Overcoming Summer Fears with Picture Books

Lynn: We love rides, water parks and roller coasters in my family, but it wasn’t always that way! I remember my twin grandsons as we stood in line for their very first “big” ride. Full of bravado, they got quieter and quieter as we got closer and closer to the ride, until it was even money whether they’d cut and run at the last minute. We coaxed them on, and they’re ride-loving maniacs now.

I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang

Anna Kang totally gets those first ride jitters! How I wish I’d had I Am (Not) Scared (2017) back then! A big bear and a little bear are standing in line for the Loop of Doom. When the big bear admits to being a little scared, little bear tells him there are much scarier things than this—like snakes, hairy spiders, and pits of hot lava. When the roller coaster car arrives, it comes complete with a snake passenger. Boarding the car (the one with the snake), the two agree to be scared together. After the ride, the bears agree it was scary—and, of course, hop on and ride it again, snake in tow. I so hope we see more of him in future books.

Kang uses simple vocabulary, large, dark lettering, and plenty of white space so young park-goers can read the book themselves. And Christopher Weyant’s illustrations are hilarious! He is a master at using simple lines with maximum expressive effect. Don’t miss the roller coaster scenes, since they prove that sometimes it is fun to be scared!

Cindy: Amusement parks aren’t the only places where summer fears must be faced; water can be scary, too. Perhaps you know some little ones who are still trying to step into the waves or take a dive into the pool. The two attractive picture books to follow are here to help before the summer fades into autumn (my biggest fear!!!).

Jabari Jumps (2017) by Gaia Cornwall features a young boy who uses some sly stalling tactics when he confronts his fear of taking a big jump off the diving board. It looked so easy from a distance, but up close, well. . . Perhaps he needs to think about what kind of special jump he wants to do. Jabari has a patient father and a baby sister who are willing to wait him out, then celebrate his success.

In There Might Be Lobsters (2017) by Carolyn Crimi, it is a dog named Suki who has a fear of water. Her girl, Eleanor, races to the beach and is ready to plunge into the waves, but Suki is hesitant even to take the boardwalk steps down to the sand. She has all sorts of worries and excuses. And the water? More excuses: There might even be lobsters! It takes losing her beloved stuffed monkey, Chunka Munka, in the surf for Suki to spring into action and face her fears. Love can move us all.




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

Post a Comment