P Is For Psychology (Natasha Schvey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is P Is For Psychology, written by Natasha Schvey and illustrated by Nicole Jones Sturk, third in a series of alphabetic primers of advanced fields, illustrated by Sturk and written by subject matter experts.

Little readers will have a crash course in psychology terms, some simple and more broad (such as “mindfulness”, “attachment”, or “therapy”), and some more specific to the field of mental health and study (like “Classical Conditioning”, “Delusions of Granduer”, or “Melanie Klein”). The illustrations display the concepts, often converting them into humorous or simplified visuals for little readers to laugh at or connect to (two dogs training a human with a bell and a slice of bacon for “Classical Conditioning” was a favorite).

These books have been sleeper hits in our household, and the newest follows the tradition of E Is For Economics and L Is For Law by providing clever and memorable visuals to punch up rather complex subject matter. Best of all, this book is the first to feature a glossary of terms in the back, an immense help for readers of all ages who might like to learn more about what the “Zone of Proximal Development” is. For those well-versed in psychology, there are cute, clever visual winks, such as a recreation of the Stanford marshmallow experiment to illustrate “eXperiment”. And perhaps best of all, all of the subjects relating to emotions and therapy are depicted in a positive, encouraging light; the artwork for “Therapy”, in which a smiling boy calmly and casually chats with his therapist, is a great way to show little ones that there is nothing scary or wrong about mental health. Sturk’s illustrations feature a diverse cast, the length is fine for a quick read, and as I said, JJ loves these books! A cute primer for families who have experience in the field of mental health, or would love to learn more together, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Jameon’s Closet (Shauna Havlina & Leanne Richter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Jameon’s Closet by Shauna Havlina and Leanne Richter, an allegorical story to help children understand the purpose and practice of counseling and therapy.

Jameon has a problem: his Grandma wants him to clean out his closet today. See, Jameon has been hiding the things he hasn’t wanted to deal with in his closet – garbage, dirty laundry, etc. But Jameon’s grandmother has found someone to help him, a counselor. The counselor helps Jameon tackle the closet piece by piece, going at a pace that isn’t scary or overwhelming, and taking breaks when needed. Soon, Jameon finds his closet is clean and both he and his grandmother are happy and proud. The narrative then draws parallels from the story to what a child going through therapy may experience, so that they can understand how cleaning out their emotional closet in the same way can help them lead happier, healthier lives.

Nicely done. This is a self-published story that definitely has a clear purpose, and it does a commendable job of fulfilling it. The ending is a bit abrupt, and the closet metaphor a bit thin at times, but for the most part, the story does a fabulous job of showing children what to expect from therapy, why it can be so important, and how they and their counselor can begin to unpack the feelings or experiences they may be bottling up. Having gone through therapy as a child, I can definitely say that this is a book that can help familiarize little ones with therapy and its benefits. The art is great for a self-published book, keeping things simple and clear. The length was fine, and JJ seemed to enjoy it. This could be a very useful tool for kids, their parents, and therapy providers to discuss counseling, and we’re happy to call it Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.)