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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Boy Who Knew How to Believe, written by Ashley Scott and illustrated by Joe Palmisano, is a children's picture book that follows a young boy named Nicky who is certain he will one day get the dog of his dreams. The book begins with Nicky at the park with his parents as he witnesses the joyful interaction between another child and their dog. The image of the bond the pair shared remains with Nicky throughout the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. In the absence of his own real pup, Nicky makes a drawing of his ideal companion and names him Buddy. The drawing remains with Nicky day and night, and is so prevalent in Nicky's thoughts that one of his friends makes fun of him for his drawing of Buddy, planting doubt in Nicky's head, until a visit from a kind uncle shows Nicky the true power of faith and optimism.
The Boy Who Knew How to Believe is the first children's book I've ever come across that has had the courage to rest its plot entirely on the idea of spiritual manifestation...and it's about time. Author Ashley Scott grants Nicky the agency to consciously assert his will for something he desperately wants without the influence or intervention from his parents, who remain conspicuously on the sidelines. Joe Palmisano brings the tale to life with full-color illustrations that are presented through original, vector-style depictions. I found Scott's overall story to be so refreshing. It's rare to come across a book for young readers that effectively moves outside the box, making Scott something of a trailblazer in paving the introductory foundation to the laws of attraction. In addition to this, Nicky is a little boy of ambiguous ethnicity. As a man of color raising children myself, this is important and even more of a gem when hinging a plot on new-age thinking. Overall, this is a satisfying read for both children and adults.