This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy.


This Dutch import pairs portraits with poetry to articulate wrenching individualism, yearning, humor, desires, and pathos.

Transfixing faces—mostly pale, all moon-shaped and with unsettlingly wide-set eyes—conjure mildly unnerving sensations in readers, who will seek to understand, empathize, or at least interpret their expressions. These faces aren’t posing or posturing; they’re flat on the page, laid bare. Older children and teens, in particular, keenly aware of feelings, faces, and masks, will dwell upon these ambiguous, baffling visages. Colmer’s sensitive translation emerges as crucial, as the pictures’ powerful poignancy begs for explanation. Voiced in the first person, one of Tellegen’s poems appears opposite each portrait, expressing the characters’ deeply personal wishes and ringing with their unique phrasing and particular timbre. “I wish happiness was a thing and I / found it somewhere and took it home with me,” confides Carl, one of the book’s few kids of color. Piero, a white boy, grumbles, “I would like first of all to express my sincere thanks / to whoever gave me my looks. / I mean: IN-sincere. / Because I look horrible.” The kids’ names are printed close to the book’s gutter, bridging language and art. These many portraits and poems beg to be leafed through and read in several sittings, as they house too much emotional energy to digest in one read.

This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy. (Picture book/poetry. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-939810-32-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Facile pop-psychology from a clinical psychologist with the credentials to know better. Assigning a chapter each to a select range of feelings—nearly all of them painful or negative ones, such as guilt, fear or anger, with but one shorter chapter allotted to the likes of love and joy—Lamia offers generalizations about what emotional responses look and feel like, typical circumstances that might cause them to arise and superficial insights (“Negative or worried thoughts spoil a good mood”). She also offers bland palliative suggestions (“Forgive yourself and move on”), self-quizzes, sound-bite comments in the margins from young people and, in colored boxes labeled “Psych Notes,” relevant research abstracts from cited but hard-to-obtain professional sources. Aside from a mildly discouraging view of “Infatuation,” she isn’t judgmental or prescriptive, but her overview is so cursory that she skips the stages of grief, makes no distinction between disgust and contempt and barely takes notice of depression. Teens and preteens might come away slightly more self-aware, but they won’t find either motivation or tools to help them cope with major upset. (Self-help. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4338-0890-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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Restorative justice is slippery in both philosophy and practice; Peters gives readers the tools to begin to think critically...



An overarching look at an alternative approach to punishment.

The swirl of emotions that surround both the victim and perpetrator of a crime makes the institutionalized justice system an incredibly complicated process. Peters attempts to untangle the parts and tease out reasons as to why restorative justice may be a better method to help individuals and communities heal. At a mere six chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion, this seems barely enough to scratch the surface, but Peters offers a solid foundation. She briefly describes a history of law-making in many different cultures and also delves into thorny issues surrounding restorative justice, such as empathy and forgiveness under the hardest of circumstances. Most penetrating, however, are the stories of real-life young conflict-resolution leaders. Children and teens from around the world have formed organizations to help their communities live in peace. Simple red and yellow boxed headings, along with bold, full-page woodcut illustrations, make for arresting design, but no photographs of the incredible young leaders are included. This leads to a distant, impersonal connection rather than an impassioned, inspirational one.

Restorative justice is slippery in both philosophy and practice; Peters gives readers the tools to begin to think critically about their own roles in resolving conflicts both large and small. (glossary, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55451-810-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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