by Kathryn Cole
illustrated by Qin Leng
Age range: 6 to 10 years old.
The way coach Ian behaves towards Claire makes her feel uneasy. She can't point exactly why, but he triggers that "uh-oh" feeling in her. He touches and tickles her. He says she is the star of the team, but Claire knows she is really bad at soccer. He calls her "pretty", but what does "pretty" have to do with playing soccer? He even blames Claire for all this physical contact, since she looks so sad that he has to tickle her. The worst thing is he asks Claire to keep all this situation between them as a secret. Claire knows that secrets about touching are wrong, but what to do?
Claire is not sure about talking to an adult. What if coach Ian is just being nice? She decides to talk to her friends first, and encouraged by their support she talks to her older sister, who persuades Claire to speak to her mom.
I find the approach of the story to this delicate subject just excellent. The emphasis in listening to your feelings, to that weird sensation that it's like a fire alarm and it's trying to tell us something's not right.
I liked that coach Ian actually looks like a nice guy (in the text and in the illustrations), because that's how abusers usually look like. That probably makes harder to suspect of them, but it shouldn't.
There's a message in this story not only to victims and potential victims, but to friends, schoolmates and siblings who might be asked for help.
A decided 5 stars!