Ani’s Light byTanu Shree Singh

Ani’s Light

Tanu Shree Singh, PhD, Author

Sandhya Prabhat, Illustrator

Magination Press. Fiction, Jun. 23, 2020

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Mothers, Parental illness, Depression, Hope, Love 

Opening: On a night when the moon shone and little specks of light danced on the ceiling, Ani Lay awake. “It’s dark,” he said.

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Ani’s stuck in a dark cloud because his mother hasn’t been home. His friends and family try to brighten his mood, but nothing helps. When Mama finally comes back, but with her hair missing, Ani’s light gets brighter and brighter, chasing away his darkness. The unconditional love between Ani and his mother shines through as the two enjoy their precious time together, whether it’s forever, or just for now.

This sensitive, hopeful story will help kids explore their sadness when a close family member is undergoing medical treatment, while highlighting sources of light that can bring stability during uncertain times. It is also a terrific resource for anyone who wants to understand the ups and downs of coping with a parent’s illness.

Why I like Ani’s Light:

Ani’s Light is a realistic and heartfelt story about a boy dealing with his mother chronic medical illness. I am thrilled to share this book with you because I’ve only reviewed a few picture books about a parent dealing with cancer. Unfortunately, there need to be more books. This is a good book to have in your home library.

I love Tanu Shree Singh’s brevity of words and her lyrical text. It is enough to know that Ani’s mother is gone and he is very sad. Reader’s only know when she returns home that “Mama’s hair is gone.” This book could be used for many other medical issues (including COVID) that occur among family members, including grandparents.

I like the contrast between darkness and light, which Sandhya Prabhat uses beautifully to show the dark cloud surrounding Ani. But, when his mother returns home a cloud of light envelopes mother and son, and Ani is hugging his mother — his source of light — and offers to shave his head. The world is once again full of color. She sets the story in India. Just look at that gorgeous book cover!

My favorite line is when Ani’s expresses he was scared she’d never come back, and his mother responds “I’m here now and so are Dobby, Nani and your friends.”  “As long as you let others love you,” Mama said, “you will be okay.”

Resources: Ani’s Light includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers explaining ways to help a child through a parental illness. It is written by the Singh, a professor of psychology. She says it is important to honest. It’s okay not to know all the answers. And it’s important to help kids deal with their emotions. A good book to have in a home or school library.

Tanu Shree Singh, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Higher Education, Haryana, India. She completed her studies in positive psychology at Maharshi Dayanand University and writes extensively on issues related to parenting. Her passion for reading and getting more children to read led her to set up two libraries in Faridabad and Tirthan Valley. She lives in Faridabad, India. Visit her on Twitter @tanu75 and Instagram @tanu.shree.singh.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by Magination Press in exchange for a review.