A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human – Matt Forrest Esenwine and Andrew Geolin

A Beginner's Guide to Being Human by Matt Forrest Esenwine
Published by Beaming Books on October 18, 2022
Genres: Children's
Buy on Amazon

Being a human is a lot of work! Thankfully, humans experience many of the same feelings, situations, and challenges, so we don't have to figure it all out on our own--we can help each other navigate the ups and downs. Full of humor and heart, this engaging guide inspires kids to be humans who are kind, empathetic, and thoughtful. No matter what our day brings, we can choose to practice self-control, compassion, and forgiveness. Don't worry, young human, it's okay to make some mistakes along the way--just remember that it's love that keeps us all afloat at the end of the day.

Welcome to Humanity! You’re really going to enjoy it! Matt Forrest Esenwine’s A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human is a guidebook full of heart and humor that showcases the best of the human experience by exploring the concepts of family, kindness, empathy, compassion, and more. Oh, there’ll be days of disappointment, sadness, and anger, but we have forgiveness, friends, and love to carry us through those times. With tongue-in-cheek wit and clear examples of positive traits, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human encourages readers to love and enjoy others.

Good lessons aside, it was actually Andrew Geolin’s illustrations that impressed me most throughout the book. Geolin, Esenwine, and the Beaming Books team obviously brainstormed how to ensure that all types of people from all types of backgrounds see themselves reflected in this book. In the beginning of the book, Esenwine says that a highlight of humanity is our diversity. Geolin’s illustrations bring that to life and give the book replay-ability as children can imagine the relationships and the stories of the people populating the page.

I think I would have liked to have seen a little more thematic cohesion from the text itself. Why did Esenwine pick the traits he did? What makes these traits the foundation of humanness? I’m not saying that Esenwine picked the wrong traits, but when it comes to his thinking of what being human is all about, why these things? The book feels scattered rather than a cohesive progression. Nonetheless, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human is a joy to read and should be the impetus for many conversations with your young readers.