Monday, January 23, 2023

Review: A Smile in Your Pocket by Jarrod Zayas


Genre: Children's 3-7
Published: October 4, 2022
Pages: 32

It’s the morning walk to school and it doesn’t feel right. The day has started gloomy, when it’s normally bright. And, so begins a series of change that turns young Miles’ day upside down. Once friendly and familiar, everything on that school walk now seems distant, sad, or stressed. The weather. The community workers. Even the neighbor’s dog, Daisy. At school, things don’t lighten up for Miles. There, he’s introduced to a series of new rules meant to help prevent the spread of germs, and all the change overwhelms him, translating into major anxiety and sadness of his own. But, with the help of his patient teacher, Ms. Franklin, Miles learns the value of embracing change and remaining positive. And, he also learns how sharing one little smile, even one you can keep in your pocket, can bring perspective and happiness to yourself and those around you.

More relevant than ever before in our current “pandemic era,” 
A Smile in Your Pocket provides caregivers with a fun storytime read that provides a conversation primer about good hygiene, social distancing, and coping with emotions.

Written in partnership with an accomplished child therapist,
 A Smile in Your Pocket combines sweet art and rhythmic text to tell a charming story that focuses on CASEL standards of social emotional development, and more specifically about combating negative emotions and the power of positivity.

This title is leveled using both the Lexile and Fountas & Pinnell reading level standards. Includes backmatter that cover tips for helping children manage sress and anxiety.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a rhyming story about a young boy on a dreary day. On his way to school he notices adults acting less happy than normal and then he gets to school to find new rules in the classroom. The rules are clearly for cold and flu season (or Covid maybe), but Miles is so young he doesn't understand that (not that the teacher really explains it either). The teacher's solution to Miles' gloomy demeanor is to give him a smile to carry in his pocket. So then he makes smiles to hand out to all the gloomy adults he saw on the way to school. 

The illustrations were colorful and bright showing the different people Miles was interacting with through the day. It was cute enough that I'd be okay reading it a few times, but I wouldn't want to read it too terribly often. 

Overall I give this book 3.8 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre, Jarrod Zayas spent years performing original theatrical productions across the United States with Birmingham Children’s Theatre. As a member of the theatre’s creative team, Jarrod adapted and wrote original scripts. After touring, Jarrod settled in New York, where he has taken his experience with writing and performing for children and applied it to the fi eld of educational publishing. Over the last decade, Jarrod has written for a number of educational programs for children, one of which was a finalist for Elon Musk’s 2018 Global Learning X Prize competition.

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