by Patricia MacLachlan, published 2013
“We all have our truths, Kidd,” says Henry. “Some are big truths. Most times they’re small truths. But those stories are Maddy’s truths. Your parents have different ones of their own.”
Discovering this children’s book by well-known author MacLachlan is finding something I thought was impossible: an exquisite and sensitive book written at the ‘early reader’ level. After reading The Truth of Me, I realize that a quality children’s book isn’t based on having complicated words and sentences, or even a complicated plot. Rather, the quality comes from offering sincere, heart-felt interactions among people who represent the best in life. The language itself, like the language of the heart, is clear, simple, and direct.
I love the way that this children’s book mixes humor with a serious inner dilemma. It is not uncommon for a child to feel unloved by a parent- whether it’s due to another sibling, a career, or anything. This book addresses that issue, and resolves it, without ever lecturing or creating a confrontation. All along, we just feel the sensitivity of helping a child cope. The grandmother in this story is the heroine, as she completely understands her grandson’s feelings and needs. I hope every child has a grandparent in their life like Maddy, one who can see them for who they really are.
I imagine this children’s book could also be read aloud to a younger child, say 6 or 7. However, I think it’s real gift is providing a serious and thoughtful book for those newly independent readers age 7 to 9. This is a beauty, from start to finish. I can’t wait to read more by MacLachlan. For another beautiful book by the same author, see Fly Away.