Title: Harriet’s Monster Diary
Author: Dr. Raun Melmed
Illustrator: S.E. Abramson & Arief
“I love manglemane lions, but that doesn’t mean I want to stand up in front of everyone and talk about them. That sounds absolutely terrible,” Ari confides in Dr. Raun Melmed’s children’s book, Harriet’s Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious.
~ What ~
Part of Monster Diaries series, this one-hundred-and-sixteen-page paperback targets seven- to eleven-year-old children who want help overcoming anxiety. With no scary scenes, it would be best read to beginner readers based on some complicated words. Cartoon-like black and white illustrations are every few pages with a hand-written designed small font. The beginning has a note about ST4, an applicable anti-anxiety concept, while the ending includes instructions on making ST4 badges, a parent’s guide to stress and anxiety in children, and author, illustrator, and publisher biographies.
In this short tale, young monster Ari Hairstein enjoys going to monster school, especially when she is in Monsterology class. When the teacher assigns a report, she is excited to do it on the manglemane lions but devastated she must read it in front of the class. Acknowledging she worries about everything, the girl makes herself sick with anxiety about the upcoming task. With the help of her grandma, parents, and friends, she learns how to breathe deeply, stop to take time to think, and gauge how she is feeling when gives her report.
~ Why ~
This fun monster book is a clever way for a young child to learn about dealing with stress and anxiety. I like how Ari had to come out of her shell to share her problem with others. Learning the ways to breathe, the ST4 acronym of Stop Take Time To Think, and how to make a four-color temperature gauge of feelings are helpful ways to deal with anxiety.
~ Why Not ~
While the book focuses on stress during a school situation, it does not address other problems where young children may experience anxiety. Some may not find the scenario applicable and be confused that the “monsterizing” of words are not real. The multi-syllable words that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words.
~ Wish ~
While I think this read would be good for a shy third or fourth grader who has issues standing in front of the class, I wish it mentioned other situations of Ari’s friends dealing with anxiety. As a Christian, offering the idea of praying to God for calmness and peace would be appreciated. I did not care for the font as sometimes it looked like words were incorrectly spelled.
~ Want ~
If you have a pre-teen who is awkward or uncomfortable in standing out in social situations and want to help them feel accepted and less nervous, this would be a positive way to encourage them.
Thanks to Familius and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/harriets-monster-diary-raun-melmed/1129117020