All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new interest to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too, like in today’s story.
So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. It’s so important to prevent that summer slide with our kids, so I hope you can use these books to keep them reading and learning all summer long. See all the posts, HERE.
By: Ann Bonwill
Illustrated by: Kayla Harren
Published: June 1, 2022
Publisher: Two Lions
Children going through a parents’ divorce, a separation, or even the death of someone they love can find validation of feelings and hope in the new children’s book, THURSDAY. Told from the perspective of a stuffed unicorn, a young girl struggles with the divorce of her parents. What made it especially difficult is that she found out about the impending divorce on her favorite day of the week, Thursday. Now Thursday was no longer her favorite day of the week.
After finding out some of the most devasting news, her mood is suddenly lifted by finding a stuffed unicorn. She and the stuffed unicorn do all kinds of fun things like playing outside, going to the carnival, or going to the aquarium. Having fun with the unicorn means she doesn’t have to think about the sadness she feels about having to move and go between two houses.
I love how the color scheme and illustrations show the happiness and then the sadness on the pages. Without even reading the words, children will understand the emotions as she realizes the home she knows will no longer exist and now she will have two homes. I also appreciated the choice in using a diverse family in the story which can also help kids identify with the character.
Even though this story mainly touches on a child going through her parents’ divorce, I think her feelings of loss and fear of the future are valid for a number of sad or traumatic events. Teachers, school counselors, therapists, and libraries would benefit from having this book on their shelves. If you know of a family in a situation of loss, I highly recommend this lovely book that validates the feelings of sadness and eventually hope in finding joy in a new way of living but also the reassurance that she is still very much loved by both of her parents.
Ann Bonwill grew up in Maryland surrounded by books. Before becoming an author, Ann worked as a clinical social worker, a Montessori teacher, and an autism therapist. She is the author of multiple picture books and nonfiction books for children, including When Mermaids Sleep, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, and I Am Not a Copycat!, illustrated by Simon Rickerty. Ann has lived in many places, from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Frankfurt, Germany. She currently lives in Virginia with her family. Learn more at www.annbonwill.com.
Kayla Harren is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a BFA in illustration. She’s an award-winning illustrator of multiple picture books, including A Boy Like You, written by Frank Murphy, and The Boy Who Grew a Forest, written by Sophia Gholz, among other titles. Her work has been featured in the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, and 3×3 Magazine, and she won the Highlights for Children Pewter Plate Award. She lives in Minnesota with her family. Learn more at www.kaylaharren.com.