What Book Makes YOU Feel Finally Seen?

Read Book Joy From Kids All Over America!

We asked kids "What book makes YOU feel FINALLY SEEN?" and here were their responses...

Best Friends

By Hazel, Age 10

Best Friends by Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham made me feel like I was finally seen. This book was written about Shannon’s childhood. She dealt with anxiety and felt like talking with her friends was a minefield. One wrong step and the friendship would blow up. She always tried to say the right thing so that she didn’t mess up her friendship with them. I feel the same way, sometimes. Like you’re going down a rollercoaster, but scarier. She had a group of friends, and if she messed it up, she’d lose all of them. I too have a group of friends, so if I mess it up, I’ll lose all my friends.

I also sometimes have anxiety about certain things like being late to school and getting stuff in on-time.

This book helped me realize that you can choose your own path, even if it means splitting up from your friends. Don’t be afraid to show your voice. Make yourself heard. Be heard and be proud of that. I was finally seen by reading this book.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, even if it means you won’t be with the people you love hanging out with.

Amina’s Thread

By Pahel, Age 11

Last year, author Aisha Saeed came to my school to discuss window and mirror books. All my life, I’ve felt like I’ve been reading window books. Sure, the characters shared some characteristics with me, but I’ve never truly felt like I saw myself spun into the thread of a story before. Until I picked up Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, that is. As my eyes danced across the book’s pages, I felt like I was staring at a mirror, watching myself pirouette through an intricately woven story full of passion, hope, and family. Amina became my sister – I felt like I had known her forever. She allowed me to see all of myself, not just tattered patches of fabric. In addition to showing me who I truly am, Amina acts like the light guiding me on the path. She nurtures the heart and mind, making me feel like one of the many threads of the finest silk, woven together with careful fingertips. The author produced an absolutely compelling story to take in chapter by chapter: like a stunning gown exquisitely stitched by a sophisticated seamstress. With Amina’s story, I feel more than seen. I feel understood and accepted.

The Hate U Give

By Taylor, age 13

The novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas makes me feel seen. In the book, Starr attends a white school with primarily white friends. People at her school and neighborhood make fun of her for the people she hangs around. Starr forms two personalities in fear of upsetting anyone. Starr eventually learns that she shouldn’t care how people look at her and judge her, her two personalities form one. She talks the way she wants to talk and does what she wants to do and nobody says anything about it because they’re her friends who don’t care about how she expresses herself. I relate to this because I used to be like this. This book helped me understand and realize that I should always be myself.

This book helped me understand and realize that I should always be myself.

At the end of the book, when her two worlds collide, she realizes that she can truly be herself and shouldn’t care what other people think. 

New From Here

By Eliana, Age 10

Have you ever felt like you can really connect with a book? The book I can connect called, New from Here, is about a boy moving from Hong Kong to escape much of the risk of the new virus. I am 10 years old and, like Knox, faced some of the many challenges of the covid pandemic, including online school, and the fear of getting sick. When my teacher announced that we were doing online school, tension formed in the air. I felt the same way Knox did when he stepped off the plane. What was going to happen to us after? To our families? When Breonna Taylor was killed, the news shocked the world. Racism is something we should all work to end.

That’s why, when I read New from Here, I feel finally seen.

Nat Enough

By Adam, age 12

Maria Scrivan’s book, Nat Enough made me feel “finally seen” because I have always felt a little out of place from my friends and classmates.  I have felt like I am not interested in things that are “cool” or popular, instead I am part of the progressive activist community.  Like Nat, at the beginning of middle school, one of my friends “ghosted me,” because she wanted to be cool and popular.  And just like Nat, I tried, and failed, to get her back.  It made for a challenging school year, but as I progressed, I built on my passion and started to find some other friends who were like me.

The things that I am interested in are not usually front and center in the minds of other children.  I particularly like to organize for progressive causes that are in my heart and really enjoy doing art for these causes. Nat’s love of art and her extreme focus while working on her art really spoke to me and made me feel seen.

Like Nat, when I started Middle School, one of my closest friends decided to “ghost me.”  That made starting middle school very stressful, and I couldn’t figure out why my friend no longer wanted to be around me.  Nat’s struggles with this, and her failed attempts to get her friend back, reflected my own experience like a mirror.

But just like Nat, I ultimately found my way through the ups and downs of middle school.  Like her, I became closer to other classmates who shared my interests.  We made art and appreciated each other’s talents. 

Finally Seen

By Emily, age 10

In the book, “Finally Seen” by Kelly Yang, I can really relate to Lina Gao. This book makes
me feel Finally Seen, because I feel just like Lina, in a different way. For example, Lina has
trouble with learning English. She’s scared to talk in class, afraid of making an incorrect
pronunciation or grammar mistake. I feel the same in Chinese class. I feel like I’m not good
enough at Chinese, like Lina. But we both try our best and end up doing really good!! Lina
speaks up in front of a huge crowd, I instead speak up as much as I can in front of my Chinese
class, (to learn as much as possible). But unlike Lina, I am not as scared of making a mistake.
But I still think “Will my classmates tease me?” “Will my teacher call me out?” “Will they think I’m
stupid?” These thoughts relate me to Lina. Both of us are scared of doing something incorrect,
while learning a new language. But, thankfully both of us in the end get over our fear and speak

Another example I feel like Lina is because we both feel very nervous starting a new school,
(understandably) but immediately make a new trusting friend. Lina’s immediate new friend is
Finn. Mine are Hannah, Alice, and Mikayla. Finn is very supportive and helpful to Lina. He tries
to help her fit in in any way. I feel the same way for Hannah, Alice, and Mikayla. They support
my ideas and activities, as I support theirs. They have been my good, good, friends for 5 long
years. Even though Finn sometimes doesn’t understand Lina, he tries to understand and help
her out. This is just like my friends. Sometimes they don’t understand my ideas, humor, and
lovable wacky-ness, but they make me feel just right at home and happy.

