HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Magic Home: A Displaced Boy Finds a Way to Feel Better
Author and Illustrator: Isabella Cassina
Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2020
Related website(s): http://www.LHPress.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 4 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Cassina, Isabella. The Magic Home: A Displaced Boy Finds a Way to Feel Better (Published in 2020 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105). A little boy lives with his father, mother, brother, sister, brown dog, and fluffy white rabbit in a small but cozy house. He plays happily in the courtyard and cannot wait to start school. Then one day he and his mother suddenly have to leave on an unpredictable journey for a new home. The little boy is scared, sad, and lonely. From time to time, he can hardly breathe. He feels as if something is pressing on his chest and he has no strength. His head is spinning, his hands are sweating, his legs are trembling, and his appetite is gone. What is the cause of all these symptoms? Is there anything that he can do to help him cope with his feelings? And when it is time for him to go to school, how can Ina his teacher assist him?
The Magic Home is a comforting story that offers psycho-educational support for children, as well as for parents, child clinicians, mental health providers, educators, and other childhood professionals who are assisting children through the difficult transition of displacement with its sense of loss and confusion. In sharing the tale of the little boy, along with sweet illustrations that well support the text, the book presents a guide for caregivers grounded in the principles of Play Therapy. It encourages using the healing power of play and expressive arts which allows children to be engaged in a dynamic and engaging process based on their capacities and the objectives defined by a caring adult.
In the back are suggested activities with reprintable figures that can be used between parent and child, at school, in a healthcare agency, or any other place where children spend time. The reason why the mother and boy have to leave is never explained. However, author Isabella Cassina is a Swiss social worker specialized in International Cooperation and Therapeutic Play who has worked for the Swiss Red Cross as Head of the Social Services in the refugees sector, so one would assume that the material would be applicable to refugee children. I should guess that it might also be useful in family situations of displacement due to abandonment, separation, divorce, or abuse, showing how to tap into the child’s resilience.