Children’s Book Review: I Can Handle It by Laurie Wright

A great book to help teach your kids how to come up with solutions to their emotional struggles

As a father of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old-going-on-14, I’m always on the look out for books that can teach my kids valuable life lessons. It’s tough to teach young children how to convey the feelings that they’re having. How do you explain the subtle difference between anger, frustration, and sadness to an emotional little human who’s just learned barely the difference between a circle and a square? Heck, even as an adult, I have a problem telling the difference between these emotions at times. Even more difficult is attempting to teach a child how to deal with these emotions in a constructive way.

Heck, even as an adult, I have a problem telling the difference between these emotions at times.

I Can Handle It by Laurie Wright presents about a dozen different scenarios in which the main character, Sebastien, is presented with something that’s frustrating, annoying, or that makes him sad. He thinks about ways that he can deal with his problems, and finishes with the mantra, “I can handle it!”

My daughters enjoyed the illustrations, and I think¬†that my 4-year-old may be grasping some of the concepts. Hey, every little push in the right direction helps! One thing I’d caution against, though — and something that’s been pointed out by more critical reviewers — is that some of the ways that Sebastien can “handle it” are a bit questionable. For example, running away from home and crying himself to sleep are presented as viable options for resolution. It’s clear to any discerning adult that the author was attempting to either plug in a little humor or perhaps present examples of bad ways to handle a situation. But, this isn’t made obvious in the text, and could be confusing to children. I’d recommend that the author make a slight tweak to the narrative to point out that these are not constructive solutions.

Despite that caveat, I Can Handle It is a great tool to help educate kids about their emotions and about ways to deal with the things that life will throw their way. Check it out on Amazon.com.


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