Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Halle Takes a Stand: When You Want to Fit In (Children's Book Review)

Peer Pressure.  It's something that, if we are honest with ourselves, we have all faced whether it was something as simple as pretending to like a movie you really hated or as complex as making a decision that was life altering for you or for someone else - perhaps in the most negative way - just to fit in.  We all want to be included.  No one really likes to be ignored or mocked.  Peer pressure is something we usually associate with kids but it is an adult issue too.  This book is written for children but adults could learn a lesson from it as well.  Halle Takes a Stand:  When You Want to Fit In is a good literary resource for your child's library.  Halle Takes a Stand is a story created by Jocelyn Flenders, a homeschool mom who is also a writer and editor in Philadelphia.  Jocelyn graduated from Lancaster Bible College.  Her background includes intercultural studies and counseling.  Halle Takes a Stand is part of her first published work for children, the Good News for Little Hearts series.

Halle Takes a Stand - When You Want to Fit In

My review is based on the 2020 version of Halle Takes a Stand, edited by Paul David Tripp and illustrated by Joe Hox.  

The Good News for Little Hearts series is based on the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation's model of help and hope.  Each story focuses on a real life issue with the goal of encouraging young readers to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.  These stories connect the Bible to issues children often face, helping them to follow Jesus when faced with challenging circumstances.  The focal Bible verse for Halle Takes a Stand is Proverbs 29:25.

Halle Takes a Stand

 If you are afraid of people, it will trap you.  But if you trust in the Lord, He will keep you safe.  Proverbs 29:25

Halle Takes a Stand:  When You Want to Fit In

This cute but important story is about a little hedghog named Halle.  Halle is faced with challenging circumstances at school where she makes a poor decision in order to fit in with her peer group.  Halle's decision hurts her friend, Freya the frog.  When Mr. Owl, the teacher, overhears the group at lunch, he confronts Halle about her choice and sends a note home to Halle's parents.  

Halle Takes a Stand
Halle almost blames her poor choice on a classmate, but then decides to take responsibility for her own actions.  This is another lesson to be learned in this story.  

After dinner, Halle gives her parents the note from Mr. Owl and tells them what happened at school earlier that day.  Halle could have hidden the note or lied about what happened but she tells her Mama and Papa the truth.  

Halle's parents could have been angry with her.  They could have punished her harshly but instead, they discuss the situation with Halle in a way that helps her understand how her decision hurt her friend.  Her mom shares her own childhood story about a time when she was humiliated by the actions of another.  Papa shares with Halle that Jesus wants her (all of us) to walk in His example of friendship and love.

"Doing the right thing is not easy.  But the Great Book (the Bible) says that Jesus welcomes the friendless to His table.  He welcomes those who are different.  He wants us to walk in this same love." - Papa Hedgehog

Halle's parents help her see how her fear of her peer trapped her into a poor decision that hurt someone else.  They also remind her that Jesus forgives when we ask Him and then they pray with Halle.

The next day, Halle makes the right decision regarding her peer group and the friend she hurt.  Her wise choice results in a little bit of an unexpected ending.  

After the story, parents will find a section designed to help them help their children with peer pressure. There are 8 points of interest, one of which is a warning against placing our trust in the wrong person.  We should never put our peers in the place of God in our lives.  When Halle placed her peer in God's place in her life, she was trapped into making the wrong choice which resulted in hurt. This is a lesson for adults as well.  

In the back of the book, there are four perforated Back Pocket Bible Verse Cards.  Children can place these cards in their pockets so they'll have them available for encouragement when faced with challenging peer pressure type circumstances.

You might also like: Zoe's Hiding Place 

Zoe's Hiding Place

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