A diverse cast of children speak kindly to themselves, practice self-care, and display gratitude.
The narrative of this book is written like a pep talk one could imagine hearing from a person with fully realized emotional intelligence. Growth mindset, positive self-talk, resilience, empathy, perspective-taking, and other learned skills from the domain of social-emotional learning are demonstrated through first-person action statements. A brown-skinned child looks in the mirror: “I’m going to give myself the same love and kindness that I give the people I love.” A clearly disappointed, light-skinned child is cuddled in the lap of a caring adult: “When cheering myself up doesn’t help, I try not to keep feelings inside.” A dark-skinned girl with textured hair practices martial arts: “Sometimes loving me means I stand up for myself.” Many strategies for exhibiting self-love chosen by the child protagonists employing them are shown as valid, reinforcing that there is no one perfect way, just as there is no one perfect person. Zivoin’s illustration style is expressive and playful, but her mood can feel melancholic at times. The occasional series of vignettes on white space alleviates this sense with much-needed breathing room.
Skillfully provides the language to help readers remember—or learn—their abilities to treat themselves and others with gentleness.(Picture book. 4-8)