Cover Image: What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

*What Can I Say* by Catherine Newman is a great book for that little human in your life that is still learning how to be a person (which, at the end of the day, aren't we all?). With lessons ranging from things as seemingly simple—that are oftentimes the hardest—like how to introduce yourself, to explaining complex issues like allyship or dating; this book treats its readers with kindness and respect. Even though I am far from the age range of the target audience, I still found myself laughing, crying and learning along the pages of *What Can I Say?* and I think you will too. Sometimes we all need a hug that feels like home, that says "everything is gonna be okay," this book is exactly that.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVE this!   This is such a clear, simple guide to both basic and more complex social skills that is actually fun to read!   The light, irreverent tone provides plenty of chuckles and makes this seem like a conversation with a wise friend, not a whole book of "shoulds" and "should nots".  

The tone and topics make this appropriate for middle school students, but it could be just as useful for high school and older, especially if the reader is possibly neurodivergent or simply in need of a bit of support in navigating social relationships.   Clear examples are given for all kinds of interaction and the scripts provided are incredibly useful.  Sometimes just having the words available makes everything so much easier!  

I would heartily recommend this for school and community libraries as well as for a school psychologist or guidance counselor's bookshelf.    There's no one who couldn't benefit from giving this a read!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
Was this review helpful?
A super cute and informative guide for kids who struggle with social situations! This book includes scenarios like “how to give and receive a compliment,” “how to be angry,” (appropriately), even “how to respond to an offensive joke.”

There is a good mix of text paragraphs and comics-style scenarios. 

I could see this being especially useful for kids on the spectrum!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. "What Can I Say" by Catherine Newman gives a nice, thoughtful, age appropriate guide to what to say and how to act/react in given situations. The illustrations are inclusive and friendly. The text and situations are approachable and deal with situations that would naturally come up in daily life. Fun, without being talked down to.
Was this review helpful?
This is so great, timely and appropriate for today's youth. They really do not know the basics of communication and as adults, I think we take these conversations for granted! This is fantastically illustrated guide.
Was this review helpful?
What a fantastic book for kids, and grown ups!  I think it's probably best suited for tweens, but younger or older kids would still get value from it.  Heck, I'm in my 40s and I learned a thing or two.  Sometimes it's just hard to know what to say.  This book helps with some social basics, but also more complex situations like bullying, dating,  and being an upstander when you see injustice.  Some parents might write this book off based on some of the progressive themes, but that's a shame because there is so much more than that to this book.

I will be buying this for our home library, and recommending it to friends.

Many thanks to Storey Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I think this book would appeal to children as young as 7 or 8 years old, up through as old as 13. There is a section on dating which wouldn't be relevant to the younger ages, but the author gives a disclaimer that the section may be skipped. The book does a great job giving specific examples and I applaud the inclusivity. I am a teen librarian and I would purchase a copy of this for my collection.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4299649413?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Was this review helpful?
This was a great book to read with my 11- and 8-year-old kids. It was written in very plain and clear language and covered a range of topics, including tips for interpersonal relationships and personal responsibility. It was a great book to spark conversations about the impact of our words and behaviours. It included things like how to apologize and how not to be a bystander. There was a strong social justice focus that I really appreciated.

I will purchase and keep at home for the kids when it is published.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the humor in the book, and the empathic tone throughout. At the start, we learn how to face social situations and I think this would be applicable to children maybe as young as 6 (and all the way up to adulthood!). But as the book progresses it begins to tackle issues that are more appropriate for teens and young adults, so the leap from "how to talk to a friend" to "how to protest about injustice" is quite big, and it happens quite fast. There may be space inbetween for a few more things to make the transition easier. 
I really enjoyed reading this and I think many families and school will find it very helpful.
Was this review helpful?
This book. This one is supposed to be for kids. Yet, I’m 24, I have anxiety and I’m an introvert. Yes, I knew some things of course. But sometimes it’s good to know that it is okay and the way you act is not wrong. Or even if you need some advice.
This book covers a lot of topics: being an ally, showing support, listening to people, standing up for yourself.
Also, it’s inclusive. In the text and drawings (like seriously the drawings are more inclusive than the whole french cinema).

