The Go Aways

Finding your place to belong because everyone belongs somewhere

Children - Social Issues
34 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite

The Go Aways is an exceptional children’s book written by Tami Hicks and illustrated by Alla Vasilenko. It will appeal to children and young adults who love illustrations. The book is about RC, a cloud that’s different from other clouds. Clouds play with the children by transforming into beautiful animals, but when RC tries to transform, he rains instead. This made the children run away, causing other clouds to hate him. One day, while trying to transform, he rained as usual, and other clouds shouted at him to “GO AWAY.” A gust of wind appeared and banished him to another land where RC's story takes a gripping turn. Will he ever be accepted for who he is? RC will go through events that will either further sink his self-esteem or boost it.

The Go Aways by Tami Hicks is timely learning material for children’s benefit. We say “Catch them young,” and I opine that it shouldn’t only be about honing their skills but their confidence, self-esteem, and character building. This book teaches that! I picked up from this book that it’s okay to be different because, regardless of my flaws, I’m relevant somewhere. I learned that I should never shrink but be optimistic and see only the best in myself because I can go as far as my mindset. The descriptive tools like pictures and writing style are commendable as they will keep children glued. There’s a unique depth to the plot which makes it stand out. Tami Hicks has written a powerful book, and I’d love to read more of her works.

Jack Magnus

The Go Aways: Finding Your Place to Belong Because Everyone Belongs Somewhere is a children’s educational picture book written by Tami Hicks and illustrated by Alla Vasilenko. The clouds loved to transform themselves into the shapes of animals and delighted in the surprised and happy faces of the kids who recognized the giraffes, dogs, and other animals they resembled. It was grand fun until RC floated overhead. RC also loved to change shapes, and one of his favorites was a big dog, but every time he changed, he began to rain. The rain would come down in drenching sheets and scare the children away. The clouds would get so angry and disappointed. They’d shout at RC to just go away. And, one day, a huge wind came up and blew RC far, far away. Where had he ended up? RC was frightened, as anyone blown off course and landing in a strange desert would be, but he soon discovered that he had found the one place where he belonged.

Tami Hicks’ The Go Aways is an enchanting fable about being different and finding a supportive place where you belong. Each of the Go Aways was rejected and bullied because they were different. It’s marvelous to see how RC reacts upon meeting each of the inhabitants of the desert of Go Away, where their unique skills, attributes, and abilities are seen as useful and special. Alla Vasilenko’s watercolor illustrations are exceptionally well done. Her masterful use of washes makes those cloud pictures, vivid skies, and desert scenes come to life. Each panel merits careful inspection and appreciation. I loved the inclusive and warm story and found the environmental message to be a big plus. This is an ideal selection for storytime, and the storyline offers caregivers an opportunity to discuss bullying, being different, and belonging after the story is finished. It’s also written at a level appropriate for young readers to try on their own. The Go Aways: Finding Your Place to Belong Because Everyone Belongs Somewhere is most highly recommended.

Asher Syed

The Go Aways, written by Tami Hicks and illustrated by Alla Vasilenko, is a children's picture book that focuses its story around acceptance and belonging. The book begins with a rain cloud named RC who has the best of intentions when he tries to join in with the other clouds as they change shape for two children lying on the grass below. Naturally, the children are put off by the rain and because the fun ends for the clouds as well, they shout to RC to go away. A wind assists with this task and RC is taken to a location called GO AWAY where he soon meets other sentient creatures who have been brought to the community after having its titular phrase shouted at them. As RC takes comfort in this newfound acceptance and is able to contribute to the community in a meaningful way, a dark danger lurks in the night that could spell the end for another newly found addition to the Go Aways.

Tami Hicks has somehow created a fresh twist to a genre where it seems every conceivable theme has been rehashed a hundred different times. It's rare to find something fresh and new, and The Go Aways delivers on this front. The message is excellent and as a parent to a young girl who often finds herself in the minority, these are the children's books that need to be written. The absolute star of this book is the illustrations by Alla Vasilenko who proves herself to be an exceptionally talented artist. Every image Vasilenko has created is brimming with color and life and beauty. With a primary palette softened to a watercolor effect, the environment which represents both the characters and what they are feeling alternate beautifully. My favorite is a confrontation between the Go Aways and an unwelcome outsider that is gloriously terrifying and is exactly the caliber of illustrations that elevates the entire book into the five-star arena.