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Review of "What are you staring at?"

By Pete Wallis and Joseph Wilkins
Jessica Kingsley, 2018
Review by Christian Perring on Jul 17th 2018
What are you staring at?

This short illustrated book in the form of a graphic novel is aimed at children †to explain restorative justice. Two boys at school, Jake and Ryan, get into a fight, and the story explains how this is a result of the emotional difficulties Jake has after his uncle dies. It also shows how the fight leads to them being angry with each other and being unable to listen to each other. A counselor gets them to talk and this brings the wall between them down a bit, but it takes some effort at reconciliation to really make it possible for them to understand each other. Eventually they work it out and become friends. The cycle of anger and violence was reduced and ended rather than escalated, and it was a focus on getting the two boys to understand each other than helped. There are a few pages at the end of the book aimed at adults to explain the ideas behind approach and to provide other resources. The artwork is lively and appealing. So this could be a useful book to introduce children to conflict resolution and reconciliaton.

© 2018 Christian Perring

Christian Perring†teaches in NYC.

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