A colorful story that can help parents start an early conversation about beauty and self-esteem.

Mommy, am I pretty?

Denommé encourages children to remember that beauty shines from within in this inspiring children’s book.

Molly’s best friend asks her if she looks “pretty,” but she isn’t quite sure what the word means. At home, Molly’s mother quickly determines that the girl doesn’t understand what it is that makes someone pretty, so she seizes on a teachable moment. She provides her daughter several examples by asking questions about Molly’s day: “Did you smile and give a friendly greeting to the neighbors?” or did she “step over a worm?” Being polite, trying your best, being kind to a new child at school, or sharing a toy are all actions that make someone pretty, Molly’s mother says. She reminds the girl that “the way you look on the outside has nothing to do with how pretty you are on the inside. Pretty comes from a person’s heart.” Molly heeds her mother’s words and comes to realize that her mother is one of the prettiest people she knows, because of her kindness. She also realizes that she’s pretty herself, from the inside out. Denommé’s short book takes aim at society’s traditional, superficial definitions of beauty. In very simple, straightforward terms, she drives home the message that one’s actions towards others and one’s positive sense of self are what truly count. The examples that Molly’s mother cites are all age-appropriate for young readers, who will understand the importance of helping others through small, everyday deeds. It’s a concept that seems very simple in theory, yet one that can be difficult for people to implement. The colorful illustrations by Denommé’s young daughters are a cheerful accompaniment to the text, and even the youngest readers, who may not understand the words, will be able to understand the overall message.

A colorful story that can help parents start an early conversation about beauty and self-esteem. 

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9920340-0-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2015

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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