There was this girl Smoolie, and she liked to go to the playground and meet other kids to play with. That was her favorite thing.
The thing was, the older Smoolie grew, the harder it seemed to get to ask other kids to play with her. She worried she'd say something stupid, or that other kids would say, "No. I don't want to play with you."
Smoolie used to ask her mom to ask the other kids for her. But now even that felt embarrassing. She was too old for her mother to ask other kids to play, and she was too shy to do it herself.
Pretty soon she didn't want to go to the playground, even though it was her favorite thing. "I'm too shy," Smoolie explained to her mom. "I'll go play in my room."
Smoolie's mom said, "You know, everyone feels shy sometimes."
"I don't know about that," said Smoolie. "But I feel shy all the time."
Smoolie's mom said, "Do you know what a scientist is?
Smoolie nodded. She studied science in school. "A scientist asks questions and does experiments and makes observations."
Smoolie's mom said, "Let's ask some questions and do some experiments and make some observations about shyness. We'll call ourselves "Shy-entists!'"
Smoolie really liked that idea. That night, a bunch of grown-ups were coming over to watch the football game. Smoolie's mom gave her a notebook and a pen. "Go up to each person," she said, "and ask them whether they ever feel shy."
So that night Smoolie went up to each adult and asked them. Then she wrote down their name and their answer. After she finished, she went to her mom all excited.
"Look!" said Smoolie. There was a "Yes" next to every grown-up's name. "They really do all feel shy sometimes."
"That's good to know," said Smoolie's mom. "Now what else did you learn?"
Smoolie thought, but she couldn't think of anything. "I don't know," she said.
"Well, were you too shy to ask all those adults that question?" asked Smoolie's mom.
Smoolie realized that she'd approached each grown-up. "I talked to everyone," she gasped.
"I guess we learned that asking questions is a good way to start a conversation," said Smoolie's mom.
"Wow!" said Smoolie. She was excited. "Can we go to the playground tomorrow?"
So Smoolie and her mom went to the playground the next day, but once Smoolie got there she still felt too shy to ask other kids to play. "Kids are harder to talk to than grown-ups," explained Smoolie, watching all the other kids play together.
You know what Smoolie's mom did? She pulled out that notebook. "Let's be shy-entists again," she said. "Every time a new kid shows up, you go listen to what they say. Hear how they get other kids to play with them. Then come back and tell me, and I'll write it down."
This is the first half of the unillustrated version of the Shy Child book.
The shy child page.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.