Greenville Author Helps Parents Answer Tough Questions

A child’s innocent questions sometimes catch a parent off-guard, and one such question prompted Greenville author Beth Lindsay Templeton to write a children’s book.

The question was, “Why does my classmate smell funny?”

The answer to that and many other questions are in her new book A Coat Named Mr. Spot — a book written to promote a better understanding of poverty among children and their parents.

Though Templeton wrote the book, the United Way of Greenville partnered with her to make the book a reality.

For over thirty years Templeton has worked closely with the poor and people who are marginalized because of their economic situation. Likewise, the United Way of Greenville works to improve people’s lives throughout the community, so Templeton and the United Way saw their partnership as a perfect fit.

The result of their efforts is a book that helps children empathize with classmates who may live in poverty.

The book follows two children, Betsy and Robert, as they visit their grandparents one weekend. The children ask their grandparents about some of their classmates whose behavior seems strange to Betsy and Robert. The grandparents compassionately explain in each case some of the possible reasons behind the behavior. The grandparents in the story serve as a model for any parent or grandparent who has struggled to come up with good answers to questions about poverty. Templeton based the questions in the story on real questions from real children. For answers, she draws on her rich experience working with people in poverty.

Dana Thompson’s illustrations bring to life this informative, important story. The book contains a parents’ guide for those parents who wish to explore issues of economic inequality more with their children.

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