cover image My Monster and Me

My Monster and Me

Nadiya Hussain, illus. by Ella Bailey. Viking, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-35076-8

In author and The Great British Baking Show–winner Hussain’s latest picture book, a brown-skinned child ruminates on their “monster,” a horned buttercup-colored creature who is the child’s constant companion. Hussain’s text remains lighthearted while compassionately conveying the child’s difficulties: “I told her how my monster just wouldn’t go away. It WOULDN’T leave me alone. Ever.” As the child speaks to careful listener Gram, the monster shrinks to a manageable size, providing a useful model for empathic adults. Bailey’s art emphasizes the monster as not malicious, only inconvenient; an author’s note reveals Hussain’s own experiences with panic disorder “for as long as I can remember.” This evenhanded illustration of anxiety and panic attacks will give many young readers language to describe their own experiences. Ages 3–5. [em](Mar.) [/em]