An accessible and even fun book of useful prayers for the modern kid.

LORD HELP ME

INSPIRING PRAYERS FOR EVERY DAY

Routine activities are grounded in childlike faith demonstrated through everyday prayers and guileless optimism.

A brown-haired, beige-skinned girl with the first initial E, who readers might assume shares the name Emme with the 12-year-old author, takes them through a day of simple and sometimes profound prayers. She starts her day with prayers for the motivation to leave her warm, cozy bed, to get out the door on time, and to pay attention in school. E prays to develop her patience, honesty, gratitude, and self-discipline; she prays for her family, friends, and pets; and she even throws in a quick prayer for her favorite animal, the sloth. The author’s note reveals that the prayers were inspired by her own daily prayers and how the simple practice of praying throughout the day has brought peace. While the author may not be a household name, her parents (Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony) are, yet despite her famous family the book is endearingly down to earth. Figueroa’s cartoons depict E in a comfortable but fairly unremarkable suburban setting; readers will enjoy seeing E’s sloth-themed décor as well as dog Lady and bunnies Nibble and Skittles. The everyday activities that inspire E’s prayers are sure to resonate with many readers, as will the encouraging message to trust God with the small stuff. The full text of the traditional bedtime prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep” appears at the end. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.3% of actual size.)

An accessible and even fun book of useful prayers for the modern kid. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12008-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A useful primer for socioemotional growth.

I AM OKAY TO FEEL

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason “Rachel” Brown affirm that all feelings—even negative ones—are OK.

A round-faced boy with brown skin, big brown eyes, and a bright smile walks outside, talking with his dad about feelings. With the son’s speech printed in blue and Dad’s in black, the boy announces that he’s happy and shows it by jumping and spinning while Dad dances. The book’s palette, which often reflects the boy’s emotional state, shifts drastically when a thunderstorm blows in as the sky swirls with patterns in deep blue and purple, and a thick yellow lightning bolt blasts through—a dramatic scene that represents the boy’s perception of the turbulent weather as he sits on the ground crying, hugging his knees. Dad assures him that it’s all right to feel and express fear and helps him calm these negative emotions by encouraging him to stretch and breathe deeply. While the book’s lesson is conveyed in a slightly heavy-handed manner, it’s a good message, and readers will appreciate seeing a story that centers a Black father and son dispelling the stereotype that men and boys—especially those of color—don’t or shouldn’t express emotions. The backmatter includes an emotion wheel with the boy showing a range of facial expressions, accompanied by activities and questions. The acronym “FEEL OKAY” offers opportunities to practice discussing emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A useful primer for socioemotional growth. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63893-010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zando

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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