This is a sweet story about a third-grader, Kayla, who has just started at a new school and struggles with social anxiety/shyness. Shy children and adults will both relate to Kayla’s fears and her struggle to make friends at her new school. The story provides children with a helpful technique to use in combatting social anxiety (or any kind of anxiety) – imagine the worst that can happen and then decide: how likely is that really? Throughout the story Kayla imagines various worst case scenarios and loses her courage as a result. Then she’s faced with the challenge of singing in front of a group of other children. She’s terrified at the prospect, but the prize is something she really wants for her younger brother, who has nonverbal autism, and with whom she shares a special relationship. She imagines a worst case scenario that’s so absurd it makes her laugh, and that helps her find the courage to reach out and make a new friend by asking, “Will you sing with me please?”
The illustrations are done in a bold colorful style and include a diverse cast of characters. The illustrator did a great job of adding to the emotional pull of the story with the characters’ facial expressions. This story is geared towards children ages 4 and up, with elementary school ages being the sweet spot.
*I was given a free PDF copy of this picture book in exchange for my honest review.