Children experience familiar frustrations that bring uncomfortable feelings such as worry, sadness, and fear.
A toy is lost; big waves crash; a pet is hurt. During each painful moment, an adult caregiver shows up and is present with the child, helping the child find strength. Papa shares “his brave” with his daughter to help her with “[her] scared”; Grandma shares “her love,” helping “sad” to fade away. When the children next face something difficult on their own, they find they have stores of inner strength and coping skills. This book explicitly tells its young readers, “You are more than just your feelings.” It encourages children to take the comfort they receive from caring adults and transmute it into their own strength. The children do so in lots of ways—they go outside, breathe softly, sing a favorite song, and draw with bright colors. The message is not to replicate any one specific strategy but to find any resonant strategy in the moment. Illustrations are realistic, emotive, and clear. However, the deep saturation and consistently dark palette make even the cheerful spreads feel a bit heavy. This setback is a minor one when compared to the book’s overall utility, which is amplified by a note from an anxiety specialist to parents and caregivers in the back. The cast is a diverse one.
Powerful and affirming. (Picture book. 4-10)