Shy by Deborah Freedman

I consider myself reserved – perhaps even a little shy. I often wait to speak until I feel comfortable. And I have to trust people before I divulge too much information. As a teacher educator, I have learned how to use my natural reservedness as a strength. And when I work with future teachers who describe themselves as shy, I try to help them begin to understand their shyness as an asset. For who knows better how to help shy students than someone who has experienced being shy in school?

When I went to NCTE in November, I was so happy to find Deborah Freedman‘s book Shy (2016, Penguin). One of the Penguin reps provided a wonderful introduction to the book, so I am happy to be sharing it with you today!

Here’s a quick recap ….. Shy’s shyness keeps him stuck – quite literally – between the pages of a book. What he reads about birds is nothing compared to the reality of hearing and seeing a beautiful ‘she’ bird in the real world. But if he wants to meet her, Shy must overcome his immense shyness and get out into the world about which he has only read. In a lovely moment, Shy introduces himself to Florence, the beautiful bird who has captured his heart. Shy reads Florence a story in a final closing scene.

Here’s what I LOVE about the book:

(1) It honors shy people. The speaker encourages shy people to get out an experience the world but not in a way that devalues the shyness. Shy kids need this book.

(2) There is a certain gentleness to the book’s artistic color palette that matches the book’s message. Calming pastels complement rich golds, purples, and reds.

(3) The physical book is part of the story. Freedman makes the actual pages of the book central to the story, for the pages are where Shy hides. Truly creative, this element reveals the variety of storytelling modes available in children’s literature.

If you’re building a text set around the ‘slower’ elements in life, you can pair Shy with Waiting.

A perfect read for the shy children and students in your life, Shy is sure to become a fan favorite!

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