Tayra’s Not Talking

Kids Can. (Kitty and Friends). Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781525304842.
PreS-K–It is Tayra’s first day at a new school; she is feeling nervous, and to make matters worse, she is unable to express herself. The other students are not sure what to make of Tayra and her silence, and they frequently jump to negative conclusions as the morning goes by. Thanks to a patient teacher who offers alternative outlets for her feelings, Tayra is finally able to communicate with her classmates. Each new revelation allows the students to come to a greater sense of understanding and friendship with one another. Part of the “Kitty and Friends” series, this book uses familiar characters and themes to connect with one of the more challenging realities of childhood: bullying. Because Tayra is different from her classmates, they initially choose to ostracize her instead of digging deeper into who she really is. Through rhyming lines and a singsong rhythm, young children will immediately connect with the story as it is read aloud to them. Simultaneously, the text models positive and encouraging behavior that children will be able to easily emulate after the story ends. Collage-style illustrations are filled with color and familiar moments from preschool and kindergarten classrooms, enhancing the connection readers will feel with Tayra and her friends despite the fact that they are animals participating in human behaviors.
VERDICT This charming story is an excellent addition to preschool and kindergarten classroom collections that focus on social-emotional learning.

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