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THE TRUEST HEART

A STORY TO SHARE TO OVERCOME BULLYING, BUILD SELF-ESTEEM, AND CREATE SELF-CONFIDENCE

A well-written, useful process for children dealing with bullies.

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When a classmate hurts a little girl’s feelings, her teacher puts things in perspective in this debut picture book.

Ze, a cheerful brown-skinned girl, loves soccer, art, and math. But one day, a classmate says something mean to Ze, “the worst thing ever,” leaving the girl curled up on the floor, crying. Her teacher, Miss Work, comforts her; she acknowledges Ze’s wounded feelings, saying they’re part of life, although you don’t have to let people hurt you either. Writing down positive statements about Ze like “I know I am creative,” the teacher attaches them to a cutout heart. By remembering these truths, Ze can make her heart strong, brave, and dependable, says Miss Work: “Wrap your sadness with it. It will help you feel better.” The girl’s heart becomes so mighty that when a student cries from bruised feelings, Ze can console her. In her story, Sbarboro offers a practical approach to bullying. Affirmations can help strengthen self-esteem as well as providing a constructive activity rather than merely depending on “don’t bully” messages. And Ze doesn’t have to do anything extraordinary to earn good treatment, as in many kids’ books. The illustrations by Leach (Mommy, Please Don’t Go to Work!, 2018, etc.) depict a diverse classroom, combining mostly flat colors with scribbly scrawls that deftly express emotions.

A well-written, useful process for children dealing with bullies.

Pub Date: July 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9992420-0-1

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Montgomery Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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