Loris Opens Up His Heart

An Emotional Story For Kids

Children - Social Issues
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 01/22/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dagmara is a Canada-based mother of two, who is committed to children’s education and emotional well-being.
She jumped into writing children’s books because she realized something important – not all kids get a fair shot at life.


“Loris Opens Up His Heart” by Dagmara Sitek was inspired by the tragic story of 8-year-old Kamilek from Czestochowa, who died due to mistreatment by his stepfather. It is a testament to the power of empathy and compassion. It models positive interactions and helps kids put themselves in someone else’s shoes. More importantly, it encourages them to help one another and overcome fears.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Cam and Inaya are promoting a charity run to raise money for their friend, Susie, who is recovering from open heart surgery. A new foster brother, Loris, joins their foster home, but he’s too distant and reserved to open up and share in the experience of working together for the common good. In Dagmara Sitek’s Loris Opens Up His Heart, a deeper meaning of open heart surgery emerges as Loris must share his frightening past to find his healing and, hopefully, find some good friends in the process. Loris joins the foster family, but his heart just isn’t ready to accept care, compassion, and love. That’s why he wears a hoodie all the time: to cower and hide. Can he find a way to leave the cocoon he’s created? Can he trust the world again and find the courage to love and be loved?

Dagmara Sitek’s picture book, Loris Opens Up His Heart: An Emotional Story For Kids, is a gentle, soothing, and sometimes sad story about a young foster child who came from a troubled background. The story is told like a graphic novel, complete with bubbles to identify who’s talking and allow the conversation to carry the plot. The plot includes loving, caring characters as well as contrasting mean bullies. There are some difficult issues addressed in this story, particularly child abuse, foster care, and bullies. The author expertly weaves a tender story out of these troubling blights in today’s society. The illustrations are bright, bold, and colorful and help move the story along. Young readers will be cheering on Cam and Inaya as they try to win the charity race, and also Loris who not only runs steadfastly to win but struggles to overcome his difficult past in the process. Beautiful story, yet powerful and raw.

Rosie Malezer

Loris Opens Up His Heart is a children's book about social issues written by Dagmara Sitek and illustrated by Lau Frank. Cam and Inaya prepare for a charity run fundraiser to raise money for young Susie, who is in hospital and needs open heart surgery. When a new foster brother, Loris, comes to stay with them, he is withdrawn, antisocial, and hard to connect with. One day at school, Loris sees Beefy, the school bully, bullying Cam. After the incident, Loris lets down some of his walls with Cam and Inaya, admitting he often feels lost and knows his behavior can be quite unsociable to others. Cam and Inaya tell Loris that they will always be there for him, no matter how lost he feels. On the day of the charity run, Cam is unable to take part so Loris quickly swaps shirts with Cam and runs in Cam's place.

As sad and frustrating as the stress and pain are in Loris Opens Up His Heart, I found that the messages of strength, courage, friendship, and love come through on every page. Not only are Cam and Inaya there for Loris, persevering each time he puts up a wall, but they are also sincere in their friendship. This makes Loris realize that he is not in 'just another foster home' but has finally found his place in the world with true friends by his side. This world would be a much better place if there were more people like Cam, Inaya, and Loris in it. I am so pleased to see such relevant books like those of Dagmara Sitek to show our younger generation that the world has loyal friends in it who will do anything to help if you let them. I recommend Loris Opens Up His Heart to readers aged ten or older, so they know there are better things in store for them.

Angelique Papayannopoulos

An emotional children's book by Dagmara Sitek, Loris Opens Up His Heart tells the story of a young boy on a journey of courage and transformation. Loris joins a new foster home, where his dark hoodie provides him with a feeling of safety. Cam and Inaya invite him to join a charity race to raise funds for their friend’s open-heart surgery and try to include him in their circle of friendship. Loris keeps to himself, but when one day a bully harasses Cam and Inaya, he intervenes to protect them. A sense of freedom comes over Loris as a result of his built-up anger and his courage scares the bully away. He opens up to Cam and Inaya, resulting in a blossoming friendship. Loris even takes part in the charity race and wins.

Dagmara Sitek has created a straightforward plot in Loris Opens Up His Heart but conveys a powerful message of facing your fears and learning to love yourself. The main characters are very likable, and the young reader will instantly feel a deep affection for Loris. Having an easy-to-read caption style makes it more interesting. Lau Frank’s beautiful illustrations make it attractive to young readers. Bullying is depicted as part of the story, as are themes of courage, friendship, and resilience. Children will learn that even though fears might be scary, facing them can lead to feelings of safety and love. It is suitable for children ages  5 to 7, either to read aloud or have a parent read it to them at bedtime.

Diana Lopez

Loris Opens Up His Heart by Dagmara Sitek is a beautiful story that will teach young readers to overcome obstacles and understand their emotions. Cam and Inaya are siblings, and they are practicing for a charity run. Their motivation is to help Susie, a friend who needs open-heart surgery. When they arrive home, they are introduced to their new foster brother, Loris. They try to make him feel welcome, but he keeps his distance. One day at school, a bully tries to hurt Cam so he won't participate in the run, and Loris steps in to help Cam. Later, Cam and Inaya ask Loris if he was afraid, and he admits that he has been afraid all his life and has felt alone. Loris is honest with his foster siblings, who now have the opportunity to reach out and give him their support.

I loved Loris Opens Up His Heart for the way it highlights the significance of family togetherness. Dagmara Sitek addresses realistic and emotional issues with clarity. Her positive messages include the importance of emotional control. This book can also help address issues like preventing bullying. The narrative is presented primarily through dialogs in text balloons, making it easy to understand, thanks to meaningful conversations. I liked the illustrations because they have expressive characters, and the colors create an ideal atmosphere to reflect current emotions. Loris's personality gradually changes so it is easy to connect with him and understand his feelings. Loris Opens Up His Heart will inspire children to be honest with themselves and face new challenges with courage.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

In Loris Opens Up His Heart by Dagmara Sitek, Cam and Inaya are trying to get everyone involved in a charity run to raise money for their friend’s operation. When they get home from giving out flyers, they are introduced to their new foster brother, Loris. They try to make him welcome, but Loris hides behind his hoodie and doesn’t want to get involved. One day, Cam and Inaya are attacked by bullies, but Loris steps up and defends them. When they ask him if he is scared, his heartbreaking response explains why his hoodie is his safe space. Loris opens up to Cam and Inaya, and from then on, things change for everyone. This book is a journey designed to help you open your heart and let people into your life.

Loris Opens Up His Heart by Dagmara Sitek is a wonderfully illustrated story that will touch the heart of everyone who reads it. The story is about a young boy in foster care and is a lesson in overcoming fears and having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. The characters are likable, even lovable, and some kids will see themselves in them. The illustrations bring the story to life and allow all kids to see that sometimes opening their hearts and letting others in is the best way to overcome challenges, especially when they’ve had a tough life so far. It’s an amazing tale that doesn't just teach kids. Some adults could learn from it, too, and it is enough to set some people on the right path for the rest of their lives. Wonderful story, and one I highly recommend for kids, parents, and teachers everywhere.