Hi there! I’m Christina, a mom of two littles, a licensed mental health therapist, and a soon-to-be children’s book author! Thanks for checking out my site. Look around! I’m sure there’s something here for you! This post is a book review of the timely and beautiful picture book Should I Say Hi?, written by Rose Collins and illustrated by Nathaly Bonilla.
Rose began the process of creating this book during the pandemic. She had moments of doubt because the story is about engaging socially. But schools were closed and everyone at that time was socially distanced. Now, however, schools are reopening, and children are both excited and nervous to get back to campus.
The story of Should I Say Hi? was one that was always needed, but I think now more so than ever!
The main character of the book is a child called Bailey. Bailey is interested to begin a friendship with another child, Sidley. Written in the first person, the reader is able to feel like they are in Bailey’s shoes. As you read you feel, like Bailey, uncertain of how to push past the nerves to say “Hi”.
As you and your children read, you are inside Bailey’s thoughts. Some are truthful observations and some are anxiety-causing, imagined thoughts. From front cover to back, you experience what Bailey does. You cheer for Bailey and hope they find the courage to speak up the next day.
The clever twist…
What is unique about Should I Say Hi? — I have read poems that follow a similar structure, but never a book — is that you can read it forward, and then you can read it backward.
And that’s where the magic happens. In reading the story forward AND backward, you gain perspective alongside Bailey.
By reading the pages in reverse order, you and your children experience Bailey pushing through the negative fears. You feel the momentum build and celebrate when Bailey finally says, “Hi.”
It’s a victorious feeling to read the book from back to front. And my goodness it opens up the door to lots of conversations.
You could chat with your children about the topic itself of saying hello when you are nervous, or you could stretch the conversation to be about making friends in general. Further, you could speak about challenging negative thoughts and overcoming fears! You can explore how Bailey must’ve felt after not facing the fears head on, and how Bailey must’ve felt once “Hi” was finally said.
No matter how you use the story, you and your children will enjoy it!
You can buy your own copy of Should I Say Hi? on Two Tales Publishing’s website.
If you ever share photos of you and your kids reading Should I Say Hi? on Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #ShouldISayHi and tag them!