kettlepot press

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By Kerri Monnerat, Olivia Chalkley, Saige Hopkins (Illustrator)

IR Rating:
An essential read for children and caregivers everywhere, AND is an excellent tool to help navigate difficult emotions during challenging times. No library, classroom, or home bookshelf would be complete without it.

Bobby helps his friend Milo, understand and manage the conflicting emotions the latter feels over going to summer camp.

Milo’s parents have signed him up for summer camp, but he is not happy. His friend Bobby can’t understand why. That is until he remembers his own first day at camp, as well as something his counselor Joe taught him there. Sharing this insight with Milo helps the latter understand how he can deal with conflicting feelings about an activity that should be exciting and fun.

AND, written by Kerri Monnerat and Olivia Chalkley, is a great resource for children of all ages and the adults taking care of them. It uses the power of the word “and” to build space for conflicting emotions and fosters the acceptance of flaws. This in turn helps to ease up on the pressure to be perfect and to always manage every situation with grace. Parents will instantly recognize their own children in the two main characters, and will be able to build on the knowledge this book provides to be more understanding of their little ones’ big feelings. Richly illustrated in a comic book format by Saige Hopkins, using bright colors and dynamic action to drive home critical points in the book’s manuscript, the drawings lend solid bodies to abstract emotions. The book ends with some exercises that can help families and class groups practice the skills outlined—and reflect on how the message applies to their everyday lives. Adults will also benefit from the shift in perspective this book provides, and will be able to use that as a base for a little internal housekeeping of their own. After all, even the most grown-up of grownups has a fussy little inner child tucked away somewhere.

AND does lose a few points for a lack of diversity. Most female or non-Caucasian characters appear as either vague shadows or as the back of a head. Finally, while not a huge issue, digital copies of the book must be properly formatted so that the beautiful landscape illustrations line up correctly and make sense. The reviewer’s copy did not do this, even with an adjustment to digital reader settings. While there’s nothing better than a physical book, digital mediums can do wonders for accessibility.

An essential read for children and caregivers everywhere, AND, written by Kerri Monnerat and Olivia Chalkley and illustrated by Saige Hopkins, is an excellent tool to help navigate difficult emotions during challenging times.

~Sakina Hassan for IndieReader

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