Amazon Editors’ Picks: Best Books Ages 6-8 (2021)
When Ms. Underwood asks if anyone wants to help Kyle, Zahra always volunteers. She loves spending time with Kyle—he’s creative and generous, and he makes the funniest jokes at lunch. But when Zahra’s other classmates start teasing her for helping him, she starts making choices she regrets.
I Can Help is a gentle, sensitive portrayal of reaching out, facing peer pressure, and learning from past mistakes. With thoughtful storytelling and poignant illustrations, this book will open discussions about choosing kindness in the classroom and beyond.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Beautiful and delicate details in both text and illustration situate readers physically in the school’s art classroom and autumnal playground, mentally in Zahra’s world full of special cooking spices like cumin and turmeric, and emotionally in her hesitation and growth. . . . An illuminating glimpse into how a young child learns to trust her instinct and be kind to others.”
“Faruqi gives careful attention to all of the emotions Zahra feels, the better for readers to identify them in their own experience. Prevost contributes smudgy, muted tone images of sweet-faced, dot-eyed children of varying skin tones whose expressions are easy to read. Readers may recognize times when they felt as Zahra does—and vow to do better.”
Booklist (starred review)
“From the author of Lailah’s Lunchbox (2015) and Amira’s Picture Day (2021), this perceptive picture book could lead to discussions about handling peer pressure, dealing with ethical predicaments, and learning from one’s mistakes.”
School Library Journal
“Lessons about kindness, regret, and making amends are all here without being the least bit didactic. An excellent conversation starter for any adults who work with groups of children.”
The Horn Book Magazine
“The strength-based representation of a child with a disability is welcome; Kyle is a whole person with some challenges but many gifts.”