Read a review of “How to Love Myself and Others” on Kirkus Reviews.
This debut children’s book from James and his kids explains the importance of kindness to others—and yourself.
There’s not much plot here but rather advice on how to live a life filled with love. The first, most important step, James writes, is learning to love oneself. Once children master that, James advises them to share that love with others, particularly those who may have hurt them, since those people do not love themselves. The goal of loving yourself, James says, is to be “proud of the person you have become. You like being yourself and that makes you feel joyful and happy. It also helps you to love others.” If other people can see that you love yourself, they’ll want to be your friend and have you in their lives. James lays out some tips and ways that children can learn to appreciate themselves, including gazing at their reflections in the mirror and saying things like “I love you,” “You are beautiful,” and “You are handsome.” “You can even give yourself a big bear hug,” he writes. “Let’s do that now.” The gentle instructional aspects—which include questions/answers (“So how do we love others? You share it”) and visualizations (“Just imagine how much love you can give to all of your family, friends and animals because you are always over-flowing with so much love”)—provide a framework for using the book and offer ways for kids and adults to talk through all the different lessons. For instance, when a bully makes fun of you, you should first realize that the bully is wrong, then try to share some love with them; in fact, the book recommends filling yourself up with so much love that it overflows like a bucket brimming with jelly beans. The vocabulary is approachable for young readers, while the bright, colorful pencil drawings enjoyably reflect the action and meaning of the text. Lessons are clearly laid out, making this a solid pick for parents or adults looking to share the insight with children.
A sweet, approachable instructional manual for teaching kids how to love themselves and others.