I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Review Copy from Abrams Kids Books
With I Am Human: A Book of Empathy, Verde and Reynolds partner for their fifth picture book and their third in a series of superb books embracing Buddhist ideas, although they are never referred to as such directly. I Am Human: A Book of Empathy simply, and elegantly addresses the individual and the whole, the light and the dark. Embracing self-worth and self-love, and proclaiming with joy, "I am human," Verde's narrator goes on to say, "Being human means I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I can hurt others with my words, my actions, and even silence. I can be hurt, too." The challenges, the pain and the fear of being alive do not overwhelm the narrator, who reminds himself, "I AM human, I can make choices. I can move forward. A poor choice can become a BETTER choice with thoughtfulness. A bad day can become a GREAT day with kindness." Mindset! Mindset! Mindset!
Verde ends I Am Human: A Book of Empathy with these uplifting words, worth repeating like a mantra, 

I am not alone. 
I am connected to my friends, to my family, to the world. 
We are humans together. 
And I will keep trying to be the best version of ME. 
I am full of hope. 
I am human. 

With simplicity and clarity, Verde and Reynolds's book raises emotional intelligence. With joyfulness and love, Verde and Reynolds give us yet another gift, another way to teach and show our children both what is beautiful about humanity and how to face the challenges of being human.

Best of all, Verde's Author's Note teaches readers about loving-kindness meditation, a simple but powerful practice.


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