Aster’s Good, Right Things by Kate Gordon

Aster’s Good, Right Things is an important book about kids dealing with seriously heavy issues that, in a perfect world, they should never have to deal with. But this is reality for some kids in our very imperfect world, and this book will make these kids feel less alone. It has real potential to provide a sense of hope as well.

Oh, Aster. What a lovable character you are. I felt for her right from the start. Aster feels bad—not just bad; fearful—about feeling happy. She’s 11 years old and living with an anxiety disorder, and though it isn’t specifically named in the book, it reads just like obsessive-compulsive disorder (she acts on compulsions—doing good, right things—to manage her anxiety about something bad happening).

The new friendships forged in the book are compelling and real. And can I just say, I love how casually Xavier smashes gender stereotypes, no big deal. ? Also, Aster’s dad is just the best.

Aster’s new friends remind us that everyone has things they struggle with, that we all have good days and bad days. These characters remind us that the reasons behind people’s “bad” behaviors can be complex and deep-rooted, but that we can and should set healthy boundaries for ourselves, even if the decision to do so is difficult.

CW: anxiety, OCD, depression, bullying, child neglect

“None of us looks exactly the way we feel.”

“…sometimes, perhaps, not doing the good, right thing is actually the right thing to do. If it protects your heart.”

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