What are you? One little girl is lots of things. She is so many things in fact that she has not got enough words. She is a girl, a human, an animal. She is a daughter, a granddaughter and a mother to her cuddly toys. She can be mean and kind, shy and outgoing, mischievous and well-behaved. She is everything and so much more. She is proud of who she is and she wants the world to know it…
Inspired by a dehumanising real-life incident in which the author’s sister was asked the completely inappropriate and rather absurd question, ‘What are you?’ at a young age, What I Am provides an uplifting and heart-warming answer. Told in simple text, an American-Indian girl takes centre stage in issuing a series of joyous statements that identify her for who she is rather than just what can be seen.
We are all so much more than simply our appearance, our identities are rich and complex. The girl is so many things, many of which contradict each other: she is scared when she hides from a storm but brave when she removes a bug for a terrified relative; she likes to play with friends but also likes to be alone, she enjoys looking at animals but gets nervous if they come too close; she can be selfish but generous too. She is like all of us, an individual with good traits and minor flaws, she is perfectly imperfect.
Empathy, kindness, inclusivity and a message for children to be themselves and to be proud of it fill the pages in this comforting and thought-provoking book of affirmations. Vibrant and colourful artwork adorns each and every page making every turn an absolute joy. Playful and often humorous - the girl declares she is a vegetarian whilst her two friends munch on pizza slices topped with meats - the girl is the kind of child that everyone would want to be friends with.
Teaching young children about identity and understanding others can be a challenge, a book like this certainly helps and, with the guidance of an adult, offers lots of opportunities for discussion around identify and how we treat others. Fantastic in every possible way, it is a fabulous celebration of what makes us all who we are and why each of us is a ‘unique, priceless, vital part of this world.’
Recommended for 4+.