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Nothing to Fear

by Dominique Okonkwo ; illustrated by Mariana Hnatenko

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-73738-230-0
Publisher: Okonkwo Press, LLC

In this debut picture book, a young boy fears the shadows and shapes in his dark house until his father comforts him.

When Obi’s mother forgets to turn on his night light, the house seems very dark and scary. A light inside the boy’s closet convinces him there are monsters inside. After Obi goes into the hall to call for his mother, the shadows chase him back under the covers. Thumping on the stairs makes Obi think that a giant is after him. Luckily, Daddy comes in to soothe his nerves and shows him there’s nothing to fear. Daddy also tells him: “Even though you were scared, you were super brave!” Obi goes to sleep feeling super but glad Daddy turned on his night light. A family prayer, verses of Scripture, and conversation prompts close out the end pages. In this fun tale, Okonkwo writes in simple sentences broken into paragraphs that frequently feature internal rhymes (bed, forehead, said). A few more challenging vocabulary words (mysterious, imagination) make this story appropriate for emergent readers, especially those who still get nervous in the dark. Obi’s understandable fears and growing confidence should comfort children who have had similar experiences. Veteran artist Hnatenko’s soft-edged images centering on an African American family capture Obi’s anxieties while showing how his imagination created the monsters. (One small, friendly-looking monster, which Obi has been drawing in art posted on his wall, shows up in the end pages.)

An engaging family tale with eye-catching illustrations.