Pilar's Worries

illus. by Jess Golden. 32p. Albert Whitman. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807565469.
Gr 1–3—Pilar loves to dance, but with auditions on the horizon, the child is racked with worries. She lets out a long breath and reminds herself that she knows all the steps to her favorite ballet. At school, Pilar is full of anxiety. A friend, Sebastian, notices her struggling with her emotions and reminds her to breathe. That night, Pilar begins to feel anxious again and her mother reminds her to breathe, do what she loves, and say positive phrases to herself. Pilar works to keep her worries from hampering her performance and she gets a part in the ballet. The illustrator, working in subdued watercolors, pastels, and pencil, creates a soothing backdrop to the overarching theme of chronic childhood anxiety. Pilar and her classmates are thoughtfully drawn with enough detail and expression that children should be able to identify with her as she goes about her daily routine at home and school. A note from the author on childhood worries and a few selected resources focusing on childhood mental health are appended. The story effectively illustrates Pilar's anxiety and the coping mechanisms she successfully uses to defuse it.
VERDICT A solid addition to help young readers develop empathy and resilience.

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