Swinging for Joy

London Learns

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Aishah was born in Queens, New York but spent her teen and adult years in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in diverse communities influences her writing and fuels her passion for uplifting and empowering children. Aishah’s children’s books include themes of kindness, hope, and overcoming challenges. When she isn’t writing, Aishah works as a project manager, watches suspense movies, and spends time with her family. Swinging for Joy is Aishah’s first published children’s book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathy Golden for Readers' Favorite

Swinging for Joy by Aishah Hight is such a wonderful story, especially the part where London confides in her dog, Joy. If you have ever had a pet or have one at present, you can relate to this kind of communication. You understand how pets pick up so much of what we feel and how they love us and want us to feel better. More than that, just confiding in someone whom we know is truly listening and truly concerned provides unique comfort. Experiencing the genuineness of this interaction makes this encounter in tune with real-life experiences.

The story captured my attention as soon as I saw London and Joy swinging together. This image, like all the ones to follow, is bold and colorful, and the print is large enough to perfectly complement the images. I really enjoy children’s books set up this way. This format allows me, as a reader, to take in the scene and the text at the same time, as opposed to having to read the prose and then flip to the next page for a related image. The illustrations by Whimsical Designs CJ do indeed give the story the visual appeal that draws readers right in. Swinging for Joy by Aishah Hight contains a beautiful kind of magic that only requires a close personal bond between London and Joy for it to make wishes come true. I won’t give that part away, but I will say that how this part of the story unfolds makes you want to see the book made into a little movie or series of movies, where you can regularly spend time with London and Joy. Thank you, Aishah Hight, for your engaging children’s book.

Philip Van Heusen

Swinging for Joy by Aishah Hight is a sweet little children’s book that packs several big messages. London’s dog, Joy, loves to swing, help others, and grant wishes. Joy is blind, but she does not let that stop her. Together, Joy and London meet a sad young boy that needs help. He has lost his grandfather’s special hat. So the three of them set out to find the hat that had blown away and disappeared. What made the hat so special? Why was the boy so sad? How can a blind dog help anyone? These and many other questions are answered in this book. Your child will love the results and learning about helping others. They will be encouraged to be empathetic, kind, and helpful. This book teaches children many important life values.

Reading serves many purposes, and Swinging for Joy highlights several. Reading this book with your child opens the door for several discussions, including how they can help others. It also shows the ability of those who are differently-abled. In this case, it is a differently-abled dog. Still, the story shows that even those who are different are important and capable. The book also teaches that instead of whining about our own problems, it is better to help someone else with their problems. Finally, friendships are important, and the author, Aishah Hight, shows that helping others can often develop into friendship. The hat is from the boy’s great-grandfather, a Tuskegee Airman. Be sure to discuss with your child the importance of these brave men. Enjoy reading this book and looking at the illustrations by Whimsical Designs Cj.

Asher Syed

Swinging for Joy, written by Aishah Hight and illustrated by Whimsical Designs by CJ, is a children's picture book and part of the London Learns series. The book begins with an introduction to a little girl named London and her dog Joy, who are described as loving to visit the park and play on the swing set. Joy is a pup with the gift of true empathy and London can confide in her when she is down, and rely on her when she is in need. On one particular day at the park, they come across a young boy who is crying over the loss of a special hat. They discover that Joy is blind but her other senses are strong and the search for the hat begins in earnest, and it is eventually found with Joy’s help.

Swinging for Joy is a cute story that emphasizes the power of a positive outlook to achieve a positive outcome, and the importance of believing in oneself and the goodness of others who might not immediately seem like they can help. London and Joy are wonderful characters and Aishah Hight does well in making the theme clear. Some awkward prose and dialogue tags can slow a young reader down, but the story is engrossing enough to keep the pages turning. The stars of most children's picture books are usually the illustrations themselves, and Whimsical Designs by Cj has crafted gorgeous, captivating artwork that breathes life into the story with stunningly jeweled tones. The shadowing and gradients of color have a luminous, almost watercolor quality to them and are first-rate. Also, as a man of color raising children of color, having characters in a story that resemble those in my home is a major plus. Overall, this is a story that was enjoyable as part of the bedtime routine. I recommended Swinging for Joy to all readers with children.