A beneficial book for grieving families and a must-have for youth counselors.


Debut author and illustrator Mostert offers a comforting and practical guide for children who have lost someone they loved.

The author employs a child-friendly tone to provide youngsters with an overview of what they can expect as they grieve. The book opens with general, relatable advice for those who may be feeling lost and alone in their pain. Mostert’s pages are filled with heartfelt guidance such as “It will still hurt after weeks and months and years, but it won’t hurt the same way. Some of the sting will be gone, and some of the hurt will be replaced with a warm feeling of memory.” The author also offers introductory coping strategies for children struggling to process their emotions, such as making a list of reasons why the person was loved and sharing it with friends and family. It also introduces kids to other concepts, such as psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ well-known five stages of grief. These resources and strategies will help kids understand that they’re not alone and that they’ll find support from others. Mostert’s accessible tone and often sad but relatable illustrations will help young readers as they begin their grief process. The most beneficial aspects of the work are the repetition of the phrase “That’s okay” and the idea that various reactions are “normal.” The ongoing affirmation that strong, shifting emotions are healthy parts of a recovery process will help readers to accept them. It’s worth noting that Mostert’s approach to the discussion of death is one that emphasizes finality and acceptance, and although the book does discuss the benefits of prayer, it makes no mention of heaven. Families or school counselors who wish to offer that possibility will need to supplement the book with other materials or additional discussion.

A beneficial book for grieving families and a must-have for youth counselors.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-990997-48-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Anvil Press

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2021

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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