Never, not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna is a picture book all about letting go and starting adventures. In this story, Pascaline is a bat starting school at five years old. Her bat parents join her after she streaks so loudly they shrink in size and spend the first day with her hidden under her wings.
They attend school because Pascaline feels hesitant, reluctant, and determined not to go. She's so determined that her go to phrase about anything related to school is "Never, not ever." I love the illustrations that following showing what these emotions can look like in action; grabbing, clenches, and clutches.
When Pascaline gets to school, she finds having her parents hidden becomes a bit of a problem. They talk when they aren't suppose to, get hungry, fall into her lunch and really cause her stress. She can't even nap like everyone else. They are excited to return to school the next day and surprisingly Pascaline says, "Never, not ever."
I think it's helpful to talk about emotions in different scenarios and characters different than humans. The illustrations and text really describe and show readers the tug and pull of doing something new and what different can feel like.
A mental health journey can be filled with letting go and starting over. A mental health journey can be filled with lots of emotions and learning to accept and sit with them.
My bibliotherapy moment -
"You're going to learn so many things," her parents insist."
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