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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Light in My Hands by Jim West is the perfect bedtime story to quell any fear of the dark. It’s bedtime and Maya knows it’s time to go to sleep but there’s one big problem: she’s afraid of the dark! Every time the light goes out for the night, she is scared of the dark. Who knows how many creepy crawlies are lurking around her room that she can’t see? Even her father’s bedtime stories don’t make her fears go away. To help her conquer these, he teaches her a special trick. He captures light from the stars and puts it in her hands while she sleeps. But there’s a catch: she can’t let go and she can’t peek at the light. When she wakes up, she discovers that she’s done just that but her father teaches her a valuable lesson that helps soothe her worries.
The story is clever in that it breaks down what Maya is afraid of. She is not simply afraid of the dark but rather the creepy crawlies that could be in the dark. This creates an engaging conversation starter that will help children understand precisely what they fear. The story provides a unique tool for conquering this fear and shows the bond between child and parent as her dad devises a way to help her feel safe and comforted. This dynamic is endearing and wholesome, capturing the genuine love and protection of a father. The story reads as a source of reassurance that will set children’s minds at ease and would make a wonderful addition to a bedtime routine. Jim West creates a useful tool for parents to engage in conversations with children about their fears and perhaps give them a way to lessen them. The illustrations by Jill Leonard give the story’s tone much charm with gentle details and imagery that captures the fear of a child such as shadowy monsters. The Light in My Hands is highly recommended to parents as a great resource to discuss children's fears.