So yeah. Good books for kids and grownups
Was this review helpful?
I frequently work with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders so I was very pleased to review this book as an ARC. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher!  Overall I think this book will be very helpful for children with social skills deficits. There are many things I appreciated about this book, including the use of inclusive language and recognition of gender identity and LGBTQ+ identity. The author normalizes so many of the awkward situations we can find ourselves in, even as adults! The book is written in a very conversational manner with appropriate humor. I also appreciate the author’s recognition of the many modes with which we communicate and the included example text messages and emails. The drawings are relatable and represent people of diverse ethnicity and disability category. While I, personally, very much appreciated the social justice and activism chapters, I do wonder if, maddeningly, those chapters might make the book less appealing to less progressive school districts. Another slight negative is that some of the things the author suggests kids should say are a bit long, formal, and don’t necessarily match how many kids talk. Some adaptation is likely to be needed when teaching the scripts to others. I believe this book is ideal for students with average or better cognitive skills and later elementary age to teenagers. The book reads almost like an older sibling teaching the younger one. I think children will enjoy it and will learn some good information about communication and maintaining relationships.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a really great guide for kids because it teaches them exactly what they can say in situations to stand up for themselves and others. I liked that it not only focused on respectful communication, but making sure that they know they don’t have to just be respectful, they can stand up for themselves and be clear about what they want.

It is an inclusive book that encourages kids to get to know others who are different and teaches them how to stand up for marginalized communities in several different ways. I also LOVED that it gave clear examples of how to disrupt things like racism, homophobia, and ableism when it comes in the form of a “joke” or comes from a friend or family that we love. I think even as an adult it can be hardest to speak up to people we know rather than strangers, and this makes such a big difference for kids to know what to say to disrupt these ideas without straining a relationship. This is just as important as any other activism so I’m glad it was included in more than one example.

This book has a very wide range of topics, and I wish it was more focused. Some of the topics were quickly breezed over because there were so many different things to talk about. I think it could have been better if it cut down on the amount of topics and delved in deeper to some, because some were so brief they could have easily been cut out. Some topics I read and then was thinking “oh that’s over?” while others included plenty of information. 

Overall a good book, one I would definitely share with students!
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this! I don't think it's for any specific age, making it possible to break the book up by what you think is age appropriate for your child. It's also very funny in parts, and I def shared those with my friends.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great book that discussed social topics and how to interact properly. This is a must-read for teens and tweens!

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc!
Was this review helpful?
One would think that this book is essential mainly for introverts (such as myself) who freeze at the mention of intermingling with strangers or going to a party alone. But the book is aimed not just at those who are reserved but also to those who are comfortable speaking in public but want to know how to interact better.

Communication is important, everyone already knows this. But to many people, communication involves merely talking. Effective communication needs be so much more than that. Furthermore, you have the social difficulties of establishing right communication with school peers or office colleagues or neighbours or strangers. This book helps youngsters to handle all their problems regarding the right way to communicate.

The book covers a vast range of topics; from basic hellos and goodbyes to having a conversation, from simply getting along to handling difficult topics such as apologies or gossip. It even includes a section on handling a romantic relationship (with an addendum saying that the section may be skipped and read at the right time) and a section on caring for the community (though I did feel that including content on activism stretched the idea of better communication a bit too far.) To suit the need of the day, there’s also a whole section dedicated to contemporary topics such as using the right pronouns, responding to someone who is coming out, how to respond to offensive jokes, sticking up against prejudice, and so on. Every section is handled in a very practical way such that children will be able to implement the ideas easily. There is a lot of humour in the content, making it further accessible to this young age group. 

There is an abundance of illustrations exemplifying every advice in the book, which makes the advice easier to visualise and follow. The illustrations are inclusive too, huge bonus points for that. 

Heartily recommended to all youngsters, parents, teachers, schools and libraries.

