Angry.

Son, pointing to the hitting-alternative page: It's showing you can squeeze a pillow, or sing, or communicate.

Mom: How are they communicating?

Son: With their hands.

Mom, reading: How do you use your hands to play?

Son: Playmobil. Playmobil is my favorite.

Son, pointing to a boy with a thought bubble: What's he saying?

Mom: He's not saying anything. He's thinking about who can help him when his friends hit.

Dad: Do you know an older person who can help you?

Son: Uncle N!

Mom, reading: How are you handy? Being handy means being helpful.

Son: By doing what Mommy tells me!