Big Bear thinks they know how things are supposed to be for the cub:
Don’t run too fast.
Don’t get your feet wet.
Do what the “good” bears are doing.
Never stray from the traditional path.
But Big Bear’s got a cub on their paws that just wants to go their own way.
Free to explore.
Free to try new things.
Free to love and be joyful.
Free to take a different path.
Big Bear discovers it’s hard to love unconditionally when you weren’t raised that way. Parenting is a challenge when you’re glued to the past.
Now Big Bear has a choice: keep stuck in the old thinking they were taught, or see the world brand new through the eyes and actions of their cub.
You are creative and smart.
Your dreams are wild.
You refuse to be
a stay-in-place child!
There is a choice for Big Bear: reject their cub or learn that loving this unique little bear is a chance to experience the wonderful world in a fresh new way.
Will Big Bear change for the better?
The narrator in MY EXPANSION is a mama bear. She acknowledges to her cub that she is different from other cubs—she is not a follower but someone who does her own thing—and Mama admits that it may have taken her a while to realize this. She explains that she used to be rigid in her thinking by wanting her cub to be more like her, but in time she learned to listen to her cub and be more open-minded. In the end, she provides encouragement to her cub and tells her to never stop being who she is. Colorful illustrations, by Michelle Buvala, complement the narrative and lighten the mood while dealing with what has the potential for being sensitive subject matter.
Author Nancy Manet’s choice of casting animal characters in the story instead of humans is an interesting one and works well for a number of reasons. First, children seem to be fascinated with animals who take on human-like characteristics. Second, using animals creates a soft distance between the characters and what may be going on in the life of the child, creating a feeling that is likely less hard-hitting than it would were the main character a human. And third, this suspension of reality gives children the opportunity to use their own imaginations.
While MY EXPANSION is clearly a children’s book, the messages it conveys are as much directed at parents as they are at children. The mama bear acknowledges what the cub already knows about herself, reassures the her that it’s okay to be different, and then talks about how she mishandled the situation in the beginning. Accepting responsibility for errors in judgement and conveying the fact that parents aren’t always perfect can only serve to strengthen the bond and respect between a parent and child. Based on the premise that every child is different, there is a broad audience for this book. A child who is not like other children, no matter how significant or insignificant, may need to hear from a parent that there they are nevertheless proud of who they are. The narrative could also have an effect on a child who never thought of him/herself as different by stirring up thoughts germane to the story line.
Nancy Manet’s book MY EXPANSION, beautifully illustrated by Michelle Buvala, is an original, creative and compassionate story to encourage and offer guidance to a child who may be different from other children.Florence Osmund for IndieReader
About the Author:
Nancy Manet is a singer-songwriter and first-time author. She spent most of her adult life running a small business and raising her children. Raised in a strict religious community, Nancy did all the right things that “good girls” do. When Nancy first had children, she expected they would behave according to rigid, dogmatic rules.
That didn’t work so well.
In appearance and behavior, Nancy thought her kids should be like perfectly-potted tulips arranged neatly in nice rows. Instead, her daughter was more like a wildflower. Her daughter needed to grow in her way. With a child not following the “right way” of doing things, Nancy had a choice. She could destroy her relationship with her kid through dogma, rules, and rejection of her daughter’s uniqueness, personality, and sexuality. Or she could respond with love and grace for Hannah … and herself.
As her daughter began to share her different views of the world, Nancy had a choice. Listen to her daughter and expand as a parent or force her rigid belief system on her daughter. Nancy chooses to expand and now embraces the world through a different lens – inclusive and accepting of everyone.