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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Kindness In A Scary World: A Children’s Book About Terrorism is a social issues picture book for children and their parents written by Rebecca J. Hubbard and illustrated by Becca Johnson. The author provides an introduction for parents to read before sharing the story with their children, as well as a guide that includes sections on how to discuss terrorist attacks; field questions about death and dying; and respond to a child’s questions about these issues. There’s also a comprehensive list of stress reactions to watch for in a child’s behavior and a list of resources for parents and children for dealing with trauma-related stress.
The story is about a little boy whose playtime with his cat, Taz, is abruptly shattered when he hears his parents screaming and shouting. When he runs downstairs, he sees them standing motionless before the television. Their faces show terror and sadness, and it feels to him like they’re in a scary movie. When he looks at the television screen, he sees blood, and people lying wounded, and others running in fear and panic. His parents’ reaction makes him realize that this is not a movie -- it’s real life, and those people are hurt. Why? What happened? His parents try to answer his question why terrorists do the things they do, and they explain how no one can really understand why they think terror will fix their problems. The little boy wants to know what he can do, and his parents explain that every good thing he does, every helpful action, helps to heal the world and make things better. It is the most each of us can do, and even the smallest thing has far-reaching results.
Rebecca J. Hubbard’s social issues picture book and guide for children and their parents, Kindness In A Scary World, addresses the ongoing violence children see happening throughout the world, and sometimes even in their schools. The material she offers for parents is an excellent resource for introducing a subject that no one should have to be exposed to, least of all children, and it does so in a way that works very well with the story line. Teaching children to see the interconnectedness of the world, and everyone in it, helps them to feel as though they can be part of the solution, a much better position to be in than to feel like a passive observer and a possible helpless victim of something inexplicable. Becca Johnson’s illustrations are masterful and do a great job of complementing the story and the emotional responses of the child and his parents. Kindness In A Scary World: A Children’s Book About Terrorism is most highly recommended for parents, caregivers and teachers.