Author: Dina Alexander
Basic Overview: In Petra’s Power to See, Dina Alexander shares a story about a girl named Petra and her journey with her father who teaches about media messages—specifically, how to find hidden messages and deconstruct images. Their journey will help your child understand messages, motivations, and credibility in all sorts of media including advertising, social media, movies, and news sources.
Messages in the media can be both inspiring and harmful. It’s important children recognize the difference and become experts in deconstructing these ideas so they can avoid unrealistic goals or expectations that are often showcased in various media.
Petra’s Power to See ultimately empowers your children and helps them see the world in a new and beneficial perspective.
Parts I liked best: I like how this isn’t just a book you read. It encourages you to ponder the information and apply it. It’s filled with questions, discussions, and activities to engage your child. Plus, the illustrations and colorful theme makes it fun to read.
Being a visual learner, I found this book easy to follow and understand. Each chapter is a building block on how to deconstruct images and look for hidden messages. There are many “ah ha” moments while reading.
Even though this book is a simple guide, it has substantial information regarding the media. I can guarantee that your children will learn from it, and adults reading it will learn just as much. All the points, discussions, and activities will further your own understanding and help you combat negativity found in the media.
Furthermore, the author provides real advertisements to analyze. This is extremely helpful because often times when I read or learn something new, I struggle with knowing where and how to apply it. This book has application examples included that help you and your children feel confident in applying knowledge to media images outside what the book has to offer.
Another helpful item in this book is the glossary. You and your child may have questions regarding certain terminology, so the glossary becomes a great aid to help teach the definitions of words they may not understand or comprehend yet.
What this book will do for you: You can put ourselves in the father’s shoes in this story and use what he said in your own conversations with your children. As you follow along, you can provide your own experiences and examples to enhance the learning environment that much more. This book isn’t a strict format to follow, instead it allows some flexibility in the discussions you’ll have with your child. This makes it easy to adapt it to the specific needs your child may have.
While this book encourages children to gain “the power to see,” the discussion questions and activities also help to build a stronger parent-child relationship. Once you and your child understand concepts and tricks taught in this book, you will begin to discuss many advertisements and images you see in media. Whether it’s driving down the highway looking at billboards, shopping at the mall, or even ordering a meal at your favorite restaurant, images are all around us and now each will become a topic of discussion.
Finding hidden messages in media doesn’t end with the last page of this book. The process of learning and applying continues into everyday life!
QUESTION: What do you want your children to understand about being better media consumers?
CHALLENGE: As you watch TV or are on the Internet with your children, start a conversation about what they’re seeing and different ways to think about the messages being portrayed.
Edited by Nollie Haws and Kimberly Price.
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