I Am Just Not Good at Anything!
by Nicole Atkinson

"Gina asked her mom if she could take tennis lessons. How hard could it be to swing a racket, she thought."

Everyone is good at something, or so the adage goes. But nine-year-old Gina is beginning to have doubts that this applies to her. She can’t keep her fingers curled correctly at piano lessons, her arms swing all over the place during swimming lessons, and no matter how hard she tries during tennis lessons, she can never make the racket connect with the ball. After failing at everything she attempts, Gina is despondent and concludes, “I’m just not that good at anything!” But then something happens to change her mind. At school, her teacher introduces a new game called the Spelling Game, and Gina discovers there is something she is good at after all—a game she was born to win.

Atkinson’s charming children’s book addresses the problem all kids face when they discover there are avocations in which they may not excel. Parents will find many avenues for forging discussions as Gina excitedly pursues various activities only to become discouraged. Through her struggles, parents can address disappointment, empathy, and feelings of inadequacy. Her willingness to try different activities can foster conversations about dedication and handling obstacles. When she eventually discovers her talent for spelling, her success comes from her innate ability to master the teacher’s new game, another good discussion starter for helping kids uncover and explore their talents. Atkinson’s book is a wonderful resource for teaching tenacity and self-awareness to young readers as they empathize with Gina’s frustrations and rejoice at her success. With its accompanying illustrations by Cecil Gocotano, even very young children will enjoy this story of self-discovery and triumph.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home