This award-winning, easy-to-use field guide offers a powerful set of tools and practical solutions to the most important challenge for today's youth workers, educators, managers, and parents - communication breakdowns. After reading this guide, you will be able to:
- Identify porcupines in the field
- Recognize when and how communication breaks down
- Improve your communication know-how to skillfully redirect prickly personalities
- Add effective and impactful communication strategies to your toolkit
- Acquire new tools and strategies to help youth name their big emotions
Use these practical tools to ARISE to any situation so you can quickly de-escalate prickly personalities and get your relationship with youth back on track.
2023 Independent Author Network (IAN) Book of the Year Award Finalist in two categories:
- General Non-Fiction
Plot/Idea: Birdseye-Hannula's field guide offers practical advice for anyone who works with young people, especially those who have erected barriers to forming personal connections. The author's approach is direct yet full of compassionate understanding.
Prose: The author's prose is warm but concise; readers will value the balanced integration of case studies, the author's own experiences, and contextual advice.
Originality: While certainly not the first book to advise youth workers on handling difficult communications, Birdseye-Hannula's field guide offers a refreshing combination of empathy and advice that is welcome (for instance, the chart on inclusive language stands out); the author's awareness of gender, race, and economic barriers that can exist between adults and the kids they work with is especially valuable.
Character/Execution: A short, to-the-point guide, How to Talk to Porcupines is a welcome addition to any caregiver's toolkit. Despite its many strengths, and the author's inclusion of helpful anecdotes from her own experiences, the reader may still crave more of her perspectives -- a strengthening of the bond between reader and author would be welcome.
Blurb: Birdseye-Hannula's How to Talk to Porcupines is a concise guide filled with practical advice to help people who work with young people better communicate with them, especially in "prickly" situations.
Date Submitted: October 11, 2023
Birdseye-Hannula includes a number of helpful tools, including a guide to inclusive language — “bossy” vs. “leader,” “disability” rather than “handicap”—as well as a helpful endorsement of the popular improvisational “yes, and…” technique, which here involves empathetic listening and using “inclusive language to build on the experience and truth of the speaker.” Body language also provides a powerful statement, and the author explains optimal ways to interact with youth to maximize effectiveness. She also provides real-life examples (with identifying details redacted) that she calls field studies, encompassing a wide variety of problems and her suggested solutions. Teaching troubled children can be a life quest and a calling, which the author clearly realizes, and it’s inspiring that she provides techniques so that they may be successful in their quests.
A robust appendix includes thoughtful and useful field-guide prompts from the book’s first page to the last, reinforcing the learnings within, and an ample glossary defines concepts readers may not yet be familiar with. Birdseye-Hannula’s dedication to the youth she serves is inspiring, and she conveys the steps that others can take to reach her level of understanding with clarity and power.
Takeaway: Practical, empathetic advice for anyone who works with at-risk youth.
Comparable Titles: Cynthia S. Kaplan, Blaise Aguirre, and Michael Rater’s Helping Your Troubled Teen, Sam Ross’s What I Need From You
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Youth are the foundation of the world's future...
In today's society, our youth play a vital role in shaping the future of our world. Often, it isn't easy to get these young people to open up to an adult and express their feelings.
Youth workers hold various positions, including coaches, guidance counselors, doctors, nurses, and teachers. These people have the power to influence and change a child's life, and they must be equipped with the knowledge and guidance to listen and help break down any obstacles and barriers troubling the youth.
How to Talk To Porcupines: A Youth Worker's Communication Field Guide should be a mandatory reading requirement for all positions responsible for interacting with youth. It contains invaluable advice written in a way that can be read as a stand-alone book or field reference guide.
Allegra Birdseye-Hannula, your delightful porcupine title and animal symbol has captured this reviewer's heart. This book is the best advice I have encountered as a twenty-year book reviewer. It contains powerful advice and guidance in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. I encourage it to be read by all who have occupations that require them to work with youth.
Volume 22, Number 6, June 2023
In my 30+ years of supporting young people, this is the best concise yet thorough guide for youth workers I’ve seen. Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned veteran, this is a must read. Leave it to Allegra to develop the perfect metaphor for the young people we care so much about!
~ Paul Meunier, Executive Director at Youth Intervention Program Association (YIPA)
How to Talk to Porcupines is a Finalist in the 2023 IAN Book of the Year Awards in two categories:
- General Non-Fiction