Review: That Missing Feeling

That Missing Feeling
Author: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Illustrator: Morena Forza
Magination Press
Ages: 4-8 years old

Mia, a child whose parents have gone through a divorce, is now living in two households and feeling the typical effects of a child trying to understand what has happened:

Mia had that missing feeling a lot.

Sometimes that missing feeling
made her angry, and she yelled.

Sometimes that missing feeling
made her sad, and she cried.

Her Grandfather, sensitive to what was going on, introduced Mia to the practice of journaling; something he had employed very successfully since the death of Mia’s grandmother (who had passed before Mia was born. And, encourages Mia to “remember” in her notebooks.

Through the use of journaling, Mia catalogues and expresses her thoughts/emotions. She becomes less irritable and is able to more easily able to handle the new transitions.

That Missing Feeling, a nice (if somewhat simplistic) introduction to the concept of journaling, falls short of the standard usually set by Magination Press. Through implication a reader is free to infer that journaling could be a singular solution to the problems faced by children when navigating the complicated stressors and anxieties experienced in divorce. The language employed, is, at best, perfunctory and dramatically over-simplifies the situations (by necessity making them age appropriate) sometimes inadvertently marginalizing what children may experience. [Is it really necessary to point out that pets that are at different houses can no longer cuddle together? Yes, I know that it’s not really about the pets–why not say that instead?]

Particularly jarring are two examples: 1) Mia feels it necessary to keep a portrait of her entire family “tucked into a corner of her suitcase,” leading the reader to infer either shame or that a penalty would be associated with putting it “out;” and 2) a note in the back that reads “[y]our notebook is for you. If you want to read it with someone else, you can. But you don’t need to. This is your choice.”

As any parent can understand, especially in the four to eight-year-old age group, sometimes “choice” is simply not theirs. And, a book that establishes (or seeks to establish) explicit rights to journaling privacy in the eight and under cohort is ripe for causing unnecessary drama.

That Missing Feeling (Support an Independent Bookseller)*
That Missing Feeling (Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

My thanks to Magination Press for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

*When something is purchased using one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept any monies for any editorial reviews. Our opinions, to the chagrin of many, are our own.

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