An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

TAMING SNEAKY FEARS

LEO THE LION'S STORY OF BRAVERY & INSIDE LEO'S DEN: THE WORKBOOK

A debut guide for children with anxiety problems provides an animal tale and an interactive workbook.

This manual by two child psychiatrists—based on their therapeutic treatment program—has a straightforward design: eight chapters of “Leo the Lion’s Story of Bravery” and eight corresponding workbook sections. Leo is nervous about speaking to other animals because he fears that they will make fun of him. With the help of his mother, he uses stress-reducing techniques such as Spaghetti Arms and Toes (progressive muscle relaxation), Balloon Breathing (abdominal breathing), and Imagery. Then, in Bravery Club, he learns about his “Sneaky Fears,” portrayed as two snarling, smelly jackals. His teacher explains: “Your worst fears, these wild and scary beasts, need to be tamed.” In time, Leo exposes their tactics—telling falsehoods, exaggerating, and showing only bad things—and begins to think courageous thoughts instead. Soon he discovers that he can also employ a “Feeling Thermometer” to recognize and reduce negative emotions. In the final chapters, Leo and his new friend, Ellie the Elephant, practice what they’ve learned in order to overcome their fears. The workbook precisely matches the clever story and includes application activities like practicing stress-reducing methods, drawing “Sneaky Fears,” and deciding what steps to accomplish on the “Bravery Ladder.” There are also several invitations to draw “body scans” of how readers feel when experiencing different emotions. Benoit and Monga have done an excellent job of presenting evidence-based, anxiety-reducing techniques in a way that is both creative and comprehensible. They utilize simple language, adequate repetition, and memorable metaphors, making the guide’s message crystal clear to young children. The vivid and expressive digital drawings by Reyes (Story Bird Dance and the Snowbird Ballet, 2016, etc.) also aid the audience because they deftly illustrate the tale’s plot and emotions. The principles in these pages are universal for anyone battling anxiety, and the workbook allows readers to personalize the story and become “the boss” of their bodies and brains. Parents of children plagued by anxiety should be especially grateful for this volume because of the understanding, tools, and hope that it offers.

An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

Pub Date: June 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-1882-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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