Wow. Just wow! “The Hand Hug” by Niki Spears absolutely blew both me and my co-host away. We keep trying to find something that we can nitpick about it because there’s a feeling when giving a review that we’re supposed to find SOMEthing that could be improved! But it’d be really reaching if we did.
“The Hand Hug” is about Baelor, a young girl and all the worry-thoughts she has on her first day at a new school. It’s relatable. No matter what age we are, we have all been in that first-day-fear funk at some point in our lives with the “What will they think?” and “Will I fit in?” kinds of concerns, especially when those around us already have their secret handshakes, inside jokes, and obvious friendships established.
But, “The Hand Hug” provides a solution. One of Baelor’s teachers notices that she appears worried and helps her feel better by giving her a “hand hug” – a simple idea with profound results, and an invention of the author’s she has used in the classroom with young kids throughout her teaching career. Baelor’s teacher even shows her how to take hand hugs with her and create them on her own!
And the reader can too. Along with Baelor’s story and example, the book also includes an outline and instructions for children and parents to create hand hugs at home, helping children learn how to manage their thoughts more effectively, lower anxiety, and feel connected to family and friends throughout each day.
Another wonderful aspect of this story is the characters in it. We both love the consciousness of creating pictures and stories that show people from all walks of life interacting with respect and kindness. Normalizing diversity is sorely needed and this book does it in a way that helps create a world that works for everyone.
We’re giving “The Hand Hug” a high five, hands down! This is truly one of the best children’s books we’ve come across in quite a while and sets a high standard for helping children create a healthy mindset, an attitude of gratitude, and creating interactive activities that bring families together. It’s the total package in our book.