Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Gina Bellisario
Illustrator: Renee Kurilla
Publisher: Learner Publishing Group, Inc.
Anna is just like every other young girl: she has homework, chores, tests, and soccer games to think about. When each of those activities add up, she can feel stressed or worried about all her responsibilities, and that stress compounds. Anna can see that everyone in her family worries about different things, and that recognizing stress is the first step in overcoming it. Stress can make her tired, grouchy, or even forgetful of her responsibilities. But with support from her family and a few tips like exercising and playing with friends, Anna realizes she can beat stress and keep calm.
By narrating common reasons for and reactions to stress in kids through Anna’s experiences, this book helps teach young children what they are feeling when they are worried and how to beat it. In addition to Anna’s storytelling, the book gives helpful side-tips that explain simply how adrenaline is over-produced when we are stressed, why endorphins are important, and how exercise, eating right, and taking time for yourself can help beat stress. The end of the book provides additional help with belly-breathing techniques described for children a glossary for the unfamiliar terms used throughout the book (adrenaline, endorphins, etc.). The one area this book lacks is in the personification of stress itself: while a cute cartoon-type monster that is clearly stress is present throughout, he is simply in the background of the majority of the story, without taking precedence or growing bigger when Anna’s stress increases. Additionally, although Anna explains that a certain amount of stress is important and healthy, the stress-monster disappears completely rather than diminishing and helping Anna study for her test or other healthy uses for stress. All-in-all, this book is very helpful for kids experiencing stress and struggling to understand it, and can be used both at home and in class.