Too Shy to Say Hi
Shannon Anderson, Author
Hiroe Nakata, Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Mar. 9, 2021
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: Bashfulness, Anxiety, School, Friendship, Rhyme
Opening: My dog and I walk every day, just the two of us. We pass some kids out playing ball — “Let’s GO Barnabus.”
School is coming up and Shelli really wants to be less shy. At home, she relates more to her bashful pet fish who hides in his cave than she does to her outgoing dog, who wants to greet everyone in sight. Even her parrot squawks a “Hi! Hiiii! Hello!” Shelli wants to make new friends and meet new people, but she is just too shy to say hi!
“When I am back at school next week / I want to give it a go! / Will someone want to play with me? / There’s only one way to know.”
Why I like this book:
Shannon Anderson has written a charming and helpful book for children who are bashful or painfully shy. Her rhyming text is snappy and upbeat as Shelli takes itsy bitsy steps to prepare for her first day at school, like practicing waving and saying “hello” into a mirror,
I like how Shelli realizes that her shyness interferes with her ability to make friends. There are no adults in the background encouraging her or giving her suggestions. She’s very introspective and bravely figures out how to step outside of her comfort zone and ask Lupita if she can sit next to her in the classroom and play together during recess.
Shelli’s journey is supported by Hiroe Nakata’s expressive and lively illustrations. My favorite illustration is the look of surprise on Shelli’s face when she first speaks to Lupita. You can see how proud she is of herself and relieved that she made the effort.
Making new friends may be tough for children. This is a great read aloud book for parents and teachers to have on hand for kids who are anxious in social situations like school.
Resources: There is a Readers Note for parents and teachers about ways to work with children who are very shy and not interacting with friends or participating in activities they would really enjoy.
Shannon Anderson has taught first grade through college level and loves to write books for child and teachers. In 20019, Shannon was named one of the Top 10 Teachers who inspired The Today Show. She was named the JC Runyon Person of the Year for her work writing and speaking about social and emotional issues for kids. She lives in Indiana. Visit Shannon at her website, on Facebook @AuthorShannonAnderson and Twitter @ShannonTeaches.