“Riley’s Really Big Worries” by Dr. Donna Housman

“Riley’s Really Big Worries” by Dr. Donna Housman 892 1024 Reader Views Kids

Riley’s Really Big Worries

Dr. Donna Housman
Brown Books Pub Group (2023)
ISBN: 978-1612546537
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (01/2024)

I’m gonna wash those germs right off of my hands, I’m gonna wash those worries right out of my mind, and send them on their way!– p. 28

Opening this read is a large town map on the front inner pages.  Immediately it gives readers a sense of the world they are about to enter, exposing young readers to maps and understanding.  Author Dr. Donna Housman has crafted every aspect of this book in a specific and thoughtful way.  Having spent her career in early education and childhood development, it is unsurprising that she applies this to her book endeavors as well.

Having founded the Housman Institute, Dr. Donna Housman believes it is easier to prevent than repair, with an emotional, cognitive, and social early learning approach (ECSEL).  This approach, which she utilizes throughout “Riley’s Really Big Worries,” promotes a positive and healthy sense of self to help avoid issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even suicide.

“Riley’s Really Big Worries” is part of the ECSELend Adventures series.  With otter siblings Hemmy and Shemmy as the face of the series, there are other friends and family throughout, such as Riley. This series seeks to use the ECSEL approach to promote childhood self-esteem, image, and emotional skills.  Centered around familiar childhood encounters and feelings, Dr. Housman’s stories seek to relate and educate.

Riley’s worries in “Riley’s Really Big Worries” stem from germs.  Something adults and kids alike can relate to after the fears of COVID, the annual flu worries, and the general germs of school, home, or daycare.  In this read, Riley gets snuffleplox from all the germs, everywhere, invisible trying to get inside his body.  Even with his mom’s reassurance that not all germs are bad he can’t help but worry about them all out there, everywhere, invisible, and scary.

Through this book, we learn that everyone has worries, big, small, and in between, and sharing them can help.  Readers get some great methods to help when they are feeling worried, like taking deep breaths, talking about it, and thinking of ways to solve the worry.  We see the outcomes of using these methods on Riley’s worries and learn great coping mechanisms both parents and children can apply to their fears, worries, and anxieties. Dr. Housman does a phenomenal job taking on a complex and relevant topic and giving readers a story they can relate to and learn from. 

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