Reviews

I love “Keep Shining Bright” so much! It’s a beautifully written story with a poignant and sweet message that all children (and adults) should be told:

“It does not matter if others tell you how valuable you are to them. The important thing to remember is that you must always know your own value”.

Timena’s blending of cultural Kija and Dawar (Moon and Star) stories from around the world is wonderfully done and perfectly illustrated by Agnes.

I so look forward to gifting copies to the young people in my life and I can’t wait to add more of Timena’s books to my own collection!

Sasha Grace

This book is such a delight.

In this quality children’s book Timena has beautifully captured the adorable, endearing characters of Dawar the star and the wise, old grandmother moon, Kija.

It is a feel good tale that takes you on an educational journey through the history of the stars while also having a deeper more meaningful message for its readers.

The illustrations are beautiful and have captured the essence of the story beautifully. Children will be delighted to read this book and inspired to keep shining bright!

Nicole Elder

Keep Shining Bright – As the title suggests, this is a story with a positive focus and a clear message. Little star, Dawar, is in conversation with Kija, the wise Grandmother Moon who patiently listens and explains that appreciation comes in many forms.

Throughout the story, multiple images of the moon and stars are presented in sequence. These are layered, one upon the other, beginning with the oldest, the Aboriginal stories of creation and life, followed by Greek legends and Norse mythology and progressing to lunar gravitational pull and finally encompassing nursery rhymes and popular songs.

Such a vast scope of images is kept simple by the engaging and fast-paced conversational style of the text. Timena Rhodes-Scott skillfully keeps the reader focused throughout the story by the early and simple establishment of the two characters, by a brief but effective description of the problem and by using language appropriate to the audience age, along with short sentences and believable dialogue.

The layered images encourage the child reader to make connections with previous learning and allow the parent/teacher to encourage discussion, to ask and answer questions and to guide the child towards further learning. This is an important aspect of the book, but it is not its main focus. The book primarily sets out to encourage children to believe in themselves and to persist despite adversity and lack of appreciation.

The illustrations support and reflect the text, adding visual enjoyment to this story. The palette used by Agnes Szucher is at once varied and consistent, bright and soft, the night sky of her paintings is never foreboding, but (like the real thing) always revealing a secret to inquisitive eyes. The human elements of Dawar and Kija are expressive and consistent and at the same time restrained and minimalist, allowing children to empathize with both characters.

This is a wonderful story for readers to enjoy alone or for parents and teachers to share with children. It will be a popular addition to the home bookshelf and to school and public library collections.

Reviewed by Moira McAlister October 2020