Amy Krause Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have collaborated on many delightful books. The OK Book is another of their quirky and insightful picture books that delivers a powerful message: sometimes “OK” is the channel to excellence not its enemy! Concise text is paired with illustrations that perfectly further the larger story without being preachy.
Rosenthal has an exceptional talent for capturing a simple premise and highlighting it in a way that makes readers think, “It’s obvious and so true. How did I miss that?
Lichtenheld’s brilliant and precise illustrations transform the letters O and K into a recognizable stick figure who serves as the main character. Simple, unexpected and very effective, these graphics bring the story to life!
Young children dream of being the best super hero, athlete, or most-liked friend. Their fantasies overflow with images of themselves shining above the competition. Such magical thinking rarely understands that it takes time consuming effort and practice to achieve such excellence. Much to their chagrin, they must work through the often-discouraging process–and hard work–of being a beginner who struggles and fails through multiple attempts. All too often, their spirits waiver and they give up. This book reinforces the idea that OK is the first step on the long road to expertise. As parents we work to encourage this attitude of perseverance while they march their way towards mastery.
AQ Lens: Many adopted children struggle with fears of rejection and of not being good enough. Some pursue perfectionism in a mistaken belief that it is the only way to prevent the loss of their adoptive family. After all, their first family rejected* them. Why couldn’t it happen again? This need to be perfect makes them fear failure. Although most kids hate the floundering feeling of being a beginner, for some adopted children this weakness feels threatening and unsafe. To ensure they always measure up, they tackle only what they know they can do well.
The OK Book is an excellent way to talk about the challenge and importance of the uphill journey from beginner to winner. It can help parents uncover their child’s hidden beliefs and fears. Too often kids infer that parental love is conditional on performance. This peek into their hearts and mind offers a wonderful chance for parents to reassure their child and become closer. These types of conversations help to build essential life skills: security and emotional literacy.
Bonus: the message of The OK Book is often one which parents also need to hear and remember.
*Adoptees yearn for frequent reassurance that their adoption did NOT result from the child’s inadequacies but from adult problems, lack of resources and capabilities.