Author: Justine Edward
Illustrator: Karl Gabriel (7 year-old diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder)
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Balboa Press
Number of pages: 28
Recommended age: 3 to 7
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Shine is a children’s picture book with a BIG difference. Written by Justine Edward, an educator and mother with over a decade of experience, this series of empowering affirmations, written in gentle prose, will engage and entertain young children.
Seven year old Karl Gabriel is the illustrator. Diagnosed with ASD at age three, his beautiful crayon drawings breathe life into the central message of the book: “You can overcome whatever is going on around you if you believe in the light that lives within you”.
Shine is a way to start a conversation, a vehicle for affirming the values of self-love and self-acceptance and an opportunity to share with young children the most important message of all: believe in yourself and you will succeed!
1. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I thought the pictures were good. I think the little boy is a good artist for his age.
2. What is your favorite part of the book? I liked all of it.
3. What is the main message in the book? The message in the book is that there is something special about each person.
4. What are some of the things that make you shine/special? I’m really good at baseball and playing Super Mario Galaxy. I’m really good at Math too. I also help my Mommy around the house without her asking like putting the recycling away and the dishes in the cupboards.
5. Overall, what did you think about this book and who do you think would like it? I think this book is good for kids, espcially young kids. I think the pictures are good for kids, but the words are good for everyone. I would give 5 stars for the words and 4 stars for the pictures.
Son Rating: ★★★★½
Son Rating: ★★★★½
“There is a light within you
It shines just like the sun
Warm and joyful and radiant
Surprising and vibrant and fun”
My Thoughts: There is something magical about this special little picture book. Shine uses rhyming verses conjuring up beautiful imagery of that special light that shines within each and every individual. These images are captured in the charming hand-drawn pictures provided by 7 year-old Karl Gabriel, who both illustrated Shine as well as provided the inspiration for the author in penning this sweet book.
Shine is all about positive affirmations and self-esteem building in children. Children are encouraged to look within themselves and see the light that guides them when they are feeling discouraged, sad,or frightened and to draw strength from that light. I love this simple concept and I think that even young children can grasp the metaphor of the “light within you” as a source of strength and empowerment. In this respect, I’m reminded of the book, How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer who also used a memorable metaphor (for being kind) to teach children a valuable life lesson.
The illustrations are provided by a 7 year-old boy who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My son commented that he didn’t particularly appreciate the pictures in the book. However, that being said, we did spend a lot of time talking about the pictures, talking about what Karl was trying to capture in his pictures, and discussing how the meaning behind the text actually fits with the pictures. At the end of the day, the text and illustrations stimulated a lively discussion and provided an opportunity to discuss many issues including self-esteem and identifying things about yourself that make you unique or special; and we also discussed what life may be like for children diagnosed with Autism and their families.
My Bottom Line: Shine moved me – it is a heartwarming picture book focused on developing self-esteem and empowering children and it is sweetly illustrated by a special little boy. I think this would be a great book to read and discuss with children at home, preschool, kindergarten, or at library reading time. I recommend it for children aged 2+.
About the Author: Justine Edward
Justine Edward is a mother of three, educator and author. She lives in Australia where she enjoys baking, spending time on the beach with her family, and reading books. Justine wrote Shine to give voice to children who struggle to be heard. Her desire is to encourage her readers to believe in themselves while also developing compassion, acceptance and understanding of others.
About the Illustrator: Karl Gabriel
Shine was inspired and illustrated by 7 year old Karl Gabriel. Karl was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was three years old. His drawings are full of love and light and will engage the youngest of readers. To read Karl’s story please visit the Shine Children’s Website.
** Contest: Win a Brand New Kindle Paperwhite **
Enter With Two Easy Steps:
1. Purchase Shine (paperback only) by Justine Edward from Amazon.
2. Post a review on Amazon before November 30, 2013.
* Terms and Conditions:
1) First entry must be purchased in paperback (not kindle or ebook editions) from Amazon.com or Amazon.uk between 12/09/13-30/11/13.
2) Multiple enteries are accepted. After purchasing the book in paperback & posting a review, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and attach any subesquent invoices/receipts from purchases (can be kindle or ebook editions). Each invoice/receipt equals 1 additional entry.
2) Review must be posted on Amazon.com or Amazon.uk before 30th November 2013 (note: reviews can take up to 48 hours to appear)
3) Review must be an ‘Amazon verified purchase – format paperback’ meaning that the paperback book was purchased from Amazon
4) Winner will be announced on Amazon (via comment on review) on 2nd December 2013.
5) Prize is one, all-new Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi, High Resolution, High Contrast, Next-Gen Built-in Light6″ display, Wi-Fi
6) Winner must contact me and supply delivery address so that kindle can be sent direct.
* We were given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for our honest opinions. The author has opted to participate in our Book Promotion Program where we will tweet and share information about this book, the author, and the giveaway.*