It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
I enjoyed how these two picturebooks depict young girls with a fierce sense of identity – embracing that which is unusual, off-kilter, unexpected about themselves, owning it, and integrating it into their very beings. Warrior girls indeed.
Written by: Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple Illustrated by: Anne-Sophie Lanquetin
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2010)
ISBN: 1416980180 (ISBN13: 9781416980186). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Written by mother and daughter tandem Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, this book celebrates the many princesses with sparkly crowns who unabashedly refuse to wear pink.
One of the dangers of telling the same story repeatedly (Disney Princesses, cough, Cinderella, cough, Sleeping Beauty, cough), is that readers may think that there is only one acceptable way that princesses should behave or dress like – or even worse, think like. Books similar to this one shatter those tropes and misconceptions by representing girls who feel and dress differently, such as the one above with the “bright red socks that stink.”
Hence, this book becomes more than just the colour pink – it portrays girls who enjoy dancing in the mud while being soaked in the rain (while wearing a sparkly crown, of course); or princesses who use screwdrivers, drills, hammer while bedecked in their glittery jewels (and sparkly crowns, naturally).
Truly an empowering story demonstrating how princesses can be warriors too – while wearing overalls, driving dump trucks, and dancing the fox-trot in blue – not to forget the very sparkly princess crown, of course.
Written and Illustrated by: Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by: Candlewick Press (2018)
ISBN: 0763693553 (ISBN13: 9780763693558). Borrowed a copy from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
There are quite a number of picturebooks that celebrate names and identity. In fact, we have curated a list in our Social and Emotional Learning Bookshelf called What’s In A Name: Being In Between Culture, Identity, and Language.
This one is a worthy addition to this list with a daunting name like Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. What a Kindergarten nightmare!
Alma’s ever-patient and thoughtful father, however, shared with Alma the story behind each one of her names. As can be seen in the image above, this book is Peruvian through and through.
One of my favourite explanations of Alma’s name is the story behind Pura, Alma’s great-aunt. She has this spiritual, shaman-like quality to her that I gravitate towards. However, in keeping with our social justice/warrior woman reading theme, I was very pleased to note that one of Alma’s names celebrate just this kind of spirit in Candela:
Apparently, grandmother Candela championed the rights of the downtrodden, and marched in the streets to fight injustices and give voice to the marginalized.
The book ends with the author encouraging the young reader to find out the story behind their names. I was especially taken by the art work and the design of the book. I will be sure to find and read all of Juana Martinez-Neal’s stories in the future.
#WomenReadWomen2019: 4 / 5 of 25 (country: Peru – while Martinez-Neal is now based in the US, she was born in Peru and tells stories about her homeland; France – artist Lanquetin lives and works in Paris);
United States of America (Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple are from Massachusetts)