Meet Marcy and Her Friends, a children’s book that navigates the journey of building self-esteem and learning about peaceful conflict resolution.
Nancy E. Iankowitz – author, editor, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and professor of nursing, spent a decade of devoted listening to elementary school teachers, students and parents from several elementary schools throughout Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess County before completing her collection of stories. Over 30 stories were requested and written. The most popular 24 stories make up the book, Marcy and Her Friends. Dr. Iankowitz has been invited to publish her work in The Silence Within, Letters from the Soul and The Sound of Poetry. Her writing has been published in Creations, Pace Literary Magazine and The Gannett Suburban Newspaper.
The first Marcy story was written to help her own second grader confront issues surrounding disorganization. The second story helped her daughter deal with a classroom bully. The author read the two stories to her daughter’s class and they received such an enthusiastic response that she wrote twenty more to address the requests. Marcy and Her Friends is the best of the collection.
This children’s book helps youngsters between ages of 7-9 as well as their families understand and cope effectively with growing pains, tackle fears and frustrations, and to develop skills including peaceful conflict resolution and healthy boundary setting. Marcy, the main character, shares experiences that deal with concerns, challenges, wishes and the dreams of those upon whom the stories echo.
Each story stands on its own without illustration. This is by design to stimulate the imagination of the listener and reader. Students are encouraged to visualize Marcy throughout her daily experiences, as she handles common and oftentimes unsettling situations. Children delight in predicting what Marcy will say and do. This approach creates a safe environment for student to share their own concerns as they guess what happens next. Marcy takes her accumulated experiences over several years, and shares lessons learned. The self-reflective questions, posed at the end of each story, enhance the uniquely interactive nature of each character and situation.
One of the interactive classroom exercises is to draw Marcy. Readers see Marcy through their own eyes, as Marcy has neither race nor religion of her own. Middle school children recognize themselves. Parents see themselves at their worst and best. In many respects, Marcy and Her Friends offers tools to parents, helping to guide through the inevitable frustrations that define parenthood. Marcy and Her Friends has a story for everyone.
Parents and teachers use Marcy and Her Friends to help elementary school students confront issues surrounding disorganization, and classroom bullying. According to Sally Yu, a babysitter from Poughkeepsie: “I take this book with me whenever I babysit. Marcy and Her Friends is incredibly relatable. I look after all sorts of children: quiet, outgoing, loud etc. They all take something different from the stories. The shy ones open up and tell me how similar events from the book have happened to them. We then talk through the questions posed at the end of each story and come up with different answers. This book is a great ice-breaker. Reading the stories with the young ones give us something to do besides watching movies. The stories help some of the children ask questions they would otherwise be too shy to ask”.
The book reflects the aspirations, worries and frustrations of Dr. Iankowitz’s own second-grade daughter, her classmates, and of several teachers. The characters help loved ones navigate difficult subjects by offering tools and relatable examples. Marcy and Her Friends functions as the diary one wished one kept to give a child the support they need. The book makes for a great gift, to be enjoyed by oneself or made into a read aloud “imagination series” as it delivers an interactive experience.
Allow yourself to learn from Marcy and all of her friends as they travel through childhood. Watch her grow up, as the series continues with Marcy entering high school, as captured in Dr. Iankowitz’s second book: Conversations with our Daughters. Between Marcy and her younger sister, Beth, elementary school through high school is perfectly preserved, nearly all females can relate and identify. Males, buckle up as you drive full speed into the roller coaster world of women, young and old.
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