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Book Review: Big Bear was Not the Same

Title: Big Bear was Not the Same

By: Joanna Rowland

Illustrated by: John Ledda

Target age: 4-8

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What's it About?

Big Bear and Little Bear are the best of friends. They romp and tumble and play all day, laughing and enjoying their free lives. But then Big Bear finds himself in a life threatening situation that terrifies him more then anything he's ever experienced before. After that, he's not the same, unable to free himself of the fear and the memory of the fire, no matter how hard Little Bear tries to help. Eventually, Little Bear realizes that the most he can do is listen and be there for his friend to help him as he manages life with PTSD.

What's it About?

My favorite thing about this book was not the gorgeous illustrations (though I did enjoy those) or the sweet nature of the bears (which was perfect for this story), but the very concept of tackling a very real mental health issue in a way that helps all ages understand what PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is. I also kind of love the fact that, in the end, we are reminded that the best things we can do to help those we love are very simple.

  1. ask what they need/want

  2. Listen to what they say...and don't say

  3. Try to understand, even if your level of understanding is just that what they've been through was scary and hard.

  4. Sometimes, just being by their side is enough.