Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. “Jeremy lived on the top floor of a three-story apartment building… He never left. He never went outside.” Until one day, when he decides to draw a monster — which, humorously, threatens to take over Jeremy’s life. This is a deceptively simple book, in which the text and gently witty illustrations leave plenty of space for readers to discover an unspoken connection between shyness and imagination.
Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier. “Amandina was a wonderful little dog… But nobody knew that, because nobody knew Amandina.” Then one evening, this quiet actress, singer, and acrobat “promised herself that she would stop being so shy.” And that is when Amandina bravely attempts to connect through her art, and along the way, she helps us to understand how touching even one, small creature can open up a whole world.
Shy Charles by Rosemary Wells. Pity the poor child whose parents are as unsympathetic as Charles’s. Or admire Charles, who resolutely refuses to change in spite of them, and by the end of the book has taught the adults around him something that young readers have probably already intuited: he was strong all along.
The Boys by Jeff Newman. In this wordless book, a boy is too shy to approach kids playing ball in his new neighborhood. So instead, he sits down on a park bench with a bunch of old timers. He goes back day after day, humorously turning into one of them — trading his cap for slicked back hair and a derby hat, his shorts for plaid pants and bowtie, his baseball bat for a walking stick — until one day, when they aren’t there. Then, in a neat and sweet bit of role-reversal, the oldsters wisely teach one youngster how to be a proper whippersnapper. Simple, expressive, and subtly affecting.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. One reading friend has suggested that the character Raymie Clarke might like my new book, SHY. Naturally, I'm ridiculously flattered by this suggestion, although I don't know how Raymie would feel about it. But I do know this: if given the chance, Shy would love her — and Kate DiCamillo — right back.