One of the first two entries in the Being the Best Me! series, this focuses on optimism, though its over-the-top feel-good message may limit its kid appeal.
The story follows a young boy with Asian features from the time he wakes up to bedtime, and readers “listen” to his self-talk throughout the day. Most utterances reinforce an optimism skill: “I can think about things in a new way. / Even when something seems bad, I can learn from it or find some good in it.” Publishing simultaneously is Feel Confident!, which looks at a black girl’s activities and the self-confidence skills she uses. “I’m able to think and decide for myself. / When I make good choices, I can feel proud of myself. // When there is a problem, I can try to do something about it, or ask for help.” Allen’s seemingly digital illustrations show a nice range in terms of both racial diversity and situations that will be familiar to readers. Four pages of backmatter in each book include a list of relevant skills, some games and activities that will help develop those skills, a list of terms and discussion questions. Worthy as their messages are, however, kids are likely to recognize right away they are being preached to.
If there is such a thing as too upbeat, these are. Teachers, school counselors and social workers seem to be the intended targets; children aren’t likely to choose them on their own. (Picture book. 3-6)