Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘childhood-fears’

My Beautiful Birds is “both fascinating and heart-breaking” says The Crimson Review of Children’s & YA Literature

Posted on September 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: My Beautiful Birds Author: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press“This refugee experience, written from the unique perspective of a small boy, is both fascinating and heart-breaking. While the story is lovely, the real successes are the polymer clay illustrations, done by the author. They are brightly colored, have wonderful detail and give the story some nice texture. This book is relevant and lovely, and is an excellent book to teach children about being a refugee.”
Reviewed by Lindsay Davis

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I Read Kids’ Books Journal says My Beautiful Birds “inspire[s] empathy and understanding…for young readers”

Posted on September 6th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: My Beautiful Birds Author: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press“There is a fine line to walk when writing for children about the horror and deprivation of war, especially when that story is about a child of the same age. The author needs to inspire empathy and understanding without causing anxiety for the young readers. In My Beautiful Birds, Del Rizzo has done a masterful job of straddling that line and in doing so has not only given a beautiful story, but also a teachable moment for kids ages 4-10….

I am not even going to be shy about admitting that I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I simply judged this book as ‘need to read’ by the positively stunning artwork on the cover, art that has been perfectly described as dimensional illustrations. I am fond of using a euphemism for ‘leaping off the page’ when it comes to talking about art in children’s books, but that is such pale terminology for what this book offers. If there were no text to tell the reader what is happening in the story, the reader would still be pulled in to Sammi’s world; Birds fly, the smell of smoke fills the air, you can feel the grit of the sand and the hear the rasping of canvas tents. Sammi’s fears and hopes have been rendered in infinite detail with this beautifully textured sculpted art.

The war in Syria and other parts of the world are in the news almost nightly. In addition to being a wonderful story, this book can also be a tool to explain to little ones about the war and the people it affects. It is told in a way that is completely accessible to kids and adults alike….

I am looking forward to Del Rizzo’s latest release, in the fall, A World of Kindness.”

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Literacious calls Small Things “A truly powerful story”

Posted on September 4th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Small Things Author: Mel Tregonning Publisher: Pajama PressPersonal Reaction: This is an extremely powerful, wordless graphic novel about the anxiety and worry that affects one little boy and yet is so universal in its imagery. I think this would make a powerful addition to an older elementary and even middle school classroom and would be a great conversation starter for a class, book discussion or even one-on-one about anxiety, expectations, and self care….A truly powerful story that will resonate with many.”

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Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “demonstrates that children have enormous potential to learn coping strategies for all manner of fears and anxieties” praises CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on May 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“…Ben and the Scaredy-Dog solidifies the boy’s place in guiding those in preschool and kindergarten to understanding more about the big world of siblings, change, friendships and dogs….

Sarah Ellis demonstrates that children have enormous potential to learn coping strategies for all manner of fears and anxieties. Ben’s fear of dogs is valid, especially for very little children and very big dogs, but by comparing how Ben’s siblings see dogs–Robin sees their playfulness, Joe sees them as loving creatures–with how the little boy sees them–‘When Ben looks at a dog he sees jaws and teeth. That’s a dog to Ben. Jaws and teeth.’–Sarah Ellis legitimizes all perspectives. Even the baby-steps approach to dealing with Max lends credence to the ability for children to learn how to cope while trying a multitude of strategies, including self-talk and mindfulness.

I love Kim La Fave’s illustrations of Ben and company. His emphasis on perspective–looking up from a child’s point of view and at their eye-level–encourages empathy for Ben’s distress and concerns. Even with the bright colours of the kids’ clothing and Max’s soft expressions, Ben’s fear is validated. But, with that lightness of line and colour, Kim La Fave pulls together Ben’s thoughtful personality, Erv’s playful exuberance and Max’s big puppy nature.

It’s nice to know, courtesy of Ben and the Scaredy-Dog, that anyone can be scaredy-dog about something and that it can be lightened with a little help from inside and out.”

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School Library Journal calls Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “compassionate” and “warmhearted”

Posted on May 3rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“Emphasized in thick, crayonlike outlines, the soft, cartoon illustrations add comfort and charm to this encouraging, gentle narrative about a common childhood fear. VERDICT This compassionate story may ease some anxiety in young children who are nervous or fearful around dogs. A warmhearted addition to Ellis and LaFave’s books about Ben.”

Read the full review in the May 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “offers a surprising perspective on overcoming one’s fears” says Resource Links Magazine

Posted on April 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“Rating: E…Ben and the Scaredy-Dog offers a surprising perspective on overcoming one’s fears. As we see Ben be brave we also see another character overcome his own fears.

Readers of all ages will enjoy this relatable and fresh story constructed in short, effective prose….La Fave’s colourful yet airy illustrations depict diverse characters and allow for the readers’ own experiences and imagination to fill in the setting. A fun read!

Thematic Links: Fear in Children; Fear in Animals; Dogs; Animals; Friendship; Bravery; New Experiences”
—Ana Malespin

Read the full review on page 4 of the April 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine for “provid[ing] a great example of overcoming a fear”

Posted on April 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

BenScaredyDog_Shadow_Website“When new neighbours move in across the street, Ben is interested in meeting what could possibly be a new friend. But one thing is stopping him: his fear of dogs….Kim LaFave is an illustrator with a focus of paint, pencil and digital media. His images in Ben and the Scaredy-Dog are beautiful. The feelings of fear and uneasiness are clearly depicted on Ben’s face. The illustrations, by also showing body language, add another element to the story.

Apprehension, fear and anxiety are normal feelings. A fear of dogs is common, but learning to cope with this fear is very important. Ben’s bravery is to be commended, and he provides a great example of overcoming a fear.

Every child has a fear, but how they learn to cope and deal with it is the important thing. Ben and the Scaredy-Dog will contribute greatly to story times in the library, classroom or at home. Highly Recommended.
—Courtney Crocker, Regional Librarian for Central Division with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries

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Booklist says Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “will have broad appeal for young children”

Posted on April 5th, 2018 by pajamapress

BenScaredyDog_Shadow_Website“When Ben meets Erv, the new kid across the street, he likes her right away, but her hefty pet, Max, triggers his fears: ‘Big dog. Big jaws. Big teeth.’…This picture book dovetails nicely with the anxiety theme in Ben Overnight (2005) as well as events in Ben Says Goodbye (2016)…The precisely worded text uses dialogue well while revealing Ben’s thoughts through the concise narration. The artwork expresses Ben’s emotions with finesse and captures the story’s gentle humor. A fine read-aloud choice, this Canadian picture book will have broad appeal for young children.”
—Carolyn Phelan

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Kirkus Reviews calls Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “another successful outing in a winning series”

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

BenScaredyDog_Shadow_Website“Ben’s fear of dogs is sensitively portrayed in a text that skillfully interweaves exposition, questions, and dialogue, with Ben’s internal musings set in italics. Amusing illustrations in watercolor and ink make effective use of heavy outlines and copious white space for a clean, contemporary look. Another successful outing in a winning series, with lots of room for more adventures for Ben and his new friends Erv and Max.”

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