Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are

Children - Picture Book
38 Pages
Reviewed on 10/20/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are, written by Jodi Meltzer and illustrated by Jody King Camarra, is a children's picture book that follows the point of view of a young child who becomes enchanted by a bright star in the sky. The book begins with a fun day at the beach full of sand, swimming, and water sports. As the child and their mother are driving home, the exhaustion from an active day begins to settle in. The child then notices through the window that there is one star in particular that appears to be following them. When they ask why their mother says what the scientists have determined, but then surprises the child with her own theory of the star, what it represents, and how it—and those we have loved and lost—are present in our lives even when we are unable to see them all the time, or ever again.

Grief and loss is a particularly difficult topic to broach, but when it is a child that is faced with such heartbreaking circumstances it can really challenge an adult, particularly those who may be grieving themselves, to explain the loss to a child. Jodi Meltzer provides a beautiful point of view in Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are, weaving the concept of universal connection and creating a comforting link between the child in the story, their mother, and their loss. The wonder of the child in Meltzer's tale shines bright in the narration, which is enhanced through the imagery of Jody King Camarra. The illustrations took me a couple of pages to get on board with, but my youngest little reader loved them, which is all that really matters. As someone who lost their own mother at a very young age, this book also sparked an insightful conversation with my daughter, which was a moment we'd not really shared before as she listened to me talk about a grandmother she was never able to meet. This is, truly, a beautiful book and I would give it a whole bucket of stars if I could.

Marie-Hélène Fasquel

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are, written by Jodi Meltzer and beautifully illustrated by Jody King Camarra, is an admirable children's book that will not only entertain youngsters but also help them on the path of grief. The colorful and simple but extremely effective drawings perfectly complement the text.

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are is a story that will flawlessly assist children who have experienced loss, be it grandparents, family members, or simply pets. It is a lovely and entertaining book. The author uses repetition to make sure kids understand that the star will always be there like their beloved departed, whatever the child does. The mother creates a beautiful tale when she notices that her first scientific explanation is not accepted by her sensitive son. She understands that it does not correspond to what her son needs at that time. This mother gives so much love to her son to make him grow stronger and happier, even in heartbreak. Unfortunately, all children lose someone or a pet at one time or another and this is particularly difficult to bear.

Death is an abstract concept for kids and this adorable book will help them on their journey. This story is indeed a great lesson for all children and will probably become their favorite book. What the story is about is not only how to deal with loss but it is first and foremost about undying love, that of the beloved ones and that of a mum who is ready to do whatever it takes to make her child feel safe and happy. Thank you, Jodi Meltzer, for this amazing book!

Jon Michael Miller

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are by Jodi Meltzer, illustrated by Jody King Camarra, is a charming little story with a big meaning. It’s about remembering someone who has left us but whose spirit lives on within us. The little boy tells his own story about being at the beach and loving it and then seeing a star that seems to be following him. He asks his mom about it and she offers him a scientific explanation, but he thinks the star’s seeming to follow him is more than just a matter of distance perspective. But Mom suddenly becomes more whimsical and suggests it may be something else. We learn that the boy’s dad has gone away and is now a star watching over the boy, all the time, no matter what.

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are by Jodi Meltzer gives us a way to talk to our kids or grandkids about someone close to us who has died. The little boy in the story has lost his dad, and his mom tells him a star is his dad up above watching over him, even when he can’t see the star. I think the book will bring comfort to young kids, but even to parents and grandparents who often don’t know how to comfort children about the loss of a dear one. It’s educational too, explaining distance perspective and also improving vocabulary with words such as silence, wiggle, illuminating, refocused, scientist, and promise. There’s a repeated word “still” as an adverb, and a final rhyme with far and star. Oh, and the illustrations, Wow! Ms. Meltzer’s book is fun and memorable, just the soothing help a child might need to deal with the loneliness of loss.

Mamta Madhavan

The little boy had a good day at the beach and while driving back home with his mom, he thought of all the fun activities they did on the beach; boogie boarding, swimming, and, sandcastle building. As his eyes slowly started to close, he saw a star illuminating the night sky. The star was following him and he mentioned it to his mom. His mom told him the scientists explained it to be so because it was far away but mom told him she did not believe that theory of the scientists. She felt it was someone they loved looking out for them and letting them know they are still there. The little boy wondered if it could be Grammy Mimi or Orangina the cat. The boy asked a lot of questions about the star, and she patiently answered him, telling him that the star was always there in the sky, even though sometimes it would be hidden by the clouds or sometimes the sun's rays might block it.

Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are by Jodi Meltzer is an enchanting and whimsical story that will make children feel a connection with the ones they loved and lost. The 'I Remember' page at the end of the story will help them reflect and discover the connection they have with their lost ones. Jody King Camarra's bright and colorful illustrations are as magical and enthralling as the story and will make the story more captivating to readers. The book is good for parents and grandparents to use for bedtime storytelling and also for tutors to use in classrooms and school libraries for read-aloud and storytelling sessions to help their students deal with loss and grief.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Have you ever been in the car at night and notice a star following you? Scientists claim it’s because the star is so far away, it appears to be moving. But that’s really not the case. At least one little boy’s mother claims it’s more likely someone important, who is no longer living amongst us, who is following and keeping an eye on us, making us feel safe, protected, and loved. “I think the star that seems like it’s following you, the one you can’t keep your eyes off no matter how hard you try…I think it’s someone you love looking out for you, letting you know they’re still here, even if you can no longer see them.” This little boy’s mother suggests it might be the boy’s father or his grandmother. Beautiful thoughts – I’ll never look at a star the same again.

Jodi Meltzer’s picture book story, Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are, is a special story about seeing and believing and trusting that those you love, those no longer with you, are still watching out for you. The story is told in simple language, with simple, but colorful illustrations that will appeal to young readers. The plot develops gradually as the little boy observes the star, learns the scientific reason for the star following him, and then listens intently as his mother describes a completely unscientific belief. It’s a powerful story as the message is projected on how important it is, especially for children, to believe that those they have loved and lost are still with them and watching over them. And this is such a beautiful, compassionate way to share the message of undying love. Loved it!