Author: Debra J. Slover
Illustrations by: Darlene Warner
The Award Winning Leadership Development Book for Kids
Using the classic fable learning tool, this sweetly illustrated book empowers children, steers them toward positive patterning, and shows each child how to plant and nurture the seeds of good leadership while ridding their metaphorical gardens of the "weeds" (negative qualities that can harm children's self-worth).
The main character, a sheep named Hugh, suffers from low self-esteem, stemming from an environment where he was often criticized and never appreciated. When he stumbles into Leadership Farm, where a more open and loving way of being is the norm, he learns from the farmers Leda and Aristotle, as well as animals like Annabelle the dog, Blossom the cow, and Robert the rooster, how to develop his own leadership qualities, and how to tend his own Leadership Garden.
A central mnemonic is the acronym, U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Understanding, Nurturing, Inventive, Quality, Unstoppable, Expression. Taking one letter at a time, Slover walks the reader through creating and encouraging the life-affirming, esteem-building, leadership skills characteristic, and harnessing the six qualities together to form a "Leadership Garden Legacy" based on mutual respect, cooperation, teamwork, and other values. Kids who've been bullied may respond especially well.
U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS is designed as an interactive leadership development tool with the participation of grownups or older students who can read the book with children (ages 5-12) and provide mentoring and reinforcement of the concepts and discussion.
The Lexile Measure for the book when a child reads alone is 680L.
If you register for a lifetime membership in the Leadership Garden Registry, you will receive an additional 11% discount as part of your membership benefit.
Adapted from "U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing The Leader Within", her previous published self-help book for adults, leadership expert Debra J. Slover has adapted her work to the needs of children 8 to 12 years of age in "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids: Growing My Leadership Garden". With a thoroughly 'kid friendly' text embellished with full-color illustrations by Darlene Warner, "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" teaches young readers how to develop positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors while avoiding any negative influences that would erode their self-esteem, abilities or desires to be leaders in their peer group, or in their community.
U.N.I.Q.U.E. stands for Understanding, Nurturing, Inventive, Quality, Unstoppable, Expression. Parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, and care-givers can utilize "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" as a learning aid and facilitator in developing leadership qualities and attitudes within the hearts and minds of their young charges. "U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids" is especially recommended for family, school, and community Self-Help/Self-Improvement reference and resource collections for children.
Debra J. Slover is well aware that books read in childhood leave a lasting impression. She defines a young mind's potential as a leadership garden. With the right cultivation, Slover believes every child can find the leader within. Her book sheds light on the seeds that form the foundation of a deeply-rooted character.
Slover's goal is "to seed and nurture 11 million leadership gardens by 11-11-2011." Her mission is to provide children with tools to better themselves. "Imagine the future of our planet if we nurture each leader to sprout greatness," she states. She focuses on awakening the child's inherent abilities. It is not an adherence to a strict dogma or a step-by-step formula to mold a child to some preexisting ideal. Instead, a child's uniqueness is what is cherished. Leaders are not defined by the power to control, but by how they empower others through love. For Slover, leaders connect well with others because they combine their thoughts, feelings and behaviors into good choices.
The fable of the lost sheep Hugh is reiterated in the children's edition. The illustrations by Darlene Warner are more numerous and in color. Chapters conclude with a "Hugh Wants to Know" questionnaire reinforcing the moral lessons taught by each farm animal. The leadership concepts are explained with a vocabulary appropriate for ages 8 to 12. As Slover states, "It is an ideal book to be read aloud and discussed over eight sessions at home, in school or in youth groups."
Children will undoubtedly respond to the imagery of spring's arrival on the farm. The details of nature are meant to stir the physical senses while the accompanying leadership lessons awaken a child's curiosity and problem-solving skills. It is a winning combination to engage the mind, body and spirit in character-developing activities.
Slover's approach is realistic. Things happen in the outside world that cannot be controlled. Hugh's mother is attacked by coyotes. Howard the Horse is left to starve by his previous owner. Hugh is bullied by the farmer's son. Just by reading this book, bad things will not go away. Change depends on how children respond. A child's purpose and aim must play to his or her strengths. By tapping into their innate abilities, children are then able to face life's challenges. When one child demonstrates this inner strength, it empowers others to hone their leadership potential. One by one, new gardens are grown.