Grow Through It!, by Jay Dee | Dedicated Review
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The Children’s Book Review | June 1, 2020
Written by Jay Dee
Illustrated by Jacob Chalkley, Darren Geers, Feras Khagani, Mike Shaposhnikov, Ishmam Ahmed, and Axel Schmidt
Age Range: 5+
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kraine Kreative (May 17, 2020)
What to expect: Positive Mindset and Acts of Kindness
A collaborative effort created by author Jay Dee and seven illustrators during the COVID-19 pandemic, Grow Through It! is a picture book that encourages and demonstrates a positive mindset for facing tough times. All of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Ellen has learned that her school has been closed, she will have to stay home, and she won’t be able to see her friends for quite some time. She feels angry and then sad. Her mom acknowledges her feelings beautifully and then provides her with the following option: “You can GET through it, or you can GROW through it.” As the story unfolds, readers will discover that, along with Ellen, time can be passed by getting through the day, or time can be spent becoming better versions of ourselves.
Enhanced by the varying artists’ unique illustrations, Jay Dee has provided great comparisons to show what getting vs. growing through it looks like. “Getting through” the day often means doing the same activities over and over, while “growing through it” actions provide opportunities for self-fulfillment—activities that involve giving, kindness, sharing, and caring. These positive behaviors can lead to happiness not only for ourselves but for others around us. This book provides an uplifting and positive message and also offers plenty of ideas that readers can act upon immediately, such as baking cookies for a neighbor, sending snail mail letters or drawings to friends and family, or donating piggy bank money or unused toys to those in need.
The author acknowledges that there are days when all we can do is get through it, and that’s okay! The more we practice growing through it, the easier it becomes—an essential message for both young and old delivered in a picture book perfect for the times.
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About the Author
Jay Dee is an author, a certified coach, and the freshly crowned video chat expert for his nieces and nephews. As the coronavirus lockdown seemed to put life on pause, he was inspired to create a book that reminded kids (and himself!) that even days spent sheltering in place are opportunities to grow. Jay lives in San Francisco and is the author of the bestseller, The Night Before The Night Before Christmas. Find his other books at www.krainekreative.com.
Jacob Chalkley is UX Designer based out of San Francisco, CA. His passions include music, movies, and making sure his portfolio is 5yrs out of date. His previous achievements include runner-up for student council president for Van Buren Elementary 1996, perfect attendance award for Plainfield Middle School in 1999, and achieving a bowling score of 132 in 2018. He has been using his lockdown time to prepare for his firstborn son due May 27th. He hopes to be a frontrunner for “World’s Best Dad” in 2020.
Having an interest in drawing ever since he picked up a book about how to draw Marvel Superheroes, Feras Khagani has continued to practice illustration well into his adult life. He loves to spend his time exploring art, books, movies, games, and YouTube essays. He’s both excited and grateful to contribute to a project aimed at helping others in need, and prays that everyone stays safe! He also wants to thank the brave medical experts and essential workers that are keeping our society going in this pandemic. His work can be found under his name on Instagram.
Ishmam Ahmed is an illustrator, engineer, and writer based in Minneapolis, MN. He got his start as a kid who got in trouble for doodling in the middle of science class. He’s now well-known for his power portraits and digital paintings on ishmam.deviantart.com and recently fulfilled his long-time dream of illustrating for a children’s book. When he’s not hammering out his next creative project, which can eventually be found on ishmam.com, he’s reading novels in his hammock, biking around the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, or cooking up a curry.
Axel Schmidt is an illustrator based out of the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a random connection was made through an unlikely forum that presented the opportunity to participate in this project. While never his goal nor intention for his art, many people who viewed his work often commented that he should do illustrations for children’s books. So he made the jump to the realm where many people felt his talents should already be. By day, he is a Project Manager in the renewable energy world and when not working or illustrating, he can often be found biking, hiking or camping in the great PNW trails and mountains. His work can be seen at www.adsillustrations.com
Mike Shaposhnikov is an illustrator and character designer based in Moscow, Russia.
He is bringing his vision of a fantasy world to life through games, children’s book or animation projects, and creating original character designs in free time.
He is mainly active on kolgarave.deviantart.com
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