What Can I Say? book review

What Can I Say? A Kid’s Guide to Super-Useful Social Skills to Help You Get Along and Express Yourself by Catherine Newman and illustrated by Debbie Fong
160 pages
published May 24th, 2022

Middle school is an essential time to learn and practice social skills, including how to get along with others, talk about hard things, be an ally, and a good friend. In What Can I Say?, Catherine Newman, author of the bestseller How to Be a Person, provides supportive guidance and instruction to help kids establish or and maintain meaningful relationships and effective communication with friends, teachers, family members, and others in their communities. Talking the talk can be tricky, and every page of this super-useful book provides easy, accessible scripts and guidance on the right thing to say in all kinds of situations, from how to be inclusive, listen, give advice, argue, stick up for yourself, and ask for help to how to turn down a date, express sympathy, deal with offensive comments, respond to bullying, and be trustworthy. Humorous, graphic-style illustrations that play our familiar scenarios reenforce Newman’s friendly, non-judgmental tone and her commitment to helping kids develop the skills to express themselves clearly while showing empathy, care, and generosity towards others.

This is a fantastic little book of guidelines for social situations, accompanied by cute and simple illustrations. Included in this book are lessons on how to be a good friend, how to listen, and how to be an ally, as well as express sympathy and understand empathy. Additionally, there is a guide on how to use pronouns and how to be inclusive! There’s a “pop quiz” at the end of each chapter to kind of go over what you’ve learned, which is nice. I think this is a great book to have in a middle grade library. Five stars. Bookshop link here.

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