Michaela Mason's big list of 23 worries by Alexa Moses

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Michaela Mason keeps lists of many things, but her list of the 23 things she is most afraid of includes things that make her life miserable. When her mother shifts her to the country, away from the security of friends and all that she knows well, she must confront change as well as her fears.  Finding your place in a new school is hard and when the school is small and the number of potential friends is very small there are additional difficulties for Michaela.  And after a difficult experience with the ‘Pretty Posse’ and a much-too-close encounter with her number one listed fear – Dogs!, Michaela discovers that being alone and being new can be very difficult.  Eventually, she discovers that she can do more than even she could imagine, and a new friendship is a possibility.

This is delightfully written as we hear the voice of the fear-burdened Michaela as she avoids everything that causes her emotional anxieties to spark. But as she discovers the support of her mother and friendship and the discovery that her fears have perhaps just needed ‘taming’, we see her grow. Her list writing is also quirky and the list of intriguing words that she wants to weave into conversation adds a vocabulary spark within the story. Mostly,  this is just a simple and delightful story for young readers who might also have their own list of fears.

Themes: Fear, Change, Overcoming anxiety, Friendship.

Carolyn Hull