“A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais

“A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais 1000 1000 Reader Views Kids

A Chance to Love

Jestina Hodge-Pais
Independently Published (2023)
ISBN: 979-8387052620
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles (09/2023)

“A Chance to Love,” by Jestina Hodge-Pais, illustrated by Annabelle Zhang, is a warm, helpful children’s book with a great big message for young readers: children everywhere want and need to be heard, especially children living in single-parent homes. Meet Kiconco, who will be celebrating her 10th birthday with a party. Most of her family will be there, and she likes spending time with them, but who she really wants to spend time with is her dad, who never visits her or has contact with her. She feels lonely and unhappy because of it.

Right away you know that Kiconco’s story will resonate with young readers going through similar situations, so this book would be great for counselors, educators, and of course children and their parents who can relate. Some children don’t receive heart-to-heart conversations about why families break up, so it can be a confusing and unhappy time for them. This book can help ease the anxiety and pain a child feels when they find themselves with a single parent and missing out on the absent parent. 

Hodge-Pais has created a thoughtful self-help book for children, and possibly for parents too. Children learn a lot from books, and this one will go a long way in helping them understand that they aren’t alone, that their feelings are real, and that they have a right to feel them. Sometimes children blame themselves, so this book will help them see that they aren’t to blame and that families come in all shapes, sizes, and situations, and that everyone messes up, even parents, and things can, in some cases, get better. The author writes from personal experience, which makes this book even more meaningful and honest.

Young children and parents will connect with this story. Parental neglect, failure to co-parent, and alienation aren’t easy things to write about, but this author does it very well, and these tough subjects should be addressed. As a former social worker, I agree with the author’s approach: if a child is living a certain situation, they deserve the opportunity to have it addressed, to have the opportunity to express themselves, and to know that there are others living the same things. The illustrations are cute, endearing, and appropriate for the text. The book could make you cry and break your heart in some places, but it definitely helps you see and feel how badly children miss out on having a father around. Though sad at times to read about a child believing her dad doesn’t love her, it does have a happy ending. If you’re looking for an empathetic story that will touch the hearts of children living in single-parent homes, “A Chance to Love” by Jestina Hodge-Pais, is a book you must have and share.

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