The Blurb On The Back:
Shy and mighty
Shyness is often misunderstood. It’s not a personality flaw or something that needs to be fixed, but it can be challenging, frustrating, and lead to missed opportunities.
It doesn’t need to be this way.
Packed with information, practical advice, and special mighty missions, Shy and Mighty will help shy children take the small steps they need to embrace their shyness, work with it, and become their mightiest selves – without changing who they are.
SHY AND MIGHTY: YOUR SHYNESS IS A SUPER POWER was released in the United Kingdom on 7th April 2022. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Nadia Finer is the founder of Shy and Mighty, which aims to help better understand, value and support shy people. This is a self-help book (beautifully illustrated by Sara Thielker) for shy readers aged 7+ to help them better understand what shyness is, how it is a benefit and how to take control of it but while I wish I’d had this book when I was a child, there are points when I think it needed to talk more about when shyness can be destructive.
I picked this up because when I was a kid, I was shy (or, as my teachers described it “reserved”). Given that we live in a social media world where people are increasingly recognised and rewarded for being extroverts who push themselves out there, I’m all in favour of anything that wants to talk about why it’s also completely okay to be shy.
Finer does a really good job of reassuring readers that being shy is not a flaw and because she’s open about talking about her own shyness (and in particular how she was very self-conscious about her voice), it is very easy to relate to what she’s saying. This in turn gives her an authenticity and integrity that makes it easier to accept the points that she makes. I also liked how she brings her dog, Bobby, into the messaging here and Thielker’s illustrations of both of them help to personalise this even more. Indeed, I think Thielker’s done an excellent job with the illustrations of this book there’s a lot of diversity here (although I would prefer it if publishers could push for disabilities other than wheelchair users to be represented) and she gives a great sense of each picture’s emotional state.
The book is well structured with Finer dividing it into two parts. Part 1 runs through what shyness is, how people come to be shy, the biology of shyness and how it affects people at home and school. Part 2 then moves into the positive aspects of being shy, encouraging readers to claim their shyness as a super power, learning to accept yourself, how to be kind to and take care of yourself yourself, when to ask for help, how to take control and how to make sure that shyness does not hold you back, including by breaking daunting things into small chunks and making sure that you push yourself.
The one comment I had on the book is that while the point of it is to make readers see their shyness as a virtue, there does come a point when shyness turns into anxiety and can be a problem. Finer does touch on this in a couple of instances, but I wanted to see it set out more clearly than it is – not because it’s a problem, but because sometimes shyness can be a symptom of something else and I think readers need to know that this is okay too.
This all said, I thought that this was a good book. Certainly I wish that I’d had something like this when I was a child because I did feel a bit overwhelmed at times and didn’t really understand how to process it. It’s definitely a book that you should check out if you have shy youngsters and want to broach the subject with them.