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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend, written by Kim Adams and illustrated by Ayesha W, is a children's picture book that revolves around a young girl and a mouse. The mouse is the titular character and is actually named Billy Be Kind. Lucy-Lou is a painfully shy little girl who happily plays at the playground with Billy Be Kind but is otherwise alone, even when there are plenty of other children at the playground to play with. Billy Be Kind encourages Lucy-Lou to be as proactive as he was when they first met and to make the first move to approach a young boy at the park who is also playing alone.
As a parent to a child who suffered from debilitating shyness, Billy Be Kind: Making A New Friend is exactly the type of kid-lit I would have loved while working with her through intense social anxiety. The issue is simplified within the story but that is exactly as expected in picture books for this age group. There is no ground-breaking revelation and the small step in the right direction comes in the form of a single word: “Hi.” This is authentic, real, and helpful. It validates a child's fear and does not overwhelm in offering the first stage of a solution. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging in a primary palette. The children depicted come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. I am so grateful to writer Kim Adams and artist Ayesha W for this practical little gem and am certain other adult readers will feel the same.