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The Picture Book Buzz

You Are Your Strong - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Learning to handle negative emotions can be a lifetime challenge for some of us. It is even harder for kids who have less experience and coping skills. Where everything is so intense, immediate, and important.

Providing kids with the skills to understand and cope with these emotions can feel daunting at times. Fortunately, there are numerous books, games, and activities that can help kids create empathy for each other and for themselves; helping them develop strong self-esteem and an internal strength. This week's #PPBF is just such a book.

You Are Your Strong

Author: Danielle Dufayet

Illustrator: Jennifer Zivoin

Publisher: Magination Press (2019)

Ages: 4-8



Self-esteem, emotions, and internal strength


Soothing and empowering, You Are Your Strong reassures kids that they can handle big emotions and highlights the benefit of developing inner strength and confidence in oneself. With diverse characters and scenes featuring a range of different family relationships—from parents, to grandparents, to an older sister in the military—this book shows kids that they will have help along the way to being strong and in control. Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers by Julia Martin Burch, PhD, with advice for building skills to navigate and cope with big emotions.

Opening Lines:

When puppy's woofs turn into whimpers,

WORRY whispers in my ears.

Momma puts her arms around me and tells me

everything will be OK. Her CALM becomes my inner

strength, my Strong. And Worry washes away.

What I liked about this book:

What's not to like about a gold, shiny cover? It, and the celebratory poses of the children, immediately captured my attention. I couldn't wait to read it.

Danielle and Jennifer do a great job of capturing realistic moments in a child's life that produce strong emotions of worry (an injured pet), fear (crashing waves), sadness (a lost stuffed friend), and anger (blocks knocked over). In each instance, an adult tenderly models and shares calmness, bravery, love, and gentleness, helping each child find their inner strength.

One of my favorite of these moments accompanies the line: "Grandma's LOVE becomes my Strong and Sad fades away."

Text © Danielle Dufayet, 2019. Image © Jennifer Zivoin, 2019.

The rain dripping down the window mirrors the tears of the small boy and the loving glow on Grandma's face rivals the sun glittering through the window. There is so much heartbreak and love wrapped into the simple text and image.

After telling the reader "You are more than just your feelings," these kids demonstrate their abilities to find their inner strength on their own; providing examples of a couple of strategies. Such as "breathing blue," creating a funny story," or drawing. With each child listing multiple ways to find their Strong, the book provides guidance instead of a recipe.

Text © Danielle Dufayet, 2019. Image © Jennifer Zivoin, 2019.

So, who wouldn't fall in love with this little girl's method of overcoming fear? Now, if only a "rat-a-tap-tap" would work on everything we feared.

Once you discover your Strong, the book encourages the reader to "help others find their Strong. Sharing Strong makes it grow." The jubilant roar of the children captures this sentiment beautifully.

Text © Danielle Dufayet, 2019. Image © Jennifer Zivoin, 2019.

Overall, this is a great book for helping kids understand their emotions, learn strategies to calm themselves and nurture their inner strength, and build a bit of empathy for others. The accompanying note from an anxiety specialist provides guidance for teachers and parents in helping develop a child's coping skills. The diversity of the characters helps provide not only a window, but a mirror for kids.


- try some of these activities to explore and regulate emotions (;

- write a story or draw a picture of a time you when you felt worried, scared, sad, or mad. What helped you "roar like a lion" and change the feeling? or

- help someone else find their strong.

If you missed Daniel Dufayet's interview on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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