They Only See the Outside

Magination Pr. Mar. 2021. 64p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781433835193.
Gr 4-6–What is going on inside of your head? Is everything on full display? Dakos has written a collection of poems that challenges readers to go beyond the surface. Children may emote, or they may keep their thoughts inside, brewing, dwelling, seething, crying. The poems in this collection range in content from a child losing his dog to a student beginning the school year with a different mindset, from a girl who knows she needs to tell someone about something that happened to her to a boy questioning his dad about why he uses a wheelchair. The poems seek explanations, connections, and answers. They hold on to memories and look for solutions or ways to keep on going, like a boy remembering his grandmother and another child remembering his best friend who died before he reached 10 years old. Why do bad things happen? Are all hard things bad? The poems in this book will make connections for children and help them feel as though they are not alone. Reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, Oliver’s illustrations bring a tender relatability to the poems through their expressive simplicity. They complement them perfectly. These poems remind adults that children are so much more than they appear.
VERDICT Recommended for children’s collections and elementary classrooms. Teachers should have these poems at the ready to share as their students go through difficult times, or to help to build empathy.

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