Another reason I feel Finally Seen is because both me and Lina meet an kind, supportive,
welcoming, and helpful teacher. That helps us out when we first start attending our new schools!
Lina’s kind, teacher was named Mrs. Carter. My helpful, kind, supportive, and welcoming
teacher was named Ms. Skolnik. Both our teachers understood us, and helped us when we
were having a problem in class. For example Lina’s teacher Mrs. Carter got her a private
English/ESL teacher, named Mrs. Ortiz, when she felt Lina needed help. Mrs. Ortiz helped Lina
learn English, one word at a time. I’m similar like this because when I had a problem, my
teacher would always make time for me, to teach me. And every year at my school Anderson so
far, my teachers, Ms. Skolnik, Ms. G, Ms. Lerman, Ms. Levine, and Ms. Kang, have helped me if
I was ever confused, or needed help. Many thanks to my wonderful teachers and Lina’s
wonderful teachers.

Lastly, me and Lina are similar because books are our sliding door, or window, to us and we
feel strongly about writing stories and reading books. Lina hates mistreatment towards books
because she really connects to the books. One book “Flea Shop” is really meaningful to Lina.
She feels just like the girl in the book, Cat. And even without knowing that much English she can
still understand the book because it’s a Graphic Novel! Which means it’s full of pictures to help
her understand English. After reading the Graphic Novel, Lina decided to write her own, to
share her life with her grandmother, Lao Lao. I like to write stories for fun and to share with my
family and friends. I write Fiction stories rather than Nonfiction, but even then, both me and Lina
like writing stories. As for reading, I could read for hours like Lina couldn’t stop reading “Flea
Shop”! It makes me really happy to read, especially if it relates to me. Lina feels the same! She
loves “Flea Shop” because like Cat, she is teased but pushes through it. This is why “Finally
Seen” makes me feel Finally Seen.

Over the Moon

By Ayaana, Age 11

Over the Moon is a novel that shows courage and kindness. This book is about a girl named Mallie and how she wants to be a hero to her brother and her parents. Mallie has to be a maid at the Tumbrel’s house to earn feathersworth for her family. One day, the guardians came to take Mallie’s brother, Denver away. Denver would have to go back into those dark, dangerous mines. Mallie loved Denver though, and didn’t want him to get taken away. Luckily, Mallie found a flier that would save her brother, and would earn her family some money. The only problem was that Mallie was a girl. That didn’t stop her, even though girls weren’t really allowed to do these dangerous jobs. Fortunately, Mallie is also with her best friend, Adam, who will always be on her side. She also meets a star bird that Mallie names Leo, who is her true hero and ally. Mallie soon comes upon Honor Trumbel, who tries to hurt her and Adam. But nothing will ever stop Mallie, Not even Honor Tumbrel. Mallie is a brave person, and everyone believes that she will be able to save her little brother.

Connecting with Alec

By Vihaan, Age 8

The book that made me feel finally seen is Loser’s Club because some people call me a loser for my ideas. Also, I have gotten into fights and sometimes I get bullied. I can connect to Alec, when people call him a loser because of his book club and when he gets bullied by his friend Kent. Another connection is when people come to support me and when people came to Alec’s club to support him.

Prairie Lotus

By Rachel, Age 10

I connect with the book, Prairie Lotus. Prairie Lotus is about a girl Hanna who is determined to become a dressmaker for her father’s dress shop no matter what it takes. Hanna is successful and works hard in school, and at least wants to make one new friend. Hanna immigrated from Los Angeles to Dakota Territory after her mother passed away. Her father wanted a fresh start, and so they went to Dakota
Territory. Hanna was half Chinese and half white. People thought she was very different, but Hanna didn’t really do anything back to them. I relate to Prairie Lotus because I also have trouble making friends and I am determined to do what my goals and dreams are. I try to be the best I can in school. Sometimes, people think I’m really weird, or sometimes people think that I’m embarrassing, but to me, it doesn’t really matter.

Room to Dream

By James, Age 10

Because of many stories, I have felt finally seen, but Room to Dream takes the cake. This is a great story that I can relate to, because it is about Mia going to China to visit her parents, and she has to come through a lot of differences and obstacles so that she can get used to living in China. And although she struggles a lot, she also spends a lot of quality time with her cousins, including her favorite, Shen. She also thinks about her life in America and how it is different from life in China. Mia also notices that many small businesses are being replaced by larger buildings and businesses. Similarly, I have finally felt seen, because there are more books relating to my culture, like Room to Dream, and the book talks about some of her experiences in China as well. For example, Mia doesn’t know where the bathrooms are, and is confused at first, just like me. I also like writing, just like Mia. And just like Mia, I love going after my dreams, even if it’s not easy. That is why the book Room to Dream makes me feel finally seen.

Copyright Kelly Yang 2019
PARACUTES Art © Chung-Yun Yoo.