In Johnson’s debut picture book, a father encourages his daughter to reach for the stars.
Full of positive affirmations, the book uses short, inspiring statements to build young girls’ confidence. “Anything is within my reach, if I always love myself,” they’re told. These empowering words are accompanied by an illustration of a young girl sitting behind the U.S. president’s desk. Along with these motivational declarations, the book focuses on the importance of familial support: “My daddy says I can be, because my family believes in me.” That message is coupled with illustrations of a father reading to his daughter and a family of four building a sandcastle on a beach. It’s clear that this is a very personal project for the author, as he appears in the book with his two daughters, Nyla and London. The book’s message is a commendable one: All girls should be encouraged to be strong and independent. However, the narrative would be more effective if expanded and enriched with more detail. The book’s simple statements often rely on illustrations for clarification. The message behind “Anything is within my reach, if I always love myself” is only fully understood next to a picture of a young girl president; without the artwork, the sparse text could remain vague and open to interpretation. The basic illustrations—ranging from a girl playing soccer to a girl praying before bed—are full of bright colors and watercolor backgrounds, echoing the happy, simple quality of the prose.
A short, candid book that urges girls to pursue their dreams.