Willow's Whispers Hardcover – Feb 1 2010
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Quill & Quire
Learning to assert yourself is not really about having a big voice, it’s about using the one you have – such is the lesson of Lana Button’s first picture book.
Willow is all too familiar with the problem of being ignored. No one listens to her, because “her words slipped out as soft and shy as a secret.” Friends don’t hear her when she says she’d like to sit beside them. The teacher doesn’t hear her ask for apple juice instead of orange. A pushy student grabs one of the dolls that Willow wants for her doll picnic, and can’t (or won’t) hear Willow’s request to have it back. That same student gets picked to be line leader over Willow simply because she speaks up louder and gets noticed.
With the help of a cardboard microphone, Willow finally finds her voice. She announces her preferences, asserts her rights, and makes everyone at school sit up and take notice. By the time the makeshift microphone gets accidentally crushed at the end of the day, she is ready to speak for herself, clearly and with confidence.
There’s not an ounce of sentimentality in Lana Button’s simple, well-crafted story. It has a familiar repetitive structure that makes it a great read-aloud tale, and Tania Howell’s illustrations are a suitable complement, with bold colours, spare lines, and plain white backgrounds. Shy, quiet kids will take heart at Willow’s small victories.
About the Author
Lana Button works in early childhood education. Her writing has been published in Lady Bug magazine and Today's Parent. Willow's Whispers is Lana's first book for Kids Can Press.
Tania Howells's illustrations have appeared in Chirp and Today's Parent, among other publications. She is the illustrator of Berkeley's Barn Owl Dance and Willow's Whispers. Tania lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dad has very good advice for Willow. He tells her, "Your big, strong voice got stuck way inside you, Willow. That happens sometimes. But one day your voice will wiggle its way out."
Thinking about Dad's words, gives Willlow an opportunity to devise a plan. The following morning, Willow gathers some materials together and designs her very own magic microphone. Initially, the microphone helps Willow to express herself but before long she must manage without it and does so very successfully.
Willow's Whispers is a charming story that will be enjoyed by boys and girls ages four and up. Note, although Willow's Whispers invites discussion of finding one's voice and having confidence when speaking, it does so very sensitively and without reference to "shyness."
Note: The publisher provided a review copy of Willow's Whispers
The story holds my daughters attention, and since she sees alot of herself in Willow, she wants to read it every night.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This was a powerful read for the shy kids and even the ones who are not. First of all, the shy kids got to hear DIRECTLY from me in the most validating way through Willow's story. I introduced the words...fears, confidence, inner strength, brave.....oh the list goes on. Also, it's okay to be shy. But when can our shyness get in the way of our own happiness and become a problem? This is what happens to Willow....she is misheard, gets bullied, has trouble making friends, and misses out on classroom opportunities. We quickly figured out her shyness was getting in the way. Good Stuff! And a wonderful way to introduced strategies for kids to practice.
For those kids who are not shy it was a good lesson in sensitivity and to be supportive to those children who do feel shy at times. Reach out to them, have understanding, and try to help them feel comfortable. I cannot wait to read this one again next year. This is always a sign of how much I adore a new book. My recommendation list just got a lot stronger in the shy department.
Kiwi Magazine Review:
Everyone assumed that Willow agreed because she never complained and she never said a word. But, Willow wanted to be the line leader. She made a magic microphone out of a tp tube and magically finds her voice and speaks up for herself. When the magic microphone breaks, Willow realizes that she could speak up without any magic. The text is well-written and age-appropriate, and the illustrations are whimsical and appealing. Any child who has a little trouble speaking up for him or herself might just find their own voice with the help of this book.