4.25 stars from me.


My thanks to Storey Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was first introduced to Catherine Newman's writing when I read and reviewed her May 2020 book release, How to be a Person: 65 Hugely Useful, Super-Important Skills to Learn Before You're Grown Up.

I loved that these simple yet important life skills. were covered in a simple and easy to consume manner, something that is not that easy to find these days! The first few years of parenthood really are all about survival- and then you come out on the other side and realize you are also raising a real live HUMAN who, under your supervision will need to learn how to be a competent and functional adult! 

So, How to be A Person is a much needed gem of a tool, and is filled with tips and tricks while also having a perfect balance of information and humor. I read it with our then 9 year old son and we both found that the writing was accessible and relatable. So when I saw "What Can I Say?" I couldn't get my hands on it fast enough!

Just like how teaching our kids all the logistics of daily life can be trickier than we ever imagined, knowing the right things to say can be just as complex, if not more so.

 In a world where we are connected in so many ways, our words can be more powerful than ever before. Shown through engaging graphics and relatable narration, Newman walks us through dozens of social situations, from navigating peer interactions to how to be an ally. Her writing is compassionate and sparked so many great discussions with our pre-teen. 

Thank you to Storey Publishing for my gifted review copy.
Was this review helpful?
The author does a great job of explaining soft skills and other social skills for tweens and teens in a very relatable way. Using graphic novel illustrations, and covering a range of situations such as how to initiate a conversation to how to handle bullying and how to be an ally. There are how-to sections for comforting someone or giving advice. The author points out universal experiences, such as how we all feel awkward at times, and also discusses how some topics don't have one right way to be handled.

The cover art did not look as attractive as the illustrations within. I was worried the book would be too juvenile based on the cover. Fortunately, the content within was well worth the read. Thanks to NetGalley for an e-ARC of the book.
Was this review helpful?
This book was absolutely amazing and truly needs to be on every child’s shelf!! It is introspective and even adults can get wonderful information.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a guideline to improve social communications no matter how difficult the conversation can be. Communicating  expressively, with compassion,  and responsibly can be vital for effective conversation because it makes the world a better place.  I like how the situations are explained in a simple manner  with  pre teen/ teen - level humor for the target audience to comprehend. 
I wished that I had come across this book years before, because this could have saved my embarrassing teenage moments . Although this book was targeted for preteen and  teen audience, the adults can learn a few things from this book. 
This book is definitely ideal for older children and teens to help take few tips for effective conversation. Although the book is meant for older children and teens, the teachers , however can take few tips to teach their young students for communicational benefit. Overall, this is a great tool!
Was this review helpful?
I wish I had this book when I was a kid! It goes over many social conventions that we take for granted, and it lays out why the way to do things are the best way to handle social issues. For example, it talks about how to handle interactions with a sad friend or family member using empathy. I think the graphic nature of the explanations will appeal to kids more than simple type would. 

I like that includes how to use gender neutral phrases to be inclusive, though this would be enhanced with some examples of how to use gender neutral language to avoid assumptions until a persons gender has been confirmed. For example, you can say “did you have fun with Marcie and their parents” and when you get the response “yes, her moms took us to the zoo” then now you know the gender pronouns to use and can reply “Great! I’m glad you had fun with marcie and her moms”. Or asking about someone’s partner until they confirm the language they use to refer to their partner “husband, girlfriend, wife, partner” etc and then using what they said. I didn’t learn that until adulthood and it’s really helpful language. 

I would have loved to see a section on handling conversation in a group rather than just 1-on-1. You know how you’ll be in a big group conversation and can’t decide the best time to interject with something, and then by the time a space in the conversation opens up, your addition isn’t relevant any more? Or how best to include someone in a group conversation who is being quiet. This might be more advanced fare for a sequel. 

All in all, I’d definitely recommend the book. I think it’s a great way to outline social etiquette that we assume people pick up naturally or learn from others, but not everyone does. I know plenty of adults that could use some of the knowledge in this book.
Was this review helpful?