CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 3 . . . . September 30, 2005
Maggie's father arrives late to her eighth birthday party, drops the cake and then falls asleep before she opens her presents. At school the next day, her friends whisper about her father’s being drunk. Maggie confides in a trusted teacher who explains, "Some people who drink too much can't stop and end up saying and doing things that really hurt people they love." Through family counseling and open discussion, Maggie comes to understand that her father's drinking is not her fault.
The story is told from Maggie's point of view, in child-appropriate language. She worries that she is the cause of her parents’ arguments and is concerned that when she grows up she might also have a problem with alcohol. Maggie's father seeks counseling and works very hard to deal with his alcoholism, but he has setbacks. The ending is hopeful, but realistic: "I know it will be really hard for him to stop drinking forever. There will probably be more ups and downs." Maggie is resilient, and with the warmth and support of her family, she knows "it's not my problem to figure out. I'll stick to figuring out math."
As the book was produced by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), many health professionals as well as families with first-hand knowledge offered input on the text and illustrations. For children who feel that their "family is different," this title encourages discussion. Ben Hodson's watercolor illustrations depict a contemporary, diverse community. An "Information for Adults" page offers suggestions on how to talk about substance abuse issues with children. An "Information for Kids" page provides young readers with a list of "people you can talk to," including the phone number for a Canadian Kids Help Line.
Well-written and engaging, Wishes and Worries is a good addition to bibliotherapy collections.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.