Parents' Guide to

Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

The real-life diary of a child of nature.

Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

There IS violence in this book

I'm writing this review to let all parents and kids know that there is violence against children in this book -- Opal is hit by the "mama" woman who is supposed to be taking care of her. She also forces her to stay under a bed. I'd like the reviewers at Common Sense Media to change the Violence rating to a higher amount. It's unkind for such young children to be exposed to the idea of an adult striking a child.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The journal, written in Opal's strange dialect that included numerous French words and phrases, is lovely, and warrants the poetic treatment. It's also not the work of a professional (most of it was done when Opal was 6), and Boulton's editing makes the whole tighter and more cohesive. Opal's tendency to see soul and intelligence and feeling in everything, living and inanimate, brings her world to magical, shimmering life, and hearkens back to animist and pagan religions.

This is clearly not a book for every kid, or even for many. There's no plot, little action, and a confusing abundance of characters, both human and animal. But for children who love nature, and language, the way Opal did it could be entrancing, and any reader will be inspired to look at their own world through Opal's eyes. This gentle, visionary journal is perfect for sharing in small doses between adult and child, and would be a perfect companion on hikes, picnics, and camping trips.

Book Details

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