Tough Like Mum by Lana Button

Tough Like Mum by Lana Button
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Kim’s mum is tough. Everyone says so. She can deal with unruly customers at the Red Rooster with a snap of her fingers.

Kim is tough, too. She doesn’t need to wear a hat to keep her ears warm. And she can make soup all by herself, even without the stove.

Kim and her mum are tough.

But Kim is learning that sometimes toughness doesn’t look like what you’d expect.

In this tender exploration of a mother-daughter relationship, Kim and her mother learn that in order to support and truly take care of each other, they need to be tough — and that sometimes being tough means showing vulnerability and asking for help.

Explaining mental health problems to kids isn’t easy, but this book can help.

Kim was such a brave and upbeat kid. I immediately began rooting for her and hoping her life would improve soon. She had a marvellous way of finding the positive side of even the toughest circumstances no matter how many times things didn’t go the way she hoped they would. I admired her determination and grit.

Some of the situations Kim found herself in as a result of her mother’s mental illness came pretty close to crossing the line into child neglect due to the almost total lack of proper supervision for this little girl. While I had a great deal of compassion for her mother, I did find myself wishing the storyline had been a little clearer about the fact that this wasn’t a healthy situation for a child to live in.

With that being said, I definitely did appreciate the honesty of the storyline. Many children grow up with parents who struggle to meet their basic needs occasionally for all sorts of different reasons, and I liked the fact that the author was straightforward about how hard it was for Kim to not have an observant parent reminding her to bring her hat to school on a cold day or to pack a nutritious lunch for her. This was something I think would be quite appropriate to read to preschool and young elementary-aged children, especially if they’ve been through a similar situation or know someone who has.

Tough Like Mum was a thought-provoking read.

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