In this picture book/memoir, a girl learns to replace thoughts that keep her unhappy with better ones.
From birth, a girl is “born with glue in her brain,” meaning that certain thoughts seem to get stuck in her head even when she’s trying to focus on activities like sports. Other children notice, too: “We’re in gym class, not daydreaming 101!” says an annoyed soccer player. The girl is too embarrassed to tell anyone about her problem, which becomes very tiring over the years. When she’s older, the girl tries solutions that don’t work, such as drinking, painting, yoga, and praying. But the repetitive thoughts remain stuck in her head. Hearing of a specialist who might help her, she goes to see him. The specialist explains that she has Glue Brain, in which some half-dozen thoughts are stuck, such as “I can’t do it,” “I’ll never get what I want,” and “No one wants to be near me.” He suggests a thought transplant, sticking new thoughts over the old. These new thoughts could be, for example, “I can do it” or “I love my ideas, and I’m excited to share them.” When the girl tries this method, she feels happier, finds that she can help others, and discovers that “New thoughts really do create new experiences!” In this book for ages 10+, Kane (Feed It to the Worms, 2019, etc.) takes techniques familiar from treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and distills them to an elegant form that a broad range of readers can understand and use. The story is greatly aided by the author’s appealing, pared-down illustrations of a diverse cast in a palette mainly featuring ochre yellow, brown, and red shades. When the girl starts practicing her new thoughts, the palette enlivens the tale, as with a grocery store filled with multicolored bright fruit and a floor of deep, calming blue. While the clean line drawings are minimal, they express much. For example, to show how the girl’s thoughts persist over time, an image depicts younger to older versions of the character, each holding identical phones connected by a curly cord.
A beautifully illustrated guide to replacing negative thoughts with life-affirming messages.