Everyone is unique and has value; it’s time that this is recognised. Angel Friends: Let Your Smile Shine is a book that aims to do just this. There has always been bullying in the world and I’m sure it will continue for a long time yet in many forms. I think that 2017 will be looked back upon as a year that some of this has come to the table. As the actions of an older generation are coming to light, let’s help the younger generation to be kinder and more considerate of others’ feelings.
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Two years ago we reviewed the first Angel Friends book by Tara Williams and Kallista still sings the rhyming jingle from that book from time to time, so when Tara asked if we’d like a copy of her newest book, Kallista was quick to say she would!
What Angel Friends: Let Your Smile Shine is About
You may want to read the first book to get a little more background about how Julia, India’s angel friend appears, but this book can also stand alone. It’s the first day of school and Aria is worried. As is traditional, the students tell the class what they have done during summer vacation…camping, fishing, and perfecting back flips.
Aria’s summer was different as she had had surgery to repair a cleft lip. A few students asked her questions about it before it was time for recess. Unfortunately, Livvy was not a kind girl and spent the break making fun of Aria, calling her “Scargirl” in front of everyone. Aria’s angel friend heard her dispair and arrived to teach her a song:
“I will smile, and I will shine.
Look at me, I’m just fine.
I won’t let you bring me down.
You won’t even see me frown.
I will smile, and I will shine.
Look at me, I’m just fine!”
That afternoon Livvy continued to be very mean to Aria. India summoned up her confidence and stood up to Livvy and told her not just to stop, but also gave her some food for thought about her actions and the consequences they would have on Livvy herself. This is never an easy thing to do; standing up to a bully, and it’s nice to see it done so well in this book in a way that could be replicated by children children should they find themselves in a similar situation.
Livvy thinks about what she’s done and decides to improve her behaviour and begins by first appologising, before becoming friends with Aria and India.
Tara has added some worksheets on her website for children that deal with the following issues (just scroll down to the bottom of this page to access them):
- Four Ways to Deal With Bullies
- Character Development
- How Have you Been Kind to a Friend?
- Story Elements
- Happy or Sad?
- Ways to Be a Good Friend
- Response to Text
Why We Like This Book
What I like about Angel Friends: Let Your Smile Shine, is that it demonstrates that it is possible to stand up to people and make life better for others. It is possible to change behaviour and be positive and happy rather th an mean and miserable. And more than that, this book gives some great examples of how everyone is unique and ‘different’ and that it’s okay. Whether you have glasses, a limp, or a cleft palate, it doesn’t matter; what does matter is the person and the positive qualities they possess. This is something that I heavily emphasise to my children when they are feeling out of place or have questions about others. And yes, it’s okay to ask questions; Aria was happy to answer questions as long as they were presented in a respectful manner!
I must mention that the illustrator of Angel Friends: Let Your Smile Shine, is only a freshman in high school! Fourteen-year-old Aniena Simone certainly has a lot of talent; be sure to keep your eye on her in the future as her talent grows it will be interesting to see where it will take her. Well done, Tara, for recognising Aniena’s talent, believing in her, and sharing her work with us!
Kallista has been enjoying this lovely book and we’ve had talks about listening to your inner voice, acting in ways that are true to yourself and respectful of others; this is my top ‘rule’ for my children. Just imagine a life where people were treated as equals and respected for who they are, not what they look like or can or cannot do. It’s wonderful vision!
For more information about Tara Williams and Angel Friends, you can check our her website here.