FICTION

The Buddy Bench

Tilbury House. Aug. 2019. 36p. illus. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780884486978.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 2–This story shows a variety of children at recess who choose to stay on the sidelines until another child asks them to join the group. Gabe holds back because his leg is in a cast, Emma is self-conscious about her clothes, Sloan is shy, Cooper stutters, Lilly isn’t good at games, Jerome feels small and unaccepted, and Will is new\. Jake invites a child no one notices to play; this causes a ripple effect. This child invites another child on the outside of the group to join in. Lively and colorful cartoon illustrations work well with the text and encourage imagination and also help lighten the mood. After recess, the children approach the Buddy Bench in order to wordlessly express wanting to play when feeling sad, shy, or proud and not knowing how to join in. Two pages at the back of the book describe the history behind the Buddy Bench, suggestions for starting a Buddy Bench, and list resources for more information.
VERDICT This is a must-have addition to school and public libraries. It promotes kindness and inclusion in a way that will appeal to children and can be used by teachers to promote emotional intelligence in their classes

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