Irene's Picture Book Reviews

Hope is an Open Heart

Posted on: June 27, 2010

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth

       
       Title: Hope Is an Open Heart
       Author: Laurie Thompson                
       Reading Level: Ages 4 – 8
       Hardcover: 32 pages
       Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2008
       ISBN: 978-0-545-03737-2                          
       
    
      
       Lauren Thompson’s book is an uplifting book about hope. We’ve all had
       days when we felt hopeless. Hope sometimes seemed to be so far away, and
       the world was cold and dark. Thankfully, hope can come to us in many
       different ways. And Thompson illustrates this excellently in her wonderfully
       crafted book.

       Thompson’s book was motivated after the September 11, 2001 attacks on
       the World Trade Center. She had to help her four year old son feel safe
       again in his city and in the world. She wanted him to realize that while bad
       things sometimes happen, the world is nonetheless a good place to be, full of
       people who want to help. Thompson also wanted to let her son know that it
       was okay to feel scared, sad and mad about the September 11th attacks. Those
       feelings are part of being human.

       As Thompson was helping her son rekindle hope, she did the same for
       herself. That experience is what inspired her to write this book she. She came
       to realize that hope is a contagious feeling that can be transmitted to others.
       All the people illustrated in the book suffered some major losses, some
       from Hurricane Katrina and others from the tsunami of December 2004.
       Each of the picture’s illustrate how an individual can derive hope after losing
       everything.

       Thompson believes that by opening our hearts often, crying when we need
       to, giving a hug or a helping hand when we can, we nurture hope in ourselves
       and in others. And that makes the world a better place for all of us. After all,
       hope is always inside of each of us, waiting for us to nurture it and let it
       unfold. We just need to pay attention to it and let it motivate our actions and
       attitudes, despite the violence and hardship that our world gives us.

       Thompson shows that although hope seems to be far away sometimes, it’s
       always there if we only reach for it. It will be there to support us one way or
       another. What a great message to pass along to our kids! 

       If there is something that our young kids don’t have as much of as previous
       generations is hope. Our kids today are sad, mad, and upset. The world
       throws so many unfortunate events and disasters their way that they can’t 
       help but feel dismayed. But hope is merely a smile and a helping hand away. 
       And we could make the world a better place by reaching out to others.

       My niece and I loved the book. The book wonderfully illustrates the
       sadness and loneliness of hopelessness and the elation and joy of hopefulness.
       My six year old niece promises to exude a hopeful attitude to all those around
       her, especially those who are struggling from afflictions or misfortunes.
      
       About the author: Lauren Thompson is the author of several New York
       Times bestselling children’s books, including the much-beloved Little
       Quack series and the award-winning picture book Polar Bear Night. 

       She is also the author of The Apple Pie that Papa Baked
       Ballerina Dreams: A true Story. Lauren lives in Brooklyn, 
       New York, with her husband, and their son, Owen. 
       
       
        ~ Irene

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