What I Am

Viking. Aug. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593204016.
PreS-Gr 2–The young narrator opens the story by describing her various attributes: a human, a girl, a daughter, a granddaughter. She then begins to explore a series of intangible, seemingly opposite qualities: selfish and generous, mean and kind, a scaredy-cat and brave. The gorgeous, colorful illustrations clearly convey these complexities and contradictions that define and exist simultaneously within a person: the protagonist likes to dance and sing in front of family, but does not like to dance or sing in front of a crowd. She does not want to go to parties, but then does not want to leave the party. The story’s stunning conclusion will inspire readers to proudly be who they are and provide plenty of discussion opportunities for readers. This book is an outstanding and affirming story. Back matter includes an author’s note describing the incident that inspired the book.
VERDICT Srinivasan’s latest offering is a universal story that belongs in all collections.

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