Title: When I grow up, I want to be myself
Author: A. Cole
Publisher: Self-published, 2016
Pages: 24 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Author A. Cole urges children to be themselves! When I first opened the book, I immediately loved it looking at the beautiful illustrations of a happy, little, African-American, confident, girly girl. I loved what I saw. But as I read, I wondered, would this be another self-esteem, love your hair, Black books? Not that it isnt an important message, but don’t we have enough of those?
But I was pleasantly surprised. As I read I really enjoy the story and I think children too (girls, especially) will enjoy the story because of the way it is written. It flows and shows a character with lots of personality. Children can relate to her pondering and self-reflection. I think what I like most about this book, is the author's ability to accomplish so much in so few pages. First, it covers the topic of IDENTITY. She lets children know that they should find out who they are and what they like. They should be proud of who they are and own their choices.
Second, it covers the topic of occupations. It teaches that there are lots of different jobs and no matter what you look like, you can be whatever you want to be. Don’t allow gender, race, ability or socioeconomic status to deter you from your dream. You have as many options as you believe are open to you.
Third, it covers the topic of the SUCCESS. Very early society tells children to pursue jobs that offer stability, status, and wealth. Success is often considered to be something external such as material gain, rather than an internal sense of satisfaction.
However, the author challenges the third notion with three main principles:
The last principle really stuck with me. We are so busy offering our children every opportunity to be successful such as a good education, a safe home, a million extracurricular activities, and teaching them about financial literacy. In an age of rampant bullying, harassment, and professional misconduct, it is very important that we as parents and educators try to foster and raise decent human beings for generations to come.
How often do modern day parents take the time to teach the children the importance of being kind, giving, respectful, dressing with pride, and listening to your heart above the noise of the world with its naysayers and comparison makers?
The author concludes “Think about what type of person you want to be when you grow up” instead of what you will do to earn a living. “Being the best you” would really ease some of the anxiety and depression that I see amongst the college population that I teach. Thank you so much A. Cole for sharing your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement with our young people. They really need to hear it. We really need to hear it. I also loved the diversity of the classroom scene. I give this book 5 stars.