Boyogi: How a Wounded Family Learned to Heal

Candlewick. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536213706.
K-Gr 4–This picture book addresses the difficult topic of how veterans can reconnect with their families after their service. The story begins quietly, with a Black boy’s father returning from war, and the boy’s accurate observation, “But he came home different than before he left.” With straightforward text and restricted color palette illustrations that convey the emotions experienced by the family (blue and purple tones for sadness and anxiety; yellow and brown infused tones for happiness), Moore shows how children experience the change in their parents and often attribute the changes to their actions. It is the boy’s mother who helps her son understand that his dad became “sick” overseas because “bad things” harmed his mind. After she tells him that “Our minds are very precious, and we need to take care of them,” she decides upon a course of action—taking her husband and son with her to a yoga class. Soon, the father and son are attending yoga classes weekly, learning new poses, calming their minds, and becoming yogi (those who do yoga). The day when his father playfully calls him a “boyogi” marks a milestone. The boy knows the father he loves is returning, and the father can share openly how yoga, his therapist, and his loving family have helped him rediscover joy.
VERDICT The message of self-care and supportive family relationships amid a serious family crisis will provide hope for other families with a beloved member altered by war.

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