Ruth Spivak: Kiducation


Noni Is Nervous

A Charming Tale About Back-to-School Jitters

"Noni is nervous about a lot of things. She is nervous about her playdates with her bossy friend Susie. She is nervous about global warming. And, today, she is nervous about her first day of school."

Noni bites her nails. She twirls her hair, and talks too much. Her parents are concerned, and Noni is worried. What if the teacher is mean? What will she wear, and where will she sit on the bus? How will she ever calm her nerves about school? 

Noni makes a new friend, and soon she gets to know other kids. With each new day, Noni's fears about getting lost, opening her juice box, or having an accident gradually disappear. In fact, the more she gets to know the kids and the routine, the more she likes school. Her family is still anxious to hear about her day, but Noni announces: "School was great! Sheesh! I really don't know what you are all so nervous about!"

I spoke with former E! Entertainment celebrity host and author Heather Hartt-Sussman. "I am Noni!" she confessed. She remembers being a nervous wreck as a kid, and being a people-pleaser. Many kids will relate to what Noni is feeling, so Hartt-Sussman suggests parents open the dialogue during the course of reading. "Questions like, "Have you ever felt like this?" "How did you feel on the last day of school?" are starting points for conversation." 

Hartt-Sussman, who discovered her passion for writing kids' books before she had children, thinks "Noni Is Nervous" has valuable lessons for both children and parents. "New challenges are scary, but facing your fears is a great way to build self-esteem. Friends can be very helpful in unsure surroundings."

Young readers will enjoy the gentle watercolour illustrations, and will relate to the charming tale of Noni Is Nervous. Perfect to read aloud and share before the start of the school year. Highly recommended for ages 3-7.

Also available by Heather Hartt-Sussman: Noni Says No


You can learn even more ways to get organized and transition from summer to school on our Back-To-School 2014 page.