Let’s face it – feeling “different” can be scary. It’s true as a kid, and it can even be true as an adult. In a world that seems to encourage us all to look, talk, think, and act the same and is in a constant state of comparison, how can we teach children from a young age that their differences are actually their strengths, not their weaknesses?
It all begins with what we show them and tell them, and a wonderful starting point for this important conversation is the engaging, beautifully illustrated new book Batty Betty by children’s author Kathryn Hast (LuJu Books). What sets this book apart from others in the stack is its storyline – which is purposefully, delightfully whimsical even as it tackles tough subjects – as well as its lyrical style. Hast wanted to be sure it was just as fun for both parents and children to read while also illuminating ways to approach and take on real and often difficult scenarios.
Enter: Abel, the tuba; Eve, the sad banana; and Betty, a giant who dances unapologetically to her own drum. When Abel goes out marching by himself, he finds a sad banana named Eve who has been bullied by local beavers. As it turns out, she’s not alone. The beavers are also out for Betty, who stands out with her towering height and “batty” behavior. Abel sets out to defeat these beavers, but soon discovers it’s not about winning – it’s about finding your own music amidst the ruckus and noise.