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Reviewed by Kayleigh Perumal for Readers' Favorite
The Magic in Metaphor: Empowering Children Through Healing Stories by Harley Sears is an anthology of 25 stories for young readers. Each allegorical story has been crafted carefully to support children's emotional and social development. Most of the characters are animals that are not only relatable but also very endearing. The book examines many pertinent themes thoroughly, including how to communicate well, deal with bullying, embrace differences and diversity, cope with peer pressure, regulate emotions (such as anxiety and anger), and have positive self-esteem (confidence and acceptance). It also teaches children the values of empathy, friendship, bravery, compassion, listening, respect, responsibility, teamwork, honesty, patience, and paying attention. However, Sears goes even further than this and even provides guidance on the contemporary safety risks of technology using the story of Proxy’s addiction to his tablet. Two other uncommon topics he addresses are bedwetting (in Squeaky’s Sleep Solution) and picky eating (in The Four Food Fairies).
The Magic in Metaphor provides practical guidance for readers, including parents, teachers, counselors, and caregivers. It contains suggested activities, along with step-by-step instructions. These detailed activities include journaling, writing, drawing, arts and crafts, role-playing, and problem-solving. After each story, there are helpful and engaging discussion prompts and conversation-starters to reflect on the story further and aid in the child’s comprehension. Harley Sears’s book is a helpful resource that aims to foster children’s emotional well-being and personal growth by mirroring real-life situations and providing tools to cope. The magical illustrations done by Midjourney, an artificial intelligence application, also complement the stories beautifully.