These two picturebooks do not necessarily look at reinvention of womanity per se, but they do encourage transformation and reinvention: either through believing in one’s self or by paying attention to the environment, and being present in the here and now.
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Published by Harper Collins (2019)
ISBN: 006242758X (ISBN13: 9780062427588) Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
Pat Zietlow Miller is known for her empowering and inspirational stories. I reviewed her Wherever You Go (illustrated by Eliza Wheeler) here as well as Be Kind (illustrated by Jen Hill) here. This story is of a similar vein. Told in rhyming text, it is a wondrous celebration of young readers’ remarkable selves.
I especially enjoyed looking closely at the art, indicating children of both gender engaging in playful, childlike activities – not necessarily confined to stereotypical expectations of what boys and girls are perceived to enjoy doing.
The art takes center stage in this book for me (not a huge fan of rhyming text), but the message remains uplifting and true:
No matter your volume, your age, or your size,
YOU have the power to be a surprise.
You have the know-how.
You’re savvy and smart.
You could change the world.
Are you willing to start?
I like how seeming-weaknesses are re-framed into something that is not shameful or veritable sources of contempt and humiliation, but simply unique traits or peculiarities that make you remarkably you.
Written by M. H. Clark Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
Published by Compendium (2018)
ISBN: 1946873063 (ISBN13: 9781946873064) Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
A young girl and her grandfather are out and about, finding tiny perfect things, ostensibly walking through their neighbourhood, and calling out to the things they see around them. This is a book about being in the here and now, paying close attention to the sights and sounds of the world, and basking in their strangeness and beauty.
I like how each illustration shows both the girl and her grandfather in motion, very dynamic, and not just passively lounging about waiting for things to happen to them. They are depicted to actively seek these tiny perfect things out, marveling at their simplicity or complexity.
What I found to be even more special is when the grandfather and young girl arrived at their home, the child’s parents are shown to be waiting, with the girl’s father who has prepared their dinner for them. It is so refreshing, especially since this message is only conveyed through the images, and not through the text, yet it becomes even more keenly felt.
While I was reading the book, it reminded me of a book that I absolutely adore, and they have a similar title too: Ten Tiny Things by Meg McKinlay and Kyle Hughes-Odgers (see my review here). Both stories highlight the significance of mindfulness and finding the beautiful in the mundane.
#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America (Pat Zietlow Miller, Patrice Barton, and M. H. Clark)
Madeline Kloepper is from Canada.