The Box – Isabella Paglia and Paolo Proietti

The Box by Isabella Paglia, Paolo Proietti, Laura Watkinson
Also by this author: 189 Canaries, Later, When I’m Big
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on October 4, 2022
Genres: Children's
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A sensitive book about reaching out to a new friend, perfect for fostering social-emotional learning.
One day a mysterious box arrives in the woods. Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Owl can all see that something—someone—is hiding inside. But why won’t that someone come out? Maybe the stranger is scared or having a horrible day. Maybe they’ve been hurt in the past and don’t know who to trust anymore. Who is the creature inside the box? How can the animals reassure them and introduce them to their amazing new home?
Told through playful, pastel-colored illustrations, The Box is a gentle story about meeting others where they are. Kindness, patience, and a little creativity can help us find the most wonderful friends.

One day, in the middle the woods, a box appears. The Box is small, with holes in it, and the whole forest is curious. How did it get here? When did it arrive? Hey! I think there’s someone inside! The animals gather around to welcome whoever is inside to their new home in the forest. NOOOOOOO! Whoever is inside the box cries. For the rest of the book, the creatures of the forest make a plan for getting their new friend out of the box. They throw a party. They have a picnic. When it rains, they take the box inside a cave to stay dry. Finally, after some days, The Box opens and the creature inside accepts their new home.

The Box is a book about accepting people where they are, taking time to get to know someone, and doing the hard work of waiting to be someone’s friend. Reading this book made me think of young kids thrown into new situations. This happens to young kids all the time. New school. New class. New church. New friends. The world of a young child is always changing. And opening up and becoming part of a new place can be difficult. The Box reminds readers to meet others where they are while reminding newcomers that while the box might seem safe, there’s a whole world of friends waiting for you to open up to them.

The Box is fun, thoughtful, and gentle. It’s a conversation starter with your little one about times they’ve wanted to crawl in a box and say NO! or times they’ve struggled to figure out how to make new friends.