Words and Your Heart

illus. by Kate Jane Neal. 40p. Feiwel & Friends. Dec. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250168726.
PreS-Gr 2—An empowering story that encourages readers to use their words to spread love and make their world a better place. It starts with a heart, or as the author describes it, "the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!" With signs, arrows, trees, and even fireworks, the two characters, a small line-drawn child and a striped cat, give readers a lesson about the words we use and how they affect others. Our words are powerful. They can be descriptive and informative. Some words make us feel amazing, but others, "can be like a deadly arrow that can pierce someone's heart." Words can hurt. The story closes with a request for readers to use their words to make others feel good, because if they do, "today, somebody's world can be a better place because of you!" With simple, repetitive text and dynamic line drawings, this book gives adults a gentle script to introduce ideas of kindness and empathy into conversations with younger children. The primarily black-and-white ink illustrations keep the focus on the message as the text itself is transformed into bold, page-filling creations. The question-and-answer format allows ample opportunity for one-on-one discussion, but the content could be equally useful for a classroom or library read-aloud.
VERDICT Recommended purchase for larger collections or wherever books on bullying and empathy are needed.

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