Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 5 to 8
Shaun is strong enough to know that even things that don't come easily can be mastered through determination and hard work. Learning to ride his two-wheeler with the help of his friend Nadia, he overcomes his fear and the teasing of the other children in the park and manages to impress friends and bullies alike.
About the authors
Kathryn Cole has spent a forty-five-year career in children’s books as an illustrator, art director, editor, designer, and publisher, including Editorial Director of Tundra Books. The books she has overseen have won multiple awards, including four Governor General’s Awards. Kathryn volunteered as a support to parents for thirteen years with Boost in their crisis support and court preparation groups. She shares the managing editor role at Second Story Press and lives in Toronto.
Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.Despite her many years of study to become a biologist, Qin decided at the age of 20 to follow the same path as her father and enrolled in the School of Cinema to study Film Animation at Concordia University. She has produced animated shorts, which were nominated in various nationa
Never Give Up is an excellent story for bedtime, and it’s great for use for bigger conversations with kids about self esteem, bullying, and learning new things.
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
The lessons in the story aren’t diluted for the book’s younger audience but rather are presented in a mature way for them to wrestle with...The characters’ diversity is presented with maturity and subtlety. The cultural differences between the children aren’t used as a learning device to explain the important of self-confidence.
... [Qin] Leng’s sensitive and occasionally humorous illustrations create a warm, supportive, and diverse environment (Nadia’s headscarf suggests she is Muslim, though it doesn’t factor into the plot) for this encouraging story to unfold.
Kathryn Cole’s messages in Never Give Up and Reptile Flu are so positive and told in such familiar scenarios that all young readers will easily find themselves empathizing with the characters who try to develop new skills or face difficulties with communication. And, even better, they will actually see themselves in the book, so incredibly inclusive in the families displayed and the skin, clothing, names, and body types of the children within.
CanLit for Little Canadians
Though Cole employs a straightforward approach to telling the stories [in the I'm A Great Little Kid series], their content is anything but simplistic. The author provides plenty of fodder for course content for character-education programs and thought-provoking and insightful classroom discussions about ethics, morals and values.
Canadian Children's Book News
In Never Give Up, a commendable and refreshing touch is that Nadia's wearing of the hijab figures naturally and subtly. A cast of multicultural characters populates the supportive environments depicted in Qin Leng's sensitive illustrations.
Canadian Children's Book News
Never Give Up: A story about self-esteemShaun is strong enough to know that even things that don't come easily can be mastered through determination and hard work. Learning to ride his two wheeler with the help of his friend Nadia, he overcomes his fear and the teasing of the other children in the park and manages to impress friends and bullies alike.
This picture book can be shared with young people to help them understand the character education traits of perseverance and respect. Many students might identify with the sad feelings Shaun has when others make fun of him as he learns to ride a bicycle. Moreover, they can learn that being determined and having self-confidence will lead to success and positive self-esteem.
Also available: Reptile Flu and Fifteen Dollars and Thirty-five Cents by Kathryn Cole
Author available for class visits.
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.