Stardust by Jeanne Willis

Stardust

Jeanne Willis, Author

Briony May Smith, Illustrator

Nosy Crow (Imprint of Candlewick), Fiction, Feb. 12, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 2-5

Themes: Siblings, Self-esteem, Multigenerational relationships, Being true to yourself

Opening: “When I was little, I wanted to be a star. My sister was a star. Everybody said so. But nobody said it to me.”

Book Synopsis:

A little girl dreams of being a star, but no matter what she does — finding Mom’s lost wedding ring,  winning a costume prize, or knitting a perfect scarf — her big sister always shines brighter. Then, one night, the girl gazes up at the sky with her grandfather.  He tells her about the Big Bang theory and how everything and everyone is made of stardust, so we all shine in different ways.

Why I like this book:

This quiet book would make an excellent read-aloud before bedtime. The narrative has a lovely rhythm and it speaks to the core of a child’s insecurity of feeling overshadowed by an older sibling. I enjoyed the relationship between the grandfather and his granddaughter.  The illustrations are stunning and compliment the storyline. They also depict how diverse we all are as humans. I love the ending where readers will discover the girl does shine in her own special way. This is a great family discussion book as it encourages siblings to share their insecurities and their dreams.

Resources: Read the book to children. Ask each child to say what they like about each a sibling or classmate  — what makes them shine. Or ask each child to draw a picture about what they dream about and what makes them shine.

Jeanne Willis wrote her first book when she was five. After that, there was no turning back. She has since written more than three hundred books and has won several awards, which are arranged in the attic where she works along with her collection of caterpillars, pink-toed tarantula skins, and live locusts. Jeanne Willis lives in London.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by publisher.

Unstoppable Me! and No Excuses! Mental Health Awareness Month

Unstoppable Me!  10 Ways to Soar Through Life, is written by Dr. Wayne Dyer, with Kristina Tracy, and is published by Hay House, Inc.   The illustrations by Stacy Heller Budnick, are colorful and enchanting.  Although Dr. Dyer would like the concepts in his books introduced to children as early as two years of age, I believe kids ages  4 to 8 years, benefit most– and parents.  This book is based on Dr. Dyer’s adult book What Do You Really Want for Your Children?

Dr. Dyer has effectively used rhyme in a fun way to communicate the 10 concepts in his book.   It is a heartwarming  book that encourages kids to become the most that they can be.    He begins with “You’re great-no matter what,  persistence pays off, welcome to the unknown, you have a choice, farewell to worry, peace begins with you, enjoy the here-and-now, healthy me, creativity is the key, and what can you give.”    Dyer’s messages build such positive self-esteem for children, in ways that a child will easily and eagerly understand.  For example he says, “change is a good thing and if you embrace it instead of fear it, life will always be an adventure.”    His challenge to children is to think about what “you can give and not what you can get.”   At the end of the book is a very important section where children and parents can answer questions about how they might handle a situation.  A great way for a parent to learn about what is on their child’s mind. 

No Excuses!: How What You Can Say Can Get in Your Way  is another book written by Dr. Wayne Dyer with Kristina Tracy and illustrated by Stacy Heller Budnick.  It is for children 4 to 8 years of age. 

This is a  story about a boy who loves turtles and wants to become a marine biologist,  but isn’t supported and encouraged by those around him.  He begins to doubt himself  and gives up on his dream saying  “I’m not smart enough…it’s too hard…it will take too long and cost too much .”   While visiting an aquarium, the boy meets a marine biologist who changes his life,  and gives him the first encouragement he needs to begin to work through his excuses and gain self-confidence.  This book delivers a  powerful message.  It’s well-suited for parents and teachers to use with children, to help them name the excuses they make that prevent them from reaching their full potential.  As with all Dr. Dyer’s books, there is a list and a quiz at the end where kids can discuss whether a sentence is an excuse.

I believe we are undergoing a major paradigm shift in how we teach our children.  Children are so open and receptive to new thoughts and ideas.  Dr. Dyer’s book would be great tools for teachers to use with pre-schoolers through elementary.   After giving this more thought, it would be good for parents to start introducing his books at age two, and continue to read them repeatedly through elementary school.   What better way to affirm your child’s greatness, encourage possibility and reach their full potential.

Incredible You!

Dr. Wayne Dyer’s picture book “Incredible You,” is an uplifting, feel good about yourself picture book that helps children explore the 10 ways to let your greatness shine through. The book illustrations by Melanie Siegel, are bold and colorful.

Everything is possible in the hearts and minds of a child. That is what makes this the perfect book to boost a child’s self-esteem. Dr. Dyer, “believes that you cannot start early enough to teach the essential lessons for living a successful and peaceful life.”

Parents can introduce their children to 10 concepts that include: share the good, find what you love, find a quiet place inside, make today great, take care of yourself, everyone is special, especially you and many more. Each idea is presented very simply and is numbered. At the end, Dr. Dyer, has a list of questions related to each idea, where parents and teachers can help the child relate in his//her own special way.

This is a beautiful book filled with love, insight and purpose. It’s a simple message that kids will get.

It is Dr. Dyer’s wish that “these precious souls close the book and feel that nothing is impossible for them.” “It would be even more thrilling for me if this becomes the book they choose each night.”

The first week of May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, declared by the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. This week emphasized the importance of family and youth involvement in the children’s mental health movement.  National Mental Health Month will run through May.