This 32 page picture book meant for preschool to 3rd grade really should be required reading for EVERYONE. So many lessons, so beautifully conveyed in the simple text and beautiful illustrations that I made each of my kids read or listen to it and then discuss: self confidence, nay sayers, self esteem, race, passion, body image, kindness, and perseverance to name a few. Accelerated Reader Level is 3.2 as older kids will understand a bit more than the younger ones, but I truly believe all will benefit. Written by a Muslim woman of color, featuring a girl of color and illustrated by a woman of color, this OWN voice book has it all for girls and boys alike.
Tameika loves to sing and dance and be on stage in front of an audience (stuffed and unstuffed). She feels like she can be anything she wants and when her school puts on a production of Snow White she can’t wait to audition to be a princess.
She arrives early the first day of auditions and helps her friends with their lines and nerves. But then she hears them whispering that she can’t be Snow White. “She’s too tall, too chubby, too brown.”
Their words deflate her as she internalizes their thoughts about her. She doesn’t feel like singing or dancing and she questions her appearance. Her mom tries to build her back up. Her father reinforces her qualities, and slowly she starts to think maybe her parents are on to something.
The next day she has to face her fears and when she steps out on to the audition stage. She knows what she loves, she knows the joy it brings her and she has to dig deep to push the negative away and shine.
Yes, I’m going to spoil the ending, she gets the part and she rocks it, ok I’m projecting based on her smile. But it truly isn’t about getting the part and excelling at it, it is trusting that you are perfect as you are and confidently owning it.
The book is available everywhere, even the library, so please go get it, read it with your kids and get discussing! Fiction is a great start to talk about racism and fat shaming and all the other things that you think are hard, but kids need to hear and see and talk about from a very early age.