Bear Outside written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jen Corace, published by Neal Porter Books.
As the cover depicts, this is a story about a little girl who loves herself. And a big part of herself is the bear she imagines encompassing her when she most feels the need for protection, comfort, and fun.
The young girl narrates the story confidently describing daily life with her bear. She needn't be afraid of bullies or riding her bike alone or trying to roller-skate for what looks like the first time.
Jane Yolen's text celebrates a child's imagination as a powerful tool to self-protect and to gain confidence and strength. The last lines (that I won't give away) illustrate this perfectly.
With a subtle color palette and images almost vintage-looking, Jen Corace creates an engaging world of diverse and multi-generational characters.
The young girl in this book imagines a big bear surrounding her to keep her safe and feeling strong. What animal comes to your mind that you would consider safe and strong?
Describe this animal in words or in pictures.
What other traits does this animal have that you appreciate? Is it soft? Is it bigger or smaller than you are? Can it do something that you wish you could do? Imagine what else.
Now, imagine yourself just as safe and strong, with or without this animal :)