CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 2. . . .September 11, 2015
Nadia feels powerless when she sees her friend Shaun getting bullied by four other kids as he learns to ride his bike. Luckily, Shaun has the right attitude, and he doesnít let the words of the bullies stop him from trying. But Nadia still wants to get the bullies to stop. She has an idea to help Shaun, and so she gets her dad involved. As they all work together, Shaun learns a new skill, and Nadia learns a lesson in believing in herself.
Never Give Up is from the ďIím a Great Little KidĒ series which is designed to teach lessons in self esteem, confidence and communication. The book includes a story that shows a host of multicultural characters while focussing on everyday problems that kids have to face. At the end of the book, there are discussion points for grown ups as well as some tips to help adults foster positive self esteem in children. This page provides some simple instructions on building self esteem and is printed on a different type of paper so that it stands out as something apart from the story for kids.
The illustrations are subtle in their depiction of children from many different backgrounds. Nadiaís hijab is naturally part of her character, and itís refreshing to see a wealth of ethnicities depicted on the playground. Qin Lengís illustrations are active and show an excellent variety, sometimes spanning both pages of a spread and sometimes focussing in on the characters. The colours are vivid and eye catching and bring the story to life.
There is a simplicity to this book that makes it a great read. Itís not trying to be clever or tricky, and it never feels like the moral of the story is being pushed on the reader either. The story flows nicely from beginning to end, and I liked that there were two characters each facing a different problem: one the physical barrier of riding a bike, and the other an emotional turmoil over being a good friend. The interplay and resolution of these storylines make for a satisfying end to the book.
The text is a bit heavy at times and looks like large chunks on the pages which can be daunting, but, overall, Never Give Up is an excellent story for bedtime, and itís great for use for bigger conversations with kids about self esteem, bullying, and learning new things.
Stacey Matson is a writer and literacy programmer living in Vancouver, BC. She recently finished her MA in childrenís literature at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius, the first volume in the ďArthur Bean: Total GeniusĒ trilogy, published by Scholastic Canada.
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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.