Nobody’s Perfect – Chapter Book

Nobody's Perfect104038626Nobody’s Perfect:  A Story for Children About Perfectionism

Ellen Flanagan Burns, author

Erica Pelton Villnave, illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, 2009

Suitable for:  Ages 8 and up

Themes:  Perfectionism, Making Mistakes, Doing Your Best

Synopsis“Sally Sanders is a perfectionist — if she can’t be the best, she feels like a failure.”  This is a Chapter Book and each chapter features Sally in variety of situations that seem more like a series of examples — a piano recital, school play, school project, volleyball and soccer — where her perfectionism prevents her from having fun.   But, there is a very strong message for children who feel that they aren’t good enough.  Gradually, Sally learns with the help of her teachers, friends and mother, that no one is perfect and making mistakes is part of growing up.

Why I like this book:  Children want  to feel successful.  No child wants to feel like a loser.  But, sometimes wanting to be the best can lead to perfectionism and require help from parents, teachers and counselors.  Children can become anxious, stressed and not want to attend school.  With the beginning of the school year, it would be a good time to share this book with your kids and let them know that you don’t expect them to be perfect with everything they do.  The author, Ellen Flanagan Burns is a psychologist and writes a lovely introduction to the book with suggestions.  She mentions her own problem with perfectionism as a child.  The illustrations by Erica Pelton Villnave are colorful and expressive and appear on every page.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

30 thoughts on “Nobody’s Perfect – Chapter Book

  1. So true, Pat. None of mine are quite that extreme, but I’ve got 2 who put a LOT of pressure on themselves. Expectations are so high for kids today. At the other end of the spectrum is the false encouragement – competitions where everybody gets a blue ribbon or a certificate of achievement regardless of whether they’ve really earned it just so they won’t feel bad about losing. But kids know the difference between something earned that really means something and empty words or gestures. It’s tough being a kid, and it’s tough being a parent. Books like this can be very helpful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • Susanna, it is true that expectations are high for kids today. Sometimes it is hard to sort out. Kids certainly want to succeed, but school, sports, parents and other outside influences exacerbate the situation. It’s tough for kids.

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  2. It looks like a really useful book for many kids – great review! It think a companion book for kids ages 5-8 would also be welcome, to help steer kids away from potential problems with perfectionist thinking.

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  3. As ever, Patricia, you have found a book that speaks to one of life’s crucial lessons. So many people suffer from an Addiction To Perfection, as they have never learned to shut out the inner voice that says, I’m not-good-enough! Thank You for your consistent messages, through these reviews, of compassion and respect for Self.

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  4. We’ve had a few kids in our life that have really grappled with this and we’ve been on the lookout for a good chapter book or picture book that deals with the issue. We also have “What To Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough” from Free Spirit Publishing in our shop which will make a nice companion to Nobody’s Perfect.

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  5. Wow! Another great fine Pat. I can imagine there are not many books in this genre. This looks very interesting and a great tool for teachers and parents to use and encourage children and deal with this issue. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Diane, glad you liked the selection. It’s an important topic and a big problems for children today. I think we all have a tad of perfectionism in us. It’s an important for kids to see parents make mistakes and laugh at themselves.

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  6. OH my, this is such a great topic to explore in a children’s book. My brother is a perfectionist and he can be intolerable at times. He will actually stop having fun to make sure that everything is just perfect in his environment. I think that it’s healthy to be competitive and to want to do a good job. However, it can go too far. Amazing pick today.

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    • Michael, glad you resonated with my selection today. I think we all have seen it in extremes. I have a family member who is extreme and it’s hard to be in his presence. And, I’m concerned that kids are under so much pressure to succeed at everything, that they don’t enjoy life.

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  7. As Michael has said, perfectionism can rob both adults and children of so many fun moments. This sounds like a great middle grade book addressing the issues. This sounds like a great addition for any school library, too.

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  8. What a wonderful theme for a book. I suffered terribly from perfectionism as a child and a book like this would have done wonders. This would be a great book to read with your child or grandchild followed by discussion. Thanks for the review Patricia.

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  9. I did aim to be perfect when I was a kid, too. Oh the stress and the fruitlessness of it all! (I’d thought doing everything right would make everyone like me more.) Sounds like a good book to share with an 8-year-old student of mine!

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    • Erik, listen to your parents. They are wise. Having to be the best can lead to a lot of stress. You seem very well-balanced. As you mature, you will find what you are truly passionate about. Right now just enjoy the things you do!

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  10. Sometimes, it’s fun to arrive later and read all the great comments. Lots of gems for me as a parent. Thanks for the recommendation and the discussion.

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  11. Another excellent and much-needed book. As a child, I often let my perfectionism defeat me, in a variety of ways. Often I didn’t try things in case I didn’t get them ‘right’ or I’d give up if my first attempt wasn’t just the way I wanted it. I missed out on so much, and put so much unnecessary pressure on myself. I’m sure this book would have helped me — and my parents.

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    • Beth, thanks for sharing your thoughtful commments. I was a very active child, but wouldn’t say I was a perfectionistic. Although I may be around some issues — especially when working and having a family. Only so many hours in the day. I think we can all identify wth this book — for me the piano recitals. Would love to see it in schools.

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    • Thank you Ruth. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. The cover speaks volumes. Too many children are perfectionistic and don’t feel they can make mistakes. That’s why I was happy to find this book.

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