Willow’s Whispers


Willow’s words come out in whispers. They are just too tiny to hear.  This causes Willow no end of troubles.  After a night of wishing, thinking and planning for a way to make louder words, Willow wakes up and makes a magic microphone!  The magic really happens when Willow finds her whispers turn to louder sounds that everyone can hear.


I discovered this lovely book at Parent Books in Toronto, the moment I picked it up and read through the first couple of pages I immediately fell in love, it almost seemed too good to be true –

Could it be … a book about feeling shy? Oh my goodness… this was ME when I was a child!!

Willow Whispers written by Lana Button is a powerful read for both shy children and the ones who are not.

It’s incredible to find a story about feeling shy written so beautifully. It’s simplistic yet powerfully moving. As an educator I am always on the look out for inspiring storybooks. Sharing this story directly with the shy children is so validating of their experiences and feelings.



Pedagogy Content with Children

There are so many extensions for using this book in the classroom, I absolutely adore it!

  • Possibilities to introduce emotional vocabulary with children…”fears, confidence, inner strength, brave”…..oh the list goes on.
  • Strategies for managing shyness: Willow demonstrates her willingness to find her voice,  the story conveys: problem solving– it’s okay to be shy. But when can our shyness get in the way of our own happiness and become a problem? This is what happens to Willow….she is misheard, gets bullied, has trouble making friends, and misses out on classroom opportunities. Sooo much rich conversations can arise!
  • Demonstrates acceptance: For children who are not shy a beautiful lesson in sensitivity and to be supportive to those children who do feel shy at times. Teaching children to reach out to them, gain and have an understanding, and try to help them feel comfortable.




Beautiful Conversations with Children:

Ask children what it means to be shy. What makes people feel shy? How do people act when they are feeling shy? Ask children if any of them have ever felt shy.

Ask all children in your group to quietly whisper his or her name. Then ask each person to repeat his or her name again—this time “loud and clear”!


“A victory for any reader who struggles to be heard, even metaphorically.”
— Kirkus Reviews, January 2010
“Shy, quiet kids will take heart at Willow’s small victories.”
— Quill & Quire, April 2010
“Limited text and simple sentences, combined with a strong character who solves her own problems, make this a successful selection.”
— School Library Journal, May 2010

It is hoped that the discussion can yield insights related to the importance of acceptance, of being open to the possibilities that come with friendships, and of using body language to understand what is being communicated with words.  Students are invited to see the value of extending themselves when communicating with those who speak softly.   


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