Monday, January 19, 2009

Nonfiction Monday: Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Mikela Prevost

I don't normally read/review "issue" books. I just don't do the whole bibliotherapy thing. But I do think, sometimes, reading books about "issues" can help, if they are well-written. Trouble Talk is an excellent example of the type of materials I hope to include in our library's new "Tough Topics" collection - books that parents and children can read and discuss together. It's sometimes difficult to know where to start talking to a child about a problem, and this kind of book can help there.

Trouble Talk is about two girls - Maya and Bailey. At first, Maya really likes her new friend Bailey. She's funny and likes to chatter. But Bailey doesn't know where to stop - she can't keep secrets and she tells people things that should be secrets - or that aren't even true! With help from adults, Maya confronts Bailey and repairs her relationships with her old friends. There's no easy solution - Bailey is still a gossip, and her "friends" still feel hurt. But Bailey isn't demonized; Maya admits she wishes they were still friends and hopes someday Bailey will learn how to be a friend. The illustrations are realistic, especially in portraying the characters' faces, and add depth to the narrative.

There's an excellent introduction and afterword to explain the story, questions for discussion, and further resources. This is a good example of a story that teaches about difficult issues - gossip and bullying - without patronizing or over-generalizing.

Verdict: Recommended. It would be best in nonfiction or a special parenting type section, but could also go in picture books.

ISBN: 978-1582462400; Published May 2008 by Tricycle; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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