A girl delivers hugs to those who need them in the picture book Do You Need a Hug.
The book begins with an illustration of a smiling girl, and the words of an unseen narrator observing her: “[..] she was so happy, different, and bright like the sun. I had to follow her!” A series of encounters follows as the girl sees a sad old man on a park bench, a dog that seems lost, and others. To each, she asks, “do you need a hug?” and then embraces them, brightening their day.
Later, when the girl’s mother asks what she’s been doing, she responds: “making the world better!” Finally, the unseen narrator is revealed to be the girl’s proud father, who receives a hug of his own.
It’s a sweet story about the power of one person to impact the lives of those around her. Although there’s little detail about the situations of those needing a hug, that’s partly the point: Regardless of the circumstances, a hug always helps.
The text is appealingly simple, but there are some technical missteps, such as when the text reads: “The woman gladly accepted the hug, smiled and re-energized carried on with her work.” Commas around “reenergized” would clarify the meaning. Numerous times, the “d” in “do you need a hug?” isn’t capitalized as it should be. And the title lacks a question mark.
Additionally, a few depicted situations seem odd: such as when the girl pulls a cat out of a bush to hug it, or puts her face up close to a bee.
The art is bright and cheerful, but falters when the text describes the girl as viewing a boy in a hospital through a window, but the corresponding image shows her already inside the hospital room.
While such issues should be addressed, this is still a gentle reminder that a generous, optimistic attitude can improve the world—one hug at a time.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.