Let’s face it – feeling “different” can be scary. It’s true as a kid, and it can even be true as an adult. In a world that seems to encourage us all to look, talk, think, and act the same and is in a constant state of comparison, how can we teach children from a young age that their differences are actually their strengths, not their weaknesses?
It all begins with what we show them and tell them, and a wonderful starting point for this important conversation is the engaging, beautifully illustrated new book Batty Betty by children’s author Kathryn Hast (LuJu Books). What sets this book apart from others in the stack is its storyline – which is purposefully, delightfully whimsical while also tackling tough subjects – as well as its lyrical style. Hast wanted to be sure it was just as fun for both parents and children to read while illuminating ways to approach and tackle real and often difficult scenarios.
Enter: Abel, the tuba; Eve, the sad banana; and Betty, a giant who dances unapologetically to her own drum. When Abel goes out marching by himself, he finds a sad banana named Eve who has been bullied by local beavers. As it turns out, she’s not alone. The beavers are also out for Betty, who stands out with her towering height and “batty” behavior. Abel sets out to defeat these beavers, but soon discovers it’s not about winning – it’s about finding your own music amidst the ruckus and noise.
“I’m really committed to the notion that kids can read, think, and discuss ideas that might initially seem difficult,” Hast says. “My hope is that Batty Betty offers both entertainment and depth and can serve as a springboard for conversations between parents and children.”
Playful yet touching, Batty Betty explores:
- Why it’s not only okay – it’s GREAT – to be different
- The best way to stand up to bullies (tune out their noise, find your music!)
- Opportunities for parents and kids to begin discussions about tough topics
- A unique and surprising style of writing everyone will enjoy reading
- And much more!
Kathryn Hast has a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in writing and a Master’s degree in Education. She is from York, Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband and two children. She has one dog named after a Beatles song, and one that barks at the television. Batty Betty is her second published children’s book, following her previous title Otis Grows.