MY SHAPE IS SAM by Amanda Jackson


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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A square who loves to roll instead of build surprises his community with his new talent and gains confidence in himself.

In Sam the square’s world of shapes, everyone has a job to do. Stable squares like Sam help construct towers and bridges, while speedy circles zoom from place to place as wheels on trains and trucks. Dissatisfied with his role in life, Sam decides to try something bold. He learns to roll and discovers joy by being himself. Debut author Jackson uses the familiar concept of shapes as a metaphor to discuss difference and identity. Bright and active digital illustrations accompany the text, expressing Sam’s love for movement. Although the initial language that Sam doesn’t “feel like a square” despite his “four pointy corners” paired with a depiction of Sam as a circle inside a square suggests a born-in-the-wrong-body narrative, Sam ultimately claims his shape and finds his own way to label himself. His corners become subtly rounder after the first time he rolls. In contrast to similar titles, such as Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story (2015), Sam’s community encourages his behavior. The other shapes are excited to see a square roll, and the circles welcome him into rolling jobs. This positive support strengthens the underlying message that exploring identity and self-expression brings happiness.

A gentle and playful celebration of difference and self-discovery. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-62414-770-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Page Street
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019