Verde and Reynolds (I am Yoga, 2015; I Am Peace, 2017) team up again, this time to explore what it means to be human.
A child in red-striped shirt and blue jeans explores the range of possibilities open to them as a human being. Starting with “I was born. A miracle! One of billions but unique!” the narrator lists activities (“I am always learning”; “I have BIG dreams”) and feelings (“I am amazed by nature”). After rejoicing in the positive, the child finds that they sometimes make mistakes, hurt others, and are hurt. They explore the difficult sides of being human: fear and sadness. Here, the colors of the illustrations dull to a greyish blue. But they have a solution. They can “make choices” and “move forward” with “thoughtfulness” (giving flowers to that friend they hurt). When the child chooses kindness, compassion, listening, and saying sorry, they find that they are connected to everyone, and they resolve to keep trying, because “I am full of hope. I am human.” Reynolds’ simple line drawings with bursts of color have become iconic, and they serve the simple, affirming text with their own vision of the emotions and possibilities we humans have in this wide world. He depicts the protagonist with brown skin and black, curly hair amid a multiracial gathering of other children and adults. An author’s note guides readers through a loving-kindness meditation as an example of how one can choose to improve one’s relationships with others.
Grown-ups will enjoy reading this regularly with the children in their lives: The reminders benefit us all. (Picture book. 3-9)