Picture Book Review: Willow Finds a Way, by Lana Button and Tania Howells (Illustrations)


Willow Finds a Way, by Lana Button and Tania Howells (Illustrations)

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press (March 1, 2013)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 5 of 5 stars


Willow is thrilled the whole class — including her! — is invited to
classmate Kristabelle’s fantastic birthday party, until the bossy
birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross
her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow’s story offers a
unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.

About the Author:

I was born in the tiny border town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick in
1968. Growing up, I dreamed of becoming an actress and I took any
opportunity to perform, which included acting in local plays and singing
in local contests. When I wasn’t stalking the high school drama
teacher I was babysitting for local families. I’ve always had a love for
children and have had a knack for working with them.

After high school I moved to Montreal where I studied
Theatre Performance at Concordia University. Two years into my studies I
was offered a job on a TV show and left school to pursue my dreams. I
eventually moved to Vancouver where I did some TV work, a movie, and
many, many waitressing shifts! In between acting gigs and waitressing I
fueled my longing to be around young children by working part time in
childcare centres.

My desire to work with children led me to an Early Childhood
Education Course where I officially fell in love with the magic of
picture books. It became for me the perfect way to express my creativity
and my passion for children. I was married in 1992 and moved to
Maryland where I began my career in Childcare. When my first daughter
arrived in 1994 I spent her nap time writing stories.

I’ve enjoyed 20 years of working with young children in preschool
and childcare settings. My passion for early childhood education led me
to freelance writing for various parenting magazines. But my love of
picture books has led me to a career in writing for young children.

I now live in Burlington, Ontario with my husband and our three
beautiful daughters. When I am not writing I love to spend time sharing
stories and sharing my writing experiences with children.


About the Artist:

Website | Blog

My Thoughts:

Bullying is a hot topic these days, and I am glad this issue is
receiving so much attention.  Willow Finds a Way is a great story for
every child about a very realistic and common form of bullying in
younger children.

Willow is scared. She worries about being the next
victim, until she takes action and shows leadership. Not only does she
remove the threat of herself being bullied, but she also undermines the
bully’s control over the rest of their classmates. She provides a
solution to the problem and an out for all the other children.

The artwork is simple, colorful, and expressive. Children will be able
to relate to this realistic portrayal of bullying in the lower grades of


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  • Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I am glad this handles the topic of bully well, and its never too early to start teaching kids.

  • Reply
    Adriana (BooksOnHerMind)
    April 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I like the way the author went about this story. I wonder what she thinks about someone inviting only close friends to their birthday party but not the rest of the class. I remember somewhere that sometimes teachers make you invite the whole class. I wonder if she thinks that's bullying.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2013 at 2:29 am

      I've never heard of teachers getting involved with a private birthday party. That would be really weird! Ha ha, you never know. It probably happens.

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