I wanna hold your hand: It’s easy, rewarding, and comforting.
Do it with younger siblings or parents…even a favorite stuffed toy. Hold hands when it makes good, practical, safety sense, as when you’re navigating a high, precarious staircase; crossing the street; standing on a bus because you don’t have a seat; or getting into the family car. Holding hands is great when you’re about to say goodbye to a parent or buddy; going off to school or to a friend’s house; and pairing up with a classmate, especially at a teacher’s direction. Have you held hands with a tree at the playground? Even the sun and moon do it! You know when it’s really great? When your mom kisses you. With gentle guidance, young readers will pick up on the broader message that hand-holding represents more than just tactile pleasure; it also embodies strong emotional connection, bonding, and inclusion. The latter concept is well-depicted in the colorful, cartoony illustrations of the smiling, bearlike protagonists and their fellow community members, who represent various animal species, colors, sizes, and shapes. In laptime, library, and classroom read-aloud sessions, encourage listeners to suggest other hand-holding scenarios. Additionally, all kids should be invited to hold hands while listening—and, crucially, given space not to if they don’t want, a principle that is missing from this book.
Engaging and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